I Used to Be a Constant Stream of Negativity

November 11, 2020

I didn’t pay attention to the early clues that I’d become a Debbie Downer.

Me? A chronic naysayer? Utter nonsense. I was all sunshine and rainbows. Habitually optimistic. At least that was the story I told myself. Sure, I had loads of inner dialogues that were biting commentaries about my stupid peers, the f*cked-up business strategy and the idiots pretending to run the place. But when I spoke, I was all go-team-fantastic-idea-count-me-in.

It turns out, I had begun to say the private stuff out loud. Not to the higher ups, but to my colleagues. And not just sometimes. There was a steady stream of negative, dark, depressing bullsh*t coming from me. My first clue was that everyone seemed to have other lunch plans. My next clue was everyone had to rush home after work. But the big whack upside the head was being iced out of meetings. Somehow my name had been “mistakenly” left off the invitation. This led to the painful discovery that people weren’t actually rushing home after work. They had simply changed venues for happy hour. Ouch.

With my tail between my legs, I had a private discussion with one of my now-distant peers. They revealed that I sucked the life out of a room with my dark cloud. Before I could get defensive, they presented a long list of evidence. There was no denying the truth.

What happened to me? For one, I was never as sunny as I wanted to believe. Second, I was struggling with my own performance and comfort with this culture. I wasn’t sure I was where I needed to be. I remembered when I felt more positive and what changed that. I had taken a fork in the road that simply wasn’t working for me. I needed to make a change. And I did.

I am basically a glass half full person. What I learned is that when I feel like I’m thirsty because I’m on empty, it’s time to find a new faucet.