Back from an excellent vacation in France. ( FYI the French are as reasonable and pleasant as any New Yorker–take that for what its worth). But the point of this posting is what happened to me in Provence. I caught a 24hr bug–negativity.
My wife pointed it out. We had met another couple who seemed pleasant and funny–at first. The fellow was a surgeoin I'll refer to as "Phil" and we seemed to have much in common. He was from the Bronx and I had done much of my medical training there. We both liked vodka.
We also connected regarding our complaints about the state of medicine, government regulations, insurance cutbacks in our fees, stresses of defensive medicine, concern about the future of our profession. It seemed rather innocuous at first.
He did have a certain way of speaking that was laden with sarcasm and head-shaking. He drifted into a barrage of complaints about many aspects of life in general including several which didn't seem particularly worthy of complaints–how much he spent on his three daughter's weddings, the membership at his golf club. I must have gotten caught up in his stream of consciousness rant because only later did I even realize that his negativity was inappropriate. The vast majority of human beings on the planet would have loved to have had his "problems".
I assume I found myself falling into a similar pattern of speech and body language and I wasn't particularly feeling well after our discussion. The feeling was subtle but visceral. It was a form of physical distress which was generalized. It was not focused on any particular part of my body–but it was present.
It was my ever observant wife who pointed out that I was beginning to speak like "Phil". She quickly pointed out that my negativity was annoying and didn't even sound like "me".
That point of awareness hit me hard. I had become infected with Phil's negativity bug and I didn't even realize it. It was alike a stealth attack and until my wife diagnosed it, I was a victim of it.
And yet I have no one to blame but my own lack of awareness. I should have been more attuned to what was going on within my own consciousness. My physical distress should have alerted me. My"dise-ease" threatened to become a disease.
It brought home to me the power of negative energy in our own lives. We all know on some level that negative, sarcastic, critical individuals do spread their attitudes to others.
We just need to be more aware of how subtle these attacks can be and how vulnerable we all are.
The treatment is clear. Remain vigilant about our own feelings, both mental and physical. Our bodies are the manifestations of mental and emotional states of being. Observe how negative, pessimistic individuals are capable of infecting those around them. It can happen in the workplace, in the public arena, and in personal relations with family and friends.
Self-awareness precedes self-healing. It was a lesson I will not soon forget.