Small Town, Big Thinking
Living rurally obviously has some challenges. One of the big ones that often gets negative attention from those who live in cities is how people get along in a small town. Sometimes, trying to accomplish things of importance and make progress towards goals can be near to impossible.
Every community has a person or people who make it difficult to get stuff done. Often, these people are not overly helpful either and prefer to use the voice rather than the muscles. Sometimes things can be worked out and other times they won’t be. I have found a few things that can help with these issues.
Ignore all negativity. Obviously this is difficult but it works. Negativity is generally there for attention getting. If you don’t give reinforcement to the negative talk, there is no pay off and it will happen less and less. Your hope is that particular person will tire of not being noticed and will leave the group or stop the negativity.
Obviously if there is a problem that needs to be addressed then it must be addressed. This is different from paying attention to negativity. Address the issue and move on.
People talking negatively abound in most places. I have learned that if I don’t have to interact with them in person on a regular basis, I can continue to do the work I am doing and it won’t affect the outcome. If however, I have to work in close contact with these types, I have trouble doing my job. Not everyone will be able stay away from negativity at all times, so the best tactic is to ignore it. And not everyone will be able to ignore it. Do your best.
It is best to realize that continuous negativity is a problem that is not related to things outside of oneself. When you remember this, it is easier to separate yourself from what you don’t want to hear. I used to take it personally but now I don’t.
Presenting the facts of an issue as they stand. This can go a long way to eliminating negativity. If you present information that is very clear about something, stating the benefits of a particular tactic or option it often helps to calm fears and show that there is no threat coming from you or other supporters. Often there is perceived competition in a group or on a certain project. When you give the facts and benefits of something calmly, and make sense about whatever you are working on, this most often works to end negativity.
Other parties can often not present more compelling facts to support their cause and often decide to quit the group or accept the facts.
Alternatively, you may be wrong about something and by admitting that you will stop the negative talk outright.
In small towns, there are the same problems as in large centres, just fewer people. People are people no matter where you are. When there is a lower population, you are closer together and hear complaints more often. It is kind of like being in a office where people don’t get along.
One of my relatives lives in a very large city. At her place of work, she has been bullied by another co-worker and the other people in the office have not been overly supportive. There are some that she gets along with but by no means all.
Being in a small town or rural area is no different from the city in that fact when it comes to getting along with people.
Because of this,
rural areas should not be given bad publicity about how it is to live there. Negativity and difficulty getting along happens everywhere.
The best thing to do is to not get sucked into the bad talk, keep your mind on the solutions and continue on with helping small towns prosper.
Originally published on my blog at homesteading101.net on August 26, 2016.