Tuesday, April 08, 2008

It's All About Choices

Today, I want to talk to you about Attitude. About the choices we make each day about how we will face the world. I think that decision is probably the most telling piece of our personality. Don't you? This is going to be a long post, because I'm a blabber mouth...so grab a cup of coffee or tea, or whatever...then tell me what you think.

Here's where I'm coming from with all of this. You all know I was laid off on Friday, and it certainly came as a shock that's still reverberating in a new way each day. I've got some challenges ahead of me for sure, and I don't doubt things will get harder before they get easier. I'm hiding behind a curtain of denial, but it is a sheer curtain, I'm aware of what's on the other side, I just don't want to look at with a clear view.

I've decided to face this misfortune with a bit of humor, a lot of positive energy, and the occasional martini. And yes, some of it is false, but it is in that faux-happiness that I manage to get out of bed in the morning and function enough to plan my next step. It is a very thin line between reality and depression and panic, and I am walking that line daily. So, if I choose to focus only on the positive, and make light of the situation, that's what it takes to keep me on the right side of the line.

My friends, and that statement most definitely includes those of you reading this, because you have shown me an incredible amount of support and friendship through this, have for the most part stayed on that side of the line with me. I've received positive reinforcement at every turn. "You will find an even better job", "Someone like you will be hired before you know it", "This is a blessing in disguise", etc. etc. I've also received offers for assistance, virtual and real hugs, and proposals for the different types of martinis I should be sampling at this time.

And have no doubt that each and every one of those messages has gone straight to my heart, and filled it, and helped to keep me on that tight rope I'm walking.

I've chosen to tackle this head on, but with a bit of perhaps unrealistic optimism. Yes, the job market sucks, but until the moment I absolutely have to panic, I refuse to.

It's all about choices, and I choose to think of the best case scenario. And most people seem to get this, and not only support me in it, but even be a bit impressed by my response. I'm handling it well, I'm told. I don't know, but I'm handling it the only way I know how.

And yet, I've been taken aback by the response of one individual in my life. A person who I consider an extremely close friend, and who during this time has repeatedly taken a fatalistic attitude about my situation. From the moment I told her, I was faced with negativity. She has said everything from "The job market sucks, you'll have a really hard time finding a job" to "You can't live off unemployment and can't afford health insurance and won't be able to do it". Yesterday she informed me that when she recently was looking for a job, she sent out over 40 resumes and only received one call back. (Mind you she found a job in the matter of a week or two, so I'm not really sure how that adds up).

I'm sure she doesn't mean to...well...I'm not really sure what she "means" to do, but that attitude is certainly not going to help me any. I realize that it is a friend's job to offer up reality in small doses. I'm okay with that, I don't need friends who only paint me pretty pictures and tell me everything will always be alright. But there's a huge difference between small doses of reality, and smacking me in the face with an end of the world scenario. Not helpful. Not welcome. Not necessary. I'm highly capable of building my own destruction up in my mind. Trust me, all those negative thoughts? They've been at the back of my mind since the moment I learned my fate. But I've done a good job at keeping them at bay, and would like to continue to do so as long as possible.

You telling me I'm going to be destitute and lose my house (in so many words) is NOT going to help me any.

A long time ago I had a "woe is me" friend. You know that friend. The one who gets a headache and immediately thinks she'll die. The one who can turn a flat tire into the worst disaster to ever happen to any one person in this millenium. She drained me daily. Negativity, much like positivity, is highly contagious, and after a while, she sucked the energy right out of my life. I made a decision that I couldn't be friends with her any longer, and have since focused on surrounding myself with people who at least attempt a positive attitude on life. Life is much too short to spend your days surrounded by complaints and misery. I won't do it, and I'd hate for this to mark the end of another valued friendship.

I've decided to keep my "employment" (or lack thereof) discussions to a minimum with this individual. It is bothering me that at a time when she could step up and offer her friendship, she is incapable of doing so, but hopefully we can get past this. But still, its left a bad taste in my mouth. Am I wrong in expecting a different type of support from her?

What do you think?


The Ex said...

The problem with people like this is that they THINK they're helping (or just don't care but let's give her the benefit of doubt) when they're really just BREAKING YOUR SPIRIT.

I wouldn't say another word about it to her.

Karina said...

Ex, that's exactly it. Every time she's made a negative comment I've said "Well, that's helpful" or something along those lines, and she apologizes, so I know she doesn't "mean it" that way...but it still chips away bit by bit at my confidence that this will turn out okay...I don't plan on talking to her about anymore if I can help it.

Beckie said...

You don't need the negativity. Keep a positive attitude and visualize the type of work you want - you will find the right job for you.

I know the type of "friend" you are talking about - I have one like that. Every time I have a mole she thinks I have skin cancer....who needs it? I don't.

Jill said...

some people just dont know how to be polite. and some people dont know how NOT to be polite. just take it with a grain of salt, and the next time she comes up with dire predictions, say you know, i appreciate your honesty, but being so blunt about it doesnt really help me right now. do you have any suggestions that would steer me in the right direction?

or, "i wasnt really looking for any help, just a little sympathy" tends to work for me, even with my husband. and he was hard to train. she should be much easier to 'break'

she should take the hint.

Unknown said...

You have selected a very tactful way to handle it.
You need positive thinking and I love that you have it, yes reality is out there - we all face it, but if we spend life expecting the sky to fall it will eventually. So, see the silver lining, and to keep that friend your friend chose other topics of discussion.

So, martini tip for today, a nice appletini, maybe?

Joy T. said...

If it took 40 resumes for your friend to find something you would think she would be a bit more compassionate towards what you are going through. And I just read your comment to 'the ex' and it seems like she has said things a few times now.

I completely agree with 'the ex' commenter. I wouldn't say another word about it to her. Heaven knows you're going through enough right now. You certainly shouldn't have to be dealing with 'friends' too. You come here. I'll make you feel better :o)

Julia Phillips Smith said...

I think keeping a line drawn around your positive vibe is very important. Don't let this friend cross your line. Don't forget her past behavior, expect her to behave as she generally does. Accept her limitations and seek comfort from other friends and family - not from her.

Maya said...

Hi Karina,Sorry to hear about the layoff.Hope you find a much better job soon..Good Luck!
About your friend,she could have said these things in a mild manner as hurting where it already hurts isn't a good idea.But sometimes, we need to face reality however heart-wrenching it is, because then we become desperate enough to force ourselves out of that mess,but then this work differently on different people.We all need our bear hugs in times of despair.
Friends aren't perfect.But if she has been a good one except for this incident, try to reason it out with her.I find fighting with my friends is a better way to clear the air than agonizing alone and ruining the friendship forever.
I apologize for the long post..take care.

Anonymous said...

First off - I'm so sorry you got laid off. However, sometimes it ends up being a good thing - better job for instance. Hang in there - you can make it through the transition. (before I became a SAHM - the company I worked for shut down and everyone was laid off. At first it was horrible and then I felt it was a good "kick in my butt" - to get moving into a different direction. It ended positive)

And as for the friend? Sadly, we all have people in our lives who are negative like that. You just have to make the choice if the friendship is worth the hurt and aggravation.

SabineM said...

oh very nice post! I LOVE YOUR positive attitude and that is how it should be!
Positive thinking can bring on positive outcome!
Re; your friend. I have ONE of those friends. They are JUST negative (actually my mom is like that as well).I understand your dilemma! If she wasn't a close friend I would say just forget it, move on.
But she is a close friend, maybe you should tell her how you feel! Might not help! I tell my mom to stop her negativity and she stops for 5 minutes!
Haa tough one!
Sad to lose a close friend, but negativity is draining!
I AM NO HELP! Sorry!

Pamela said...

Is your stress from this situation making you more sensitive, or is she always negative and you've graced her when you had the energy to do so.

I wish I had that silly "friend" Email right now to add to my comment. (:

rel said...

I like your positive outlook, it portends success in life.
Your friend deals with stress differently and thinking the worst helps her not be disappointed if the worst comes to be. In other words she's afraid to be positive. In time your positive attitude will rub off on her.
Nice to meet you, and thanks for commenting on my blog!

Anonymous said...

Hi Karina,
I'm new to shewhoblogs and just dropping by to see you. I love your ability to describe exactly what you're feeling/thinking... And I also love your positive attitude.

I'm sorry your friend is being ... ummm....less than "helpful" in this situation. That stinks.

I'm sure something fabulous is just around the bend for you. :)

Anonymous said...

I've come to the conclusion that some people just like being the Voice of Doom - betcha anything her mom was the same way.
You will get a great job in no time.
You've got good friends off and online to support you.
You've got a wonderful family!
So get those resumes out there, and let everyone know you're available.
You'll be snapped up in no time at all.
Much bloglove,

Michelle | Bleeding Espresso said...

Agreeing with Frances--she probably learned this from her mom, but that's not your problem is it? It *is* hard to tell what people like that really mean to get across...very frustrating.

Yes I'd avoid talking to her about this; sucks that she can't just phrase things differently though :(