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The Two Faces of Me - A Positive and a Negative Self

Updated on October 31, 2014

There are two sides to every story. Isn’t that what we’ve all heard? We’ve also been told that for every positive there is a negative and we see it in nature – day and night, cold and hot, light and dark. We accept that as what it appears to be – the balance. But, what about the dark side of ourself? Most of us aren’t so eager to accept that we too have a positive and negative self and even fewer of us are willing to talk about it.

The birth of a title

If you’ve read some of my other articles, you have probably noticed that I find lessons in almost every life experience. My personal philosophy is that bad things don’t happen to us just because we don’t deserve better. No, sometimes bad things just happen to make us take a closer look at ourselves. When it happens, it is an opportunity to grow and change, if we have the courage and the desire.

Now, let me say this before you start to worry. Nothing horrible has happened to me. In fact, I am one of the luckiest people on the planet. I count my blessings daily and gratitude plays an enormous role in each and every day. Each morning I wake with an attitude of gratitude for being given another day to share with those I love and I end each day being grateful for the challenges and choices I have faced for these are the opportunities that strengthen my resolve to become a better person.

So why did I call this “The Two Faces of Me - APositive and a Negative Self”?

Well, because it’s true. There are two faces of me and I’ve recently learned that one of them is not so nice. I had not seen this darker side of myself for many years. Sure, I knew she was still there but I had done the work in my earlier years to keep her out of sight. She no longer controlled me and I have been proud of that. It was not a denial of her existence that kept her at bay. Trust me, I am not in denial. I know this dark side pretty well and I know how strong it is. What kept it at bay was my choice; the choice to surround myself with more positive influences than negative. It’s an equation that works for me. Positive + positive = positive.

Negative Influences

Sometimes the negative influences just pile up around us before we notice them. I know mine by name and yet I still let them slip up on me occasionally. I’ll tell you a little about them. Perhaps you know them too.

STRESS: It’s heavy and settles at the base of my neck and shoulders. When it visits, I find myself stretching more, using more aspirin or Alleve and my new best friend is MaxFreeze from the local drugstore. Its primary ingredients are menthol, camphor, and organic Ilex, Aloe, Arnica, and Tea Tree Oil. I don’t know if it has any real therapeutic effect but it makes me feel better when the stress tightens those muscles in my back and neck.

WORRY: This one is pure evil and very powerful. It invades my brain and interrupts even the deepest thoughts. It wakes me in the middle of the night and makes a return to sleep all but impossible. It is wasted time and energy as worry has never solved a problem. It is nothing more than a nuisance but a powerful one.

ANGER: Of all the negative influences, this one is perhaps the most dangerous. It wears many disguises and if you don’t know it well, you may not recognize it until it has control. There was a time in my life when I almost lost the battle with anger and so I am vigilant in my effort to spot it early.

How Did It Come To This?

I must confess. It is the first step in turning things around. And turn things around I must and… will.

To help you understand, I’ll tell you the short version of how I came face to face with the dark side of me recently.

Life has been a bit challenging for the past few years. I walked away from a 38 year career in health care in 2009 after realizing that health care had become everything but caring. I had gotten comfortable with my career. It was lucrative and had great benefits but no longer fulfilled the need I had to make a difference. In my wildest dream I did not imagine that with such a career history and skill set that I would find it so hard to find a new career. After eighteen months of not working, I chose to take a position that paid little but afforded me great exposure to a wide array of business owners. Surely a door would open soon.

Two years later, when I was nearly broke, a door opened and I felt like I was on the way back up. It lasted eleven months before that rug was snatched from beneath my feet. I was laid off without notice. Financially, I was in better shape but facing another uncertain future. Worry, stress, and anger found sustenance in my situation but I consciously shooed them away.

Failing eyesight from severe macular degeneration suddenly made finding work difficult. It also robbed me of many of the hobbies I had once enjoyed and took such pleasure in. Many things that require visual acuity and depth perception became impossible tasks. This was the beginning of my becoming less independent. Family and friends were always first in my list of priorities but my independence was a close second. Stress, worry, and anger were living in a nutrient rich environment – me.

Aging parents with functional decline have been the icing on the cake. Alzheimer’s disease and a stroke robbed my parents of their ability to live independently and forced us to make the decision to move them to assisted-living. That process has begun and so has the task of cleaning out 63 years of accumulated memories and… stuff. And, once again, stress, worry, and anger are eating well and getting fat.

Stress, Worry, and Anger: The Elements of Combustion

It was the perfect storm. Several years worth of repressed negative emotions combined with the ignorance and lack of concern of a few customer service representatives unleashed a firestorm a few days ago. And the two faces of me became one – a face of combustible, combined worry, stress, and anger. It was not pretty.

I am not proud of my behavior. In fact, I am somewhat embarrassed that something so small could unleash such fury from me. But I am also grateful that I now recognize the signs and symptoms I had been ignoring for so long. It was my choice all along to let stress, worry, and anger fester just below the surface. I made a choice; the wrong choice.

Arriving home at the end of a less than perfect day at work, I found my Internet connection and my cable TV service dead. A quick call to my service provider would surely take care of it. Not!

Before stomping on several low-level customer service reps who repeatedly asked me to recycle my modem and DVR, I complied with their requests. I also knew this was a waste of time. I’m not a computer technician but I am smart enough to know that when both services are lost and the DVR says there was an interruption in service, the problem is not in my house. It should not be difficult to make the first tier of tech support see that. But, it was.

When three hours had passed and the problem was not resolved, I was then told that a technician would be dispatched in five days to fix the problem. Five days! I thought they were joking. And yes, I told them so right before I asked to speak to a manager.

The manager was no more helpful than the low level techs. In fact, he was more rude and continued to talk over top of me, sure that by increasing the decimal level of his voice would make me shut up and go away. He could not have been more wrong. When he hung up on me, the fight was on but it would not continue until the following morning.

I began again, making call after call trying to find a rational human being who had the authority to dispatch a technician. One low level tech let it slip that there was a problem in the “line” outside my home. It’s all I needed to fuel my anger. Without providing the details of the approximate twenty calls, suffice it to say that I was promised the moon and tossed a crumb of cheese. At 9:00 A.M. on day three, I was standing at the local office when they opened for business. I made one simple request – fix it today or cut it off.

By the time I had reached this climax, I had stressed, worried, and gotten totally PO’d with the lack of customer service. And everyone I spoke to knew it. I was loud, obnoxious, condescending, and, came very close to crossing the line of verbal abuse. I was spiraling out of control over what? TV? Internet?

Coming Face to Face With My Dark Side

My behavior startled me. This was the me I thought was gone forever. Where was the person I had tried to become; the one who is not attached to material things? What happened to the woman who was flexible, understanding that life happens and we have to adapt. I was acting like a spoiled brat over television and an Internet connection?

No one was dying or bleeding. My family was safe, reasonably stable and healthy. My friends were all safe and healthy. Most had jobs and a roof over their head and food on their table.

We were blessed. Weren’t we?

Others around the world are hungry, homeless, sick, and dying. Some are living in war torn countries or cleaning up from tornadoes and floods after losing everything. In other places people are trying to put their lives back together after losing limbs in a senseless bombing or watching a child losing their battle with cancer. How on earth could I be so selfish, so insensitive, so out of control over something as stupid as television and an internet connection.

Positive or Negative: The Choice is Mine

Life is about choice. It is up to me to change. I can continue to wear this face of darkness or, I can put all of the elements in their proper place and choose to see the positive that can come from all the turmoil and chaos. Stress is disabling. Worry serves no purpose. Anger, well, anger makes us do stupid things to hurt others and ultimately only hurts us.

I have learned my lesson and am choosing sunshine over darkness. I am choosing to grow my positive self and to starve my negative self to death. There will always be twp faces pf ,but I will not allow myself to get stuck on the negative side of things. When I finish this writing, I will turn off the computer and the television and I will step outside. I will take a deep breath of fresh mountain air and savor the moment. I will whisper “thank you” to the universe. I have a roof over my head, food in the pantry, a family and friends that I love. I need nothing more. I have made my choice.

© 2013 Linda Crist

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  • billybuc profile image

    Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

    Kindred, we all have a dark side and yes, in my case, as yours, stress will trigger a side of me I am not proud of. The good news is, as you stated, we all have a choice, and in self-reflective pieces like this one we take one step closer to controlling those moments we abhor. You are doing well considering what you are living through right now, and you are aware of the dark side, and that is a huge step in the right direction.

    Sending hubs my friend

    bill

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Bill, my precious friend, you are always so understanding of my human weakness. lol Been there, haven't you? Yes, we all have our struggles because we are not near as perfect as we would like to believe sometimes. I was like a rabid dog over the loss of my Internet and TV and refused to accept that it would take a week to repair. Like I suspected, the cable company had disconnected me when they did a new connection for the new tenant in my building. My connectors were simply dangling in the box. But the event caused a disconnect in my brain too. I was so bad until I realized how ugly it was. I am alwaysgrateful for the lessons though.

    Thanks for the read, the support and the "hubs" too. Now, could you send "hugs" to go along with those "hubs"? Sending some hugs your way too.

  • btrbell profile image

    Randi Benlulu 4 years ago from Mesa, AZ

    Love, love, love this. Been there, done that, will unfortunately probably do it again! What a great hub. One of the advantages of age is that we have had more to practice and some things just get better with time! i was thinking of you last week when I wrote about macular in one of my hubs. How are you doing?

    I love your last paragragh. I don't understand how I spiral away from that sometimes but I appreciate the reminder that it is time to thank the the universe.Thankj you, Linda for sharing this! Up++

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Hi Randi! It's so good to hear from you and thank for thinking of me. I just flipped ove and read your important hub on vision. Another great job as usual and no less than I expected from you. You know how important it is to take care of our eyes and how difficult it is when disease strikes. Thanks for keeping the message and information alive and doing it so well.

    I am fine but the vision continues to deteriorate. The left eye is still 20/200 but the right eye is gone. I do have some peripheral vision there but not enough to really matter. I've stopped trying to read printed material and because of the depth perception, am now having to pay for pedicures and manicures but that's small stuff. I am fighting it though, with vitamins and leafy greens. lol

    thanks for caring Randi and for taking time to read this hub about my darker side. :-) Hugs and my best wishes coming your way.

  • btrbell profile image

    Randi Benlulu 4 years ago from Mesa, AZ

    I am so sorry. It stinks that there isn't enough to do for it. At least enjoy the mani-pedi! You deserve it! Do you go to a low vision doctor? we have one here that sells all kinds of great gadgets. They aren't cheap but can a great help in getting things done! Good luck!

  • Jackie Lynnley profile image

    Jackie Lynnley 4 years ago from The Beautiful South

    Great read and I too have decided life is not going to go along with my dreams and plans so I need to make the most of what I have been given...and I do. We are indeed lucky, even in our bad luck. ^

  • Kathryn Stratford profile image

    Kathryn 4 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

    I guess every one has bad days! It's nice to know that it happens to others, even though I know it can feel shameful when we let our nasty side out for others to see.

    There have been a few times that I have thought that some of my negative "faces" have come out of the dark, usually unexpectedly. It is usually spurred by a few small things that roll into one big ball.

    This is a very thought-provoking article. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  • ImKarn23 profile image

    Karen Silverman 4 years ago

    honey - you need to cut yourself some slack - stat! I feel very in tuned with you and i understand your thought process - we both KNOW how lucky we are..

    BUT..

    that doesn't mean that your plate doth not overfloweth, my dear! And - yours DOETH! omg!

    i love that you went with principles - not money, but i[m so sorry it was more difficult than you'd anticipated. Still you stuck to them! i adore that , but - we both knows making the tough decisions doesn't make life any easier..

    i sold insurance, made good money - and quit when i discovered that my clients - who i cared about - weren't getting paid! It made me sick - literally..

    love you, Linda

    sharing

    ps..i believe that's a bdsm symbol?????

    lol

  • Theater girl profile image

    Jennifer 4 years ago from New Jersey

    Many times in my life, choosing to focus on the positives of my life and downplaying the negatives. Well written essay, you are brave for sharing!

  • marcoujor profile image

    Maria Jordan 4 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

    Dear Linda,

    To me, you have written on a universal theme in a very personal and honorable manner.

    I think of you all the time, appreciating all you juggle. I am respectful and proud of you for learning even more positivity from a rough situation all around. We are all still human, last time I checked...so promise to never beat yourself up. Just write another inspirational piece like this...

    Please be gentle on yourself. Love you, Maria

  • jonnycomelately profile image

    Alan 4 years ago from Tasmania

    Beautifully written Hub, thank you. And very useful content. Right up my street!

  • vocalcoach profile image

    Audrey Hunt 4 years ago from Nashville Tn.

    We'll I'd say you're just about perfect! I also think you've handled the situation and the ending is a good one. I like this - " sometimes bad things just happen to make us take a closer look at ourselves. When it happens, it is an opportunity to grow and change, if we have the courage and the desire."

    A most healthy attitude which I completely agree with. I voted up and rated with shares!

  • bravewarrior profile image

    Shauna L Bowling 4 years ago from Central Florida

    Linda, don't be so hard on yourself. We all have levels of tolerance and sometimes the beast does take over. You've done well with it. You exploded and now you are empty of stress, worry and anger. Now it's time to fill up again with 'sunshine'.

    Yes, you and most of us are better off than a lot of people in the world. But we are human and can only take so much until we do what is necessary to rethink and redirect.

    You recognize the negativity got the better of you and you corrected it. That's what matters.

  • MizBejabbers profile image

    MizBejabbers 4 years ago

    Dear Linda, I could philosophize over your dark side, but instead I think it is just human nature. I notice that you didn’t list Guilt as one of your problems – good for you! Now about your TV and Internet. You were just reacting the way most people would. You are paying for the service and you expect to get what you pay for, not some mealy mouthed excuses. In dealing with cable companies, most people find that they have to threaten cutoff before they get results.

    We have been without satellite TV since the storms swept in from Oklahoma 3 or 4 days ago. We lose it every time it rains, so Mr. B is just beside himself. He knows it won’t do any good to complain because it comes back as soon as the weather dries up. My son has cable and every time he has a complaint, not only do they give him grief, but the next bill he gets reflects a new add-on that he didn’t order and doesn’t use. My point in telling you this is to illustrate that the problems are universal. Our new technology has problems, and the human element responsible doesn’t seem to care about their service or their customers’ feelings. I think you are very justified in feeling as you do. Just watch your blood pressure, please, dear. Voted up ++

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Jackie, you have a great attitude. Keep it going and I will try to do better too.

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Randi, I go to a retinal/macular specialist who is awesome and the optomotrist I use carries some of the new low vision equipment. The prices are way beyond my pay scale though. I hold out hope that one day there will be a treatment or implant for this insidious disease.

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Hi Kathryn. Thanks for reading and commenting on this rather strange article. Yes, we do all have a darker side and like you, mine gets the best of me over the little things. I guess that's a good thing. lol

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Leslie, cut myself some slack? Honey, these are the things that hubs are made of. lol

    I unleashed a lot of stuff and it felt good. But then, I realized how stupid it was to get that hostile over something as stupid as Internet and TV. I do think customer service has gone to hell though and it felt good to tell them that. I'm fine girlfriend. No worries.

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Maria, you are in my daily thoughts too. I'm fine. I love these life lessons even if they raise my blood pressure from time to time. lol Sending you love and hugs too.

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Hi Theater Girl. Thanks for the visit. I agree with you completely. Brave? I don't know about that. I'm just painfully honest. lol

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Johnnycomelately - hello! Thanks for the visit and the support.

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Vocalcoach - hello...and thanks for being my cheerleader on this one. I'm glad you found it worthy of your time and votes and, sharing too. Thank you so much.

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Shauna, you are always there prodding me in the right direction and I love you for all your encouragement and support. Yeah, I'm human and I behaved badly over something really silly but boy do I feel better. And, my service has been restored so that I could feed my HP addiction. LOL It's all about cycles, isn't it? Hugs!

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    MizB - how are ya? I have been thinking of you and hoping you were not in the way of the horrible storms. I apologize for not knowing what county you live in. It seems we've been friends for so long that I never thought to ask.

    You said it perfectly when you described the "mealy mouthed excuses". That is exactly what pushed my button, even more than the loss of service. I'll probably pay the price with the next bill that comes too. Been there, done that before.

    Miz B, you can philsophize over me anytime. I love and admire your wisdom and frankness. Sending hugs.

  • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

    Gypsy Rose Lee 4 years ago from Riga, Latvia

    Positive is the way to be. I too have a darker side and reading this made me think of all those movies I've sėen where an angel lands on one shoulder and the devil on the other. The choice is always our own.

  • Cantuhearmescream profile image

    Cat 4 years ago from New York

    Irc7815,

    Beautiful! You have such a refreshing spirit and humble attitude. I understand your words all to well and all those negatives seem to feed and thrive off each other. It's easy to stay down when you fall down. This is uplifting; we all have things that we struggle with, but we can either let them make us stronger or make us weak. Very inspirational hub! Keep up that positive attitude and I will too!

    Up and several blue buttons :D

    Cat

  • MizBejabbers profile image

    MizBejabbers 4 years ago

    Linda, I just noticed one of your replies about your AMD, and I really hope that you are not progressing any further. So far mine seems to be in remission, and I am still driving and reading books with ordinary print, although I've given up paperbacks. A friend showed me this little trick, but you may already know it. Hold down your control key and scroll with your mouse to make your print on the computer screen larger (or smaller).

    We live in Pulaski County smack dab in the center of the state. Thankfully, the storms didn't get us, just the hard rains, but West Arkansas got some tornadoes and flooding. Several people, including a sheriff conducting a rescue operation, were killed.

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Good Morning Miz B. Thanks for the tip on the control key. I'm pretty computer savy but that one is new to me and a great trick. My AMD is progressing but I am still managing to do most things withut assistance. I need a magnifier to read printed material and even that is difficult due to the gray blobs from the drusin. The computer is my friend since it allows me to enlarge fonts. The lack of depth perception is my biggest problem. You don't realize how important it is for many ADL's. Still, I am tough and refuse to give in to AMD. lol

    Thanks for letting me know where you are. I so happy to hear you are safe and not in the path of these storms. I have friends in Sasakwa, Shawnee, and Ada, and Tishimingo that I worry abou. Most are Choctaw, Chickasaw, or Seminole and have little to lose. Rebuilding would be almost impossible. Semding positive energy to all my Okie friends. Be safe!

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Hey Cat! Thanks for the encouragement and the blue buttons too. :-)

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Gypsy, I know that scenario very well. I'll keep the positive going and hope you do too.

  • picklesandrufus profile image

    picklesandrufus 4 years ago from Virginia Beach, Va

    This hub speaks to many of us, I'm sure. You took us full circle and I could see myself in your situations. We all have a dark side and like you ...most of the time, I have learned to look for the light.

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Hey pickles. How are ya? Looking for the light this time found me in a swarm of lightening bugs and bats. lol All is well that ends well though and I can look back now and see ow silly my behavior was. Lesson learned and I continue to grow. By the time I'm 80 I hope to be grown up. Thanks for the visit.

  • Sunshine625 profile image

    Linda Bilyeu 4 years ago from Orlando, FL

    I prefer my sunshine days over my darkness days, but I've learned to appreciate the darkness because I always learn something from it. I also know that I'll bounce back, I always do because it's my choice to do so. I also refuse to allow anyone to take away my sunshine. Many of us could relate to your ups and downs. Fab hub Linda!!!

  • epbooks profile image

    Elizabeth Parker 4 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

    It's so true-stress and worry can be two of the worst things and ultimately lead to anger. I believe everyone is capable of going to the dark side and like you said, it's up to that person to make a choice and control it. Thanks for writing. Voted up, useful and interesting!

  • shanmarie profile image

    Shannon 4 years ago from Texas

    What a great hub. I guess we're all a little two-faced at times, standing in the mirror wondering where the person went that we want to be and feel we should be.

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Thanks shanmarie, for reading and understanding too.

  • Faith Reaper profile image

    Faith Reaper 4 years ago from southern USA

    Oh, Dearest Linda,

    I am sorry I have missed this profound and reflective piece here. Yes, you have painted a picture of the reality of life, with its ups and downs no doubt, which sometimes will just hit us smack between the eyes but we somehow go along just fine until something small will set us off, just due to the reality of all of it building up over time, and then that release must come out in some form or fashion for sure! We are all truly human.

    Thank you for sharing this heartfelt piece and please know you are in my thoughts and prayers.

    Sending a big hug out to you, Faith Reaper

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Sweet Faith, you are the matriarch of Hubpages and wisdom too. Your words are always so comforting. Thank you for helping to remind me of how human I really am. I hope that others can learn from these experiences I share and that something here will make their journey a little easier. Thank you for your kindness, your love, and your friendship. Your goodness shines so brightly and helps to ligth the way.

  • tillsontitan profile image

    Mary Craig 3 years ago from New York

    Geeze Linda, here I am two months after the fact. However, since this is such a great and revealing hub it is certainly worth reading anytime.

    I can only agree with all that's been said before me. Life is not easy nor is it fair and sometimes its the little wrench that screws up the works.

    We can handle just so much and then pow! It's like stretching a rubber band...it stretches just so far and then it breaks!

    Lucky for us, we have the ability to try to reign ourselves in and you've done a wonderful job of that. You have faced all the problems heaped on you and you have decided to look at the good and concentrate on that. God bless and may He continue to guide you and send happiness and peace your way.

    Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.

  • Ericdierker profile image

    Eric Dierker 3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

    Something had me come read this today --- and I am sure glad I did. Things are looking up --- thank you much.

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 3 years ago from Central Virginia

    Eric, as I said, we all have our demons. Some of my most important lessons came when I allowed myself to see through the eyes of another and then write about what I saw. We are a work in progress. Thanks for the visit. I always appreciate hearing from you.

  • jonnycomelately profile image

    Alan 3 years ago from Tasmania

    Seen through my eyes, Irc7815, that Company really needed to feel your anger! So, your anger expressed unreservedly, did a great job for the world.... some people sometimes need a big kick up the proverbial ass!

    In my view, every emotion has its place and its purpose....you did your bit and got it out of your system.

    Bingo!

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 3 years ago from Central Virginia

    honnycomelately - thank you so much for justifying my outburst. :-)

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