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Yellowdog's avatar

Is it really possible to be loving, friendly, always positive and full of positive energy, warm and comforting -- without being phony or fake or plastic?

Asked by Yellowdog (11160points) March 19th, 2017

One of my earliest role models / heroes was Gomer Pyle.

I never saw him as the simpleton which most people associate him as being— but a man as simple, trusting, naive and good—that even the ugliness and brutality of the Marine life didn’t change him or his attitude—and efforts to take advantage of his trusting and simple nature often backfired but had a good outcome for everyone who might have deserved it.

There also were once a lot of folk singers and John Denver types who were kind, clear, helpful—and had a somewhat spiritual outlook that was hard to define but affected everything they said and did. They lived for a better world, and, with the public at least, they never said an unkind word though sometimes, somehow mentioned the banality of the way things were and suggested a better way. A world we could hope in.

Some people are as warm and comforting as company around a fire—as spiritual and as natural as a campfire—and have that hard to define touch of a divine presence that can only be found in a setting where everyone lights their one candle.

Dogs, especially, can be loving and loyal and comforting without pretending, but ready to fight when need be.

I once came into ministry though life as a camp counselor because I love children and nature. My first experiences were of playing the Appalachian dulcimer and serving in positions of “shepherding” (more like a sheepdog than a Good Shepherd) children and mentoring youth. I tried to be like that—like a folk singer, a John Denver type, with a positive and hopeful vision.

In those days, one of the biggest compliments I received was from someone who was insulting me. He said I don’t live in the world the way things are but the way I wished they were.

Over time I guess I wish I could get back to that. When I was a child, some people in church and at summer camp were just that way. Nice. Loving. Supportive. They cared and they would let you know it. They weren’t phony.

But over time I have become a cynic. I am critical and negative and don’t cope well with life—although I do help people to the detriment of myself.

We are supposed to love everyone and mingle in with other cultures, other ways. That’s what we were taught to—what we taught were right. But some of ‘their’ music is about killing law enforcement. Some of ‘them’ want to terrorize and subjugate us. Some of ‘them’ are selling drugs on our street corner, shot me in 2011, were sentenced yet back on our same streetcorner in 2017 selling drugs again out of the same car. There are many bad people in the world and they do not share our values for peace and living as One.

Is it possible, therefore, to live positive and giving, and be a comfort and strength for others? I strive to be that way, but I’ve become a cynic and somewhat of a loser.

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19 Answers

Berserker's avatar

Not everyone is going to share one’s values, because one’s ideas of peace and love may be different than another, or is achieved through differing means. Which is, partly, why different cultures and beliefs exist in the first place. No one here is going to argue that pedophiles suck, but in some places a grown man is able to marry a young girl. You’ll never reach every single person in your community, let alone the world.

Of course you will never be able to be positive and warm all the time, even if it is in your nature. There will be cynicism and sorrow, as there is even for the people who appear to be a constant pool of radiance.

anniereborn's avatar

If you mean “all the time”, I don’t see how. Humans are born with the capacity for a spectrum of emotions. If someone is turning all that off, I believe it’s gonna boil over someday.

ragingloli's avatar

Not for humans.
Also, how could someone who turned insane and blew his own brains out with his service rifle be your role model?

Sneki95's avatar

Of you’re a child, have a brain of a child, or are a fictional character, then yes.

Otherwise, no.

Being “loving, friendly, always positive and full of positive energy, warm and comforting—without being phony or fake or plastic” as you wrote it, is selective. No one can be like that to everyone, without exception. Sure we can try, bit no one’s ever achieved it.

It all depends on the context.

Dutchess_III's avatar

No, not unless it’s who you actually are (in which case I would probably find you annoying.)

@ragingloli he was referring to the character, Gomer Pyle. Not the actor. And Jim Nabors is still alive. And Gomer never blew out his brains with a service rifle.
LOL! I was reading through the wiki article on him and there is a sentence “Although he had been closeted before this, his sexual orientation was not completely secret” Ya think?!

Dutchess_III's avatar

Thanks. Let’s blame autocorrect shall we? Even though I’m on my desk top and don’t have autocorrect. Shhhhh!! :)

tinyfaery's avatar

Yes. The answer is drugs.

Danebiggs's avatar

I guess you’re an idealist.
I am kinda the same way, I’m generally much happier when I’m in my own little world, working alone, surrounded only by people I like, watching movies that portray a fantasy life that I like etc.
When I spend too much time on the internet or watching news or dealing with the reality of how people aren’t one dimensional characters like in movies I get depressed.
I worked at a Police Station as a guard one time and an officer told me that there’s no such thing as good person and a bad person, there’s just a whole lotta grey area with people.
I think that makes sense.
Nobodies perfectly good and happy all the time so it probably would be fake to try to appear that way.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@ragingloli That was neither Jim Nabors nor Gomer Pyle. That was a character named Pvt. Leonard Lawrence, nicknamed Gomer Pyle.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Well not even John Denver was John Denver, so…

LuckyGuy's avatar

You wrote “Over time I guess I wish I could get back to that. When I was a child, some people in church and at summer camp were just that way. Nice. Loving. Supportive. They cared and they would let you know it. They weren’t phony.”

You were a child in church and at summer camp. Of course the world looked rosey. And through the lens of time even more-so!
What you didn’t know was the camp specifically excluded blacks; the camp counselor, Mr. Crawford, was splitting up with his wife because she was sleeping with the activities director. One kid in 4 had parents arguing at home and one in 6 ended up with a split family in 3 years. There were alcoholic dads demanding their Manhattans when they got home from work. Mothers were bored to tears. Many were going through the motions so they wouldn’t be ostracized or shunned. There were murders and rapes, robberies and burglaries, abortions, wars – it just wasn’t publicized as much.
We were able to isolate ourselves. It was easy to see the world the way we wanted.

There’s a good chance June Cleaver was boinking Eddie Haskell when Ward was at the office. They just didn’t post it on Facebook.

Yellowdog's avatar

The camp didn’t accept blacks?

Lakeshore United Methodist Assembly only had four blacks out of 96 campers—but it certainly didn’t exclude them. In fact, the groups I am describing are the ones who brought about social change. Remember when the draft was abolished and when the Vietnam War was over, and songs like Black and White by Three Dog Night were on the radio?

I was a Hermaphrodite posing as a boy (In fact, in 1975, I was the very first “boy” in the Camp Fire Girls which started accepting boys in early 1975), and was treated with dignity and respect in spite of being physically different in an environment where it couldn’t be hidden.

The other social problems you mention were probably not rare, as you indeed suggest—but not nearly as common as your stats portray. If they were more common they would have been better known—but I think divorce never surprised anyone.. The sexual induendo that some people pretend to find in songs on children’s T.V. shows like The Electric Company—they are merely the fabrications and imaginings of a later era who have no idea what the world was like back then.

Left and Right came together in groups like Peter Paul and Mary and the early Jesus movement—even patriotism—both sides came together as Americans—no one called us fascists as we were the great melting pot, made up From Many, One

Even in those times, however—not everyone accepted the culture to which I am referring. Most people, in fact, only knew the ever-genial Gomer Pyle as an idiot. And by the way, that video indeed portrays Marine life as it is, but that certainly wasn’t Gomer Pyle..

LuckyGuy's avatar

@Yellowdog I was just using that as an example. As a child you would not have been aware of any artificial selection processes. I imagine in the 50s and early 60s camp might have been segregated in the south.
Certainly they admitted kids of their chosen religion.

You were a kid and would not see the warts.

BellaB's avatar

Pretty sure you don’t really want to be John Denver. He had a dark side

BellaB's avatar

“they are merely the fabrications and imaginings of a later era who have no idea what the world was like back then.”

@Yellowdog , you are still comparatively (to me) young. The world wasn’t as pretty and innocent as you seem to think it was. Never was. Never will be. As children, we don’t always see all of the truth. Hindsight. 20–20. All that.

BellaB's avatar

“Is it possible, therefore, to live positive and giving, and be a comfort and strength for others? ”

It is possible to be positive and giving, a comfort and strength. It has to be done with awareness – not blindness to the reality of the world and the strengths and weaknesses of all people.

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