Are You a Downer?

There are going to be people in life who critique and discourage whatever it is you happen to be doing. There are many others of course who, even with a little constructive criticism here and there, will encourage and help you move forward.

My first reaction to those who immediately find fault in every idea and situation is to distance myself–not because I expect everyone to like and agree with everything I do and think, but because I’ve learned these people aren’t going to like or agree with anything I do or think; they’re going to drag me down and prevent me from moving forward with joy and confidence.

I call these people downers. Downers miss out on so much: They miss out on being close to people because people don’t trust them and don’t want to be close. They miss out on all the parts of the life and self people keep tucked away from their critical words.

I’ve been asking myself today:

  • Am I a downer?
  • Am I the person who finds fault with others and constantly discourages when I should be lifting up?
  • Are my words, thoughtless or otherwise, hurtful to those around me?
  • Am I being sarcastic when I should be honest and compassionate?
  • Am I a person others can turn to with vulnerable ideas and feelings or am I someone people hide thoughts and feelings from to protect themselves?

Not every idea is a good idea. Not every action deserves a pat on the back. But if it is in my power to encourage and build up those around me in an honest, constructive way, that is exactly what I should be doing.

23 thoughts on “Are You a Downer?

  1. My boss at one of the jobs I had was a downer. Every time I came up with a radical new idea he would say “That’s impossible.” My inevitable response was “That’s OK – the impossible is only a little more difficult. It drove him crazy but he couldn’t say much because I could usually prove him wrong.

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  2. Sadly my boss in my day job is a ‘downer’ so I guess my revenge on them will be to incorporate them as a character in a story and do them harm…does that make me a bad person??
    I like your post and agree, you have to question your own actions, and smile in the face of adversity

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  3. You are right about that. While we bask on having positive vibes around us, there are really people who find fault on everything we do; and no matter how we try to please them they just seem to be too happy to see us fail. In that sense it is so much better to leave the company of people like them.

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  4. Reminds me of Debbie Downer, that old skit with Rachel Dratch on SNL. I’ll admit, there are times in my life when I can remember being a huge DD, and if I look closely enough, it’s usually my own shame that makes me so. These days I have a better understanding of grace, which enables me to also give it, freely. Bad idea or not, everyone was created by Him, for Him, I try to keep that in mind.

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  5. Yes, we should all be more aware of how we appear to others, we sometimes don’t realiese what an impact we can have without meaning to.
    I am currently trying to distance myself from someone that I have started to build a friendship with but realised that she isn’t as nice as I thought she was. Whether that makes her a downer or not, I don’t want to judge. But I did realise what a negative impact she has on me and how negative I become as soon as I am around her.

    Thank you for reminding me to look after my own words!

    Love
    Anna

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  6. Once again, I am refreshed to hear your words. I have shared them with others. What you just wrote is about love—real love. And when you love others in this way—yes, you may not be received well but as Plato said “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” http://wp.me/p1t8nW-eF

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  7. very nice article – my wife has really helped me develop a self awareness to not be a ‘downer’. Thanks to her passion fro life I too try my best to be constructive, encouraging and supportive. Nice reminder like this are always appreciated.
    thanks
    doug

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  8. The world would be a lot nicer place if everyone tried to lift each other up instead of tear down. Thanks for the good reminder and questions to continually ask myself.

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  9. It’s hard being positive in a world that has grown coarse, insensitive, and selfish. Your words may encourage us to be a bit more forgiving of our human frailties. Change begins with ourselves by not letting the little things wear us down. You can be positive without being naive. In my long tenure on this planet, I’ve learned that words are powerful instruments capable of both healing and hurt. Choose to support and heal. There is sufficient hurt to last a lifetime. Besides, a positive attitude aids your physical and mental health. Avoid those whose mission is to make others miserable. Life is too short to be consumed by what has been. Today is the first day of the rest of your life…live it as such.

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  10. Thanks for sharing! It is important that while we can be critical of other people and how they make us feel, sometimes we need to take a step back and make sure we are not falling into that pitfall as well.

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  11. Thank you sooo much for sharing this as it affirms, in my mind, why positive bright attitudes get dampened by such downers are because they don’t mix well together. I had a job interview today where no matter how much sunshine I poured on, they only saw the rain. I was frustrated, angry, and even took it personally. You have made me realize that misery loves company and to not be miserable as a result of being unlike-minded from such individuals. Who, instead of cheering us on, are trying to cut us apart.

    Thank you for binding the positive to my heart. 😀

    pink.

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  12. Sometimes it is very hard not to be dragged down by those “downers”. Especially if those are the people you love the most. But you are correct… A distance is a good way not be dragged down…

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  13. Once again the tongue is a powerful thing….it can build up or tear down, cause those around us to love or hate us, be balm to a hurting soul or salt in their wounds. Words are powerful as are the attitudes we put with them. Thanks for sharing!

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  14. Loving your post and good for you in sharing the positive side of yourself – love that! I try to show the positive side of myself on a daily basis too. Have a Great Day & Thanks for the Reminder:)

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