It has been a rough spring and summer. There’s the pandemic of course. The civil unrest. And what’s going on with the economy.
On top of everything else, my father passed away the end of April, and I experienced raw, visceral grief unlike anything else I’ve ever felt before, on top of the atmospheric grief so many of us have felt in covid-19 times, with the state of things.
That kind of loss is never easy, but I’m getting through it. And more importantly, I have reached the point where I believe I will be okay.
I have a new book that’s going to be out any day now, a slipstream mystery called Psychic City, which features a trio of female polyamorous detectives as its main characters. To say I’m excited would be an understatement. I poured so much of myself into writing that book. It is easily the best thing I’ve ever written. It’s my fourth book but my first fiction. There’s a ton of psychology in the book. And an awful lot of ridiculous jokes.
I’ve never felt quite this emotionally invested in a project before.
So as excited about this launch as I am, I’m also very nervous. I find myself playing the “what if” game. What if no one reads it? What if no one likes it?
What if, what if, what if.
It’s not helpful, but it’s hard to get your brain to stop once you start.
And when I go to that place, I have to forcibly rein myself back in. I have to remind myself: Don’t forget the good. It’s so easy to do.
You Have to Fight Against Negativity Bias
It’s true. As I mentioned in a post I wrote about negativity bias, it’s a well-documented phenomenon that you’ll find in basically every human being: The tendency, all else being equal, for us to cognitively and emotionally weight negative experiences WAY MORE than we do positive experiences.
You need A LOT of positive to balance out a negative — and a bit more if you want the positive to come out on top. How much more? Well, it’s difficult to say, exactly, because intensity matters. A minor negative will be much more affected by major positives and vice versa.
The available studies do seem to range at the low end from 4:1 all the way up to 7:1, depending on the population studied (coworkers, schoolmates, romantic partners, etc.) as well as the study design.
But one thing is clear: You need a lot of positive to outweigh a negative.
Sometimes You Just Have to Do It Yourself
I used to look to other people to do this for me. And obviously, that’s great — when I can get positive feedback or words of encouragement from other people. But I’m learning that it’s best if I can prime that positivity myself.
So maybe it feels a little silly to remind myself, but I do it: Don’t forget the good. It’s so easy to do.
Fiction by Page Turner: