Planning For A Longer Life...

Now I like to see myself as an optimistic person a “Positive Penny” as I call these, then there are the “Debbie Downers” and the “Billy Battlers”. Now the DD and BB may have reasons for their behaviours but I find it exhausting, I’m fully aware of the effect of toxic positivity so I like to think I empathise not patronise.

I have always thought of myself as someone who looks on the bright side, even when tough situations happen, there is a lesson to learn. But recently someone said to me “why are you not crying, you are so brave!” This was as I was talking of my Dad who recently passed away and it got me thinking.

I am not “brave” I am just dealing with life in my way. (Oh and yes I absolutely did and still do cry when I think of my Dad)

I am not brave, I am an optimist, but does that sometimes come across as toxic positivity? I am fully aware of TP, even dedicated one of our podcasts to it, so when someone is having a down day, I am very conscious to either listen, respond, or give my opinion all depending on what the other person needs me.

In my corporate life, we always use to talk of radiators and hoovers, those that suck the life from you and those that give you energy and I always liked to think of myself as the radiator BUT again I am also very conscious that some radiators can be too hot, because of what I do being very aware of behaviours, I know full well I must have pi$$ed off half the people I worked with by having too much energy, always talking, butting in and taking over a conversation. 

But what of life’s Debbie Downers, if it’s a sunny day, then it’s too hot. If it’s a rainy day, then it’s grey and miserable, too windy, too hot, too cold, too normal. Someone who, no matter how the day is going, there is something wrong. I actually do feel for all those in the world who are called Debbie as it isn’t really fair that the term got nicknamed Debbie Downer, I know many Debbie’s all of whom prove the opposite to the nickname.

Do you have these people in your life, or are you reading this thinking, oh is that me? As I said, I personally find these people exhausting, no matter how much you try to give your opinion or solutions to their “down” they don’t want to listen, they want to add more “down”.  An example from my corporate world managing a team of salespeople, when a DD is not on target and you try to support and help them to achieve the target, there is a list of reasons back, 

Me: “let’s go through your pipeline and work on them together”
DD: “I’ve done that, they’re cr@p leads”
Me: “shall we put a day of prospecting tin the diary and I’ll come and support”
DD: “I don’t have the time”
Me: “Let me call some of the deals lost and see if I can add a mangers spin and get them back to talk”
DD: “ that will make me look like a didn’t do a great job in the first place”

Now some may call this an excuse but it’s a spin on how a DD can be exhausting. Here’s another with the weather:

Me: “shame about the rain today, but this is England”
DD: “always raise on my day off”
Me: “Surely not every day off? What about the last one”
DD: “was a lovely day you right but I was stuck indoors all day waiting for a delivery”
Me: “so when’s your next day off shall we make a plan?”
DD: “no point, the weather will change the plan”

It’s exhausting, so I tend to move away from DD’s in my life as I don’t have the energy. A Debbie Downer, is a pessimist, in my opinion, and even if they won the lottery it wouldn’t be enough / would be too much.

What about the Billy Battlers?

You know those ones, someone who is always having a battle with someone in their life. A BB actually thrives on battles, and when a battle has been resolved, they find another person to battle with. They start their day looking for a battle. How do they differ from a DD? A DD has an internal battle with themselves, and always finding a fault with life, the world, and the universe. A BB has an external battle with life, the world, and the universe as if life owes them something and in order for them to find win their battle, they must make other people’s life a battle too. I don’t believe a DD or BB actually know they do it.

Here is an example of a BB:

Me: “how’s work today?”
BB: “don’t ask, my manager asked me to take on extra work, so I said NO”
Me: “oh okay, but well done for standing up for yourself and saying No”
BB: “I knew they wouldn’t be happy, it’s why I said No”
Me: “But doesn’t that make for a bit of an atmosphere, can you do the work?”
BB: “yes, I can but why should I, they can do it themselves, they are the boss”
Me: “well it’s your decision as long as you are happy with that”
BB: “I am, can’t wait to be at the next meeting when they talk about the workload”

And another about the weather:

Me: “shame about the rain today, but this is England”
BB: “why do you always see the good in everything”
Me: “because it’s makes life easier”
BB: “Well you do have an easy life”
Me: “I have my tough times too, but like to remain positive”
BB: “You don’t even know the meaning of the word tough”
Me: “where is this going?”
BB: “you have such and easy life, never have to work for anything, all lands in your lap”
Me: “Wish I hadn’t mentioned the weather now”
BB: “That’s right change the subject”

Do you have BB’s in your life?

As humans we tend to migrate and “hang out” with people who are very similar to ourselves, not just in terms of personality but all round behaviours. You’ll find a Debbie Downer has many DD friends, all talk about how unfair life is, agree, and feel better that they have had a good conversation about it. Same with the Billy Battlers, they tend to flock towards others BB and then compare notes and feel great for having had a battle that day.

What makes a DD or a BB act this way? I truly can’t answer this but as a Positive Penny, I like to warm toward other PP’s, talking about all the things to look forward to, the life lessons learnt, and the optimistic output which DD and BB types may find exhausting as I find DD and BB exhausting. I’m planning a longer life – how about you?

Tell me your thoughts? Where would you yourself for the majority of days (we can change as life impacts us) I’d be really interested to hear.

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