Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

December 30, 2012

12/30/2012 — Lee Ward: Avoiding negativity not a resolution, just a good idea

Lee Ward
The Independent

ASHLAND — Not that I’m trying to put a stop to New Year’s resolutions, because I don’t care what the other guy does as long as he or she doesn’t bother me, but I quit making them a long time ago.

If I want to change something, I’ll change it right now. Putting a new calendar on the wall is no inspiration for me to change my behavior.

However, one of my friends caught me calling myself stupid recently and called me down on it.

“We all say negative things about ourselves all the time,” she said. “We should make it a New Year’s resolution to stop.”

I agree with her.

Every time I talk about being ugly, a friend — a different friend — points it out and says, “Let’s try to go two weeks without saying something bad about ourselves.”

I never make it.

It’s not that I believe these terrible insults I fling my own way. It’s a habit and it’s a habit that grew from good intentions.

When I was growing up as an only child, my mother went out of her way to make sure I didn’t have any of the negative attributes often associated with only children, such as selfishness or conceit.

In doing so, she contributed to my insulting myself. She taught me never to brag on myself and never to make myself out to be better than other people.

Always a people pleaser, I took that advice to heart. When you grow up without brothers or sisters to play with, or to fight with, you sometimes get desperate to collect lots of friends to stave off loneliness. You also don’t learn to fight, but that’s another story.

The more my friends call me on my insults, the more I think about what I’m saying and what I really mean.

I know I’m not stupid. Sometimes I do stupid things, just like everyone else.

What I usually mean is I can be forgetful and fail to think things through, just like everybody else.

I’m less secure about the ugly comments, but I’m ashamed of myself for complaining when I should be grateful I’m relatively healthy and able to take care of myself, maintain a job and have people who care enough about me to disagree when I say I’m stupid and ugly.

I’m not sure I will be able to carry out a New Year’s resolution to quit saying negative things about myself, but for the sake of accuracy, I’m going to try.

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Last week, I wrote a story about the Dear Santa letter we received from Los Angeles. The letter had no address and no return address but, by machine malfunction, made it to The Independent.

Making it even more interesting: it was written in Spanish.

In the story, I mentioned some of the employees of The Independent bought a few things for the year-old girl and mailed them to the address that was included inside the letter.

Just a few days later, an anonymous woman dropped off three bags of beautiful crocheted items for a baby. Not only did she fail to mention her name but she didn’t tell anyone here what they were for, but I’m sure it was for the Los Angeles baby.

I packed them up and mailed them, too, and I thank the people responsible for being so thoughtful and caring and helping us do a nice think for someone.

LEE WARD can be reached at lward@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2661.