Sharing Negativity (it's not a good idea)

If facebook is still there, you can read more on my page from September 3, 2014, but I'll put the most useful parts for unschoolers here, here.

Dear new facebook friends (because I just approved a batch): I dislike harsh politics of any sort, any post like "this is the most horrible thing I've ever seen," and other negativity. Since I don't know you, if I defriend you, it's not personal. If too much horror and doom show up, I'll just click you back away.

To anyone: If something is horrible, then don't share it. If it was shocking or disgusting, suffer a moment and don't pass that shock and suffering around. Maybe defriend the "friend" who sent it to you. If it seems somehow shocking or horrible to you that I would suggest that, please unfriend me and then do whatever horrible thing you want to.

Here is a happy photo of my daughter Holly as a cleansing, upbeat end. πŸ™‚

226 people clicked "like," and most of the comments were positive. Those I share here will be saved for parents trying to create a peaceful nest for their children at home. There are other sweet comments there, about Holly, about friendship, but I've brought the more serious and positive ideas.

The exchange was in 2014, seven years before the super-negative online riots of 2021, which are exhausting people as I create this page. Facebook is where I communicate with people I love, and see my grandkids' daily changes and doings. Negativity has ramped up even more, though; I can say that much. πŸ™‚


Linda Wyatt
Sandra, there is a term in Emergency Services for what you are describing: "splashing sadness." It comes from people who see something they can't bear, so in an attempt to process it, they share it, and spill all that negativity out onto other people, willing or not.

I'm with you. I don't want or need to see negative stuff I haven't explicitly expressed an interest in; I see enough already.

It's okay to share stuff to process it, BUT only with those who have AGREED to it. Not everyone you know.

Since I know you like words, I thought you might be interested in knowing about people having a name for that.

Robin 'Ehulani Bentley (quoting part of someone trying to defend negativity)
~ If one finds out about *insert terrible injustice* and does not pass the information on to say "Let's mobilize and start a movement to stop *terrible injustice*" then what can we do?~
Sandra is clear about this with regard to unschooling families. Unschooling parents who spend more time in "movements" or trying to correct "terrible injustices" affect the peace of their own families. It rubs off (and not in good ways) on kids. Kids don't need to have terrible things be a part of their lives when they're young and be brought along on their parents' crusades without much say in it.

If someone is single or their kids are on their own, that person can choose to devote their energy to causes. They'll have time then. And maybe more money. πŸ™‚ And grown children can find their own causes, as well.

Sandra, happily is changing the world through her site and discussion groups. She helps families live happier lives. *And* it helps her family, as well.

Natasha Boss
Thank you for posting this. Being more mindful is something I'm working on and part of that is refraining from reposting all of the negative things that find themselves in my feed. I'm finding balance and it feels SO good πŸ˜‰
Victoria Day
At the recent HSC conference, this same issue became a big topic during a talk with Sandra. I so agree, our kids have come into our lives to be nurtured and supported by us. I feel, if we are not fully present and distracted by things outside of doing this responsibility, it is a huge disservice to them. Thank you for the reminder, Sandra.
Sandra Dodd
-=-There's a difference between spreading awareness …-=-
Much of what people think is "spreading awareness" on facebook is more like perpetuating alarmist bullshit.

And sometimes it goes beyond just copying posts to other people's walls (which has been done to meβ€”not just that I see it in someone else's newsfeed, but that they post it on MY wall, or tag me in it so that my 1800 friends might see it in THEIR newsfeed). Sometimes people take it to e-mail or side messages. That's not "spreading awareness" so much as spreading fear and panic.

Someone I like and know in person wrote and asked if we were safe and okay, because of the radiation leaks in Carlsbad. She lives in London. I had already read that in the UK there was a big rumor that the nuclear waste facility in Carlsbad, New Mexico (not near the caverns and REALLY not near Albuquerque) were in danger of killing lots of people in New Mexico. I thanked her, explained, and said I had heard people in the UK had this rumor going. She said she didn't even hear it from the UK, but kind of trailed off there.

I heard it on the news here, but the news was that in England people were flipping out about something that wasn't happening, in New Mexico.

And if someone left a dog in a car, and someone else did or did not rescue it, don't tell your kids, don't show photos, just don't leave your own dog in the car.

Some people don't see the difference between learning from a situation and smearing the shit of it all over everyone else's hands and faces.

Keep dirt down. Keep joy up.

Or keep to your own page with the sorrow and grief.

-=-If one finds out about *insert terrible injustice*…-=-
It is a terrible injustice to collect, hoard and distribute terrible injustice at the expense of your own child's peaceful life.

Sandra Dodd (quoting Linda Wyatt, first)
-=-I'm with you. I don't want or need to see negative stuff I haven't explicitly expressed an interest in-=-
Yes. If I want to go where people are whooping and wailing, it's just a click away. I don't want it in my e-mail notifications and in my face in moving pictures when I wake up in the morning in my own house.
Sandra Dodd (quoting a different person defending negativity)
-=- I guess I wouldn't go so far as to tell people what they should or shouldn't share-=-
I didn't, in that post.

I do when people ask for help moving toward a more peaceful life with their children. Or when a mom is stressed and can't find the equilibrium to start in a calm place with her kids. I suggest that she not watch the local news. Breathe. Find positive things to see, listen to, think about. No one can do that and still post fright and doom. Nor even keep reading fright and doom.

It takes the mom's head and heart to dark places. It stirs the mom's emotion and can bring adrenaline in people thousands of miles from the problem. Adrenaline junkies can always find another problem to keep them on the edge, but their milk doesn't taste as good as a mom who is calm and thinking peaceful thoughts. They will use up their excitement on distant things instead of finding their child's discoveries the best thing of the day.

-=-- because no one really knows how it might be helping them (and others)-=-
I assume when total strangers "friend" me that it's because they're interested in unschooling. The damage done by negativity is a knowable thing. If the mother can't find contentment, she has none to share with her children.
Sandra Dodd
I suppose my point is that if I approved a stranger, and then decide to opt back out, it's going to be because of what I was seeing. I'm not talking about people I know that I want to keep up with.
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Before I had put that on my own page, I had accidentally posted it to Radical Unschooing Info, so here are some things from that spot (here, same day):
The negativity of having a bunch of political or shock videos, photos, "news," can ruin the days of strangers, but things that make strangers smile and relax can make the lives of stranger-children better.
Someone came and disagreed, and argued at length, so it you want to go and read some negativity (that's a joke, you shouldn't), I'm not bringing it here, but part of my reponse was:
There are people who seek out negativity and who enjoy being indignant. They nurse it. They have the emotion first and the justification secondarily, once it becomes their comfortable place to be.

If you've never known such a person, good! I hope you never do.

If you are not such a person, then stop arguing and being defensive.

and in another comment (again, me):
Because Marta Pires (my "distant assistant" and good friend) transcribed that so she could translate it to Portuguese, I can cut and paste something, and then put the link so you can hear it if you feel like it.

Learn to make many choices a day and choose the more peaceful, more loving options whenever you can. Choose to make your life more positive, and less negative.
I can't emphasize that enough.
The families that I see fail are negative.
They cling to their negativity. They cling to cynicism and pessimism. Throw those out.
Choose optimism.
Choose joy.

Pam Kerwin Sorooshian
I learned from my mom that it was very rude to complain to someone about something they can't do anything about. She said it was mean to pass along your own negativity to someone else for no good reason. My kids and I try to live by that principle, as well. Sometimes there are reasons to share, but it ought to be a very specific reason to justify upsetting someone else.
Sam Rose Prosser
I have grown up shying away from politics, the news, all the horrible stuff going on in the world. As a young un it was so boring, as an adult it makes me sad! I've been accused of 'living in a bubble' 'not facing reality ' etc and I was always slightly embarrassed by my lack of knowledge and sometimes have felt pretty stupid!

But just picking up a newspaper or listening to the news horrifies me!

Reading this thread makes me glad, I don't need to be embarrassed I can be proud! I'm happy to not know about lots of negative, terrible stuff, I'd rather fill my time with happy! πŸ™‚

Jenny Cyphers
I've always tried to ignore all the "BIG BAD" things out there in the world. I would rather hear a hundred stories of people doing good and wonderful things than even one story of someone or something being killed or injured. School history was a bit of a nightmare for me as they were all about wars and dates and conquests. I would have much rather have learned about what people ate and wore and what they did in their day to day lives and how those things evolved over time.

After nearly dying last year, I absolutely can't stomach negativity. I don't want to know about torture or big bad anything. It physically hurts me. I can't explain that, except that knowing life is precious and it doesn't last forever and could be cut short at any time, I'd rather see and know the beauty over the ugly.

Sandra Dodd
If there's a problem that needs 80 people to solve and 800,000 know about it, it will not be helped by 8,000,000 people knowing about it. Many world-ending problems have been claimed and feared and responded to in the past. The lives of humans have been sacrificed to try to make the evil abate. It's still happening, only without golden knives or ceremonies at the rims of volcanos.

Maybe some of you are too young to remember the actual panic about what would happen when computer clocks went from 1999 to 2000 and all of electrified civilization would go dark. Some people made a HUGE amount of money selling large storage containers for (or already full of) beans and rice and powdered milk and all sorts of survivalist materials. The fall of banking was foretold. The fall of governments. There is unfortunately more of that than there is of calm, real warning of things we can do something about. (Not try to, or pretend to do token things about, but actually turn around, short of sacrificing a few billion people so that the planet isn't overrun with humans.)

Meanwhile, a mother with an infant, or a toddler, young child, ten year old, teenager, young adult child beginning a new life of possible pro-creation cannot, and will not, improve that person's peace and security by posting pictures of abused pets on the internet. Nor of war atrocities, or whatever other heartbreaking "saddest things I've ever seen" pass-around drama they're using to make themselves feel part of something important.
BE important, to your family. Guard their peace and calm.

Jenny Cyphers
It's the difference between being self righteously angered by things, and infusing the world around you with positive ideas and being kind to others to make more positive influence. It's the butterfly effect and you can do it with negative or positive actions. I'd rather the positive action.
Sandra Dodd (part of a response to an antagonist)
Negativity and pessimism ruin the lives of the negative and pessimistic and they don't help lift the spirits of passersby.

I'm fine. My kids are grown. They're good.

Horrible strident bullshit pisses me off, and I don't want to give those people any more audience or surface.

Out of chronological order, but good for a closing, I think: Sandra Dodd (in response to the argumentative person):
Some people like to be shocked, and some people have never considered the level of negativity they're accustomed to. It's not really about ruining a day. It's about ruining a moment.

Moments: Living in moments instead of by whole days

If too many moments are dark and sorrowful, a life becomes dark and sorrowful.

Seeing and avoiding Negativity

I expect any person arguing in favor of negativity will ignore those links, but there are a few dozen others who will click one and climb up a notch in their understanding of creating a peaceful nest for their children.

Building an Unschooling Nest

Being ...with children, ...better