A Lesson in Dealing With Negativity: Eireann Dolan’s Classy Response

Sometime during the last few months, a dialogue about gay rights turned into vitriol — on both sides. Just when it seemed the two camps had no common ground, Eireann Dolan, girlfriend of Oakland Athletics pitcher Sean Doolittle, found a way to turn dealing with negativity into an opportunity to spread some love.

Both of Eireann’s moms are A’s fans, so she was thrilled when the team announced that June 17 would be LGBT Pride Night at the stadium. The ongoing debate flared up again, however, as many season ticket holders said they didn’t want to be there that night and would try to sell their tickets.

Eireann’s response was to offer to buy the tickets of anyone who didn’t feel comfortable attending the game that night, and she was quite classy about it:

“I will buy them from you at face value. As many as I can. No judgments. No questions asked … I won’t tell you that you are wrong or that you aren’t allowed to think or act that way. From there, I will donate any tickets I purchase to the Bay Area Youth Center’s Our Space community for LGBT2 youth. That way you don’t have to feel uncomfortable, and the seats don’t go to waste. It’s win-win.”

Eireann’s thoughtful, nonaccusatory way of dealing with negativity was ideal on two counts. First, she didn’t point fingers. Second, she didn’t just bemoan the situation; she did something about it. And this turned things around. Many of the people who had planned to sell their tickets donated them instead, and others even donated money to buy more tickets. Better still, a GoFundMe account raised even more money, some of which Eireann promised would be donated to other local causes, such as the AIDS Project East Bay.

This story reminds us that, when we’re dealing with negativity in our own lives and it seems there’s no good answer, we should stop focusing on what’s wrong. Instead, we should step back, take a deep breath, and ask ourselves, “What can be done to make this right? What’s the one thing in this awful situation that I can use to shine a little light into the world?”

I know what a difference it made in my life when I stopped feeling sorry for myself over how people reacted to my child’s mood disorder and started thinking about how I could help other families. As simple as my solution was — talk about your problems to anybody who will listen — I hope it’s made a difference for some. If there’s a mom somewhere who’s been lying awake at night, dread gnawing through her gut, thinking, “There’s something wrong with my kid,” I hope that I was able to motivate her to seek help for her child and to never give up until she gets it. I hope that, one day, another mom might see somebody else’s child acting atrociously, remember my words, and decide to show compassion rather than judgment. When I shared my experiences, it was the boost I needed to move from self-pity to advocacy.

Image source: Flickr