When You Are Challenged with
Your Own Negativity

The Road to Positivity

Being in negativity is different than having negative feelings.  Feelings alone are pure – happy, calm, sad, mad.  They exist to give us immediate indication of how we are doing in a situation, and they help us orient to where we are and give indication of what may be going on with others.  

Negativity is fear- and worry-centered.  It is about what you do not want, rather than thinking about what you do want.  When you are gripped by thoughts of self-centeredness, desire to be right, being on the downside in comparing yourself others or where you should be in life, having trouble appreciating others, or finding yourself thinking rude thoughts about someone else’s worldview, it may be time to step up and face your negativity.

Is it a Feeling or a Mindset?

It’s a fact that we give more weight to threatening and seemingly bad things than to positive or happy things.  When in danger, we move away, and this explains the negativity bias.  It is a survival mechanism.

When we are injured, experience the death of a loved one, or lose a treasured belonging, we have feelings around those events.  While those feelings may ebb and flow, they are only feelings.  They do not consume you.  You are still able to feel positive about life in general.

A negative in photography is a dark background, whereas positive is the lighter.  The two work together to form a complete picture.  It’s the same in life.

However, when your general focus is on negative things and it becomes difficult to expect and accept the good in life, you may be forming a mindset.

Embrace Your Feelings

With so much emphasis in our culture on accentuating positivity, we may forget that it is okay to feel authentic feelings that do not fall into that category.  Honoring negative feelings is not selfish or inconsiderate of others.  Doing so is honest and self-respecting. 

Every feeling needs to be mindfully embraced as “good,” as “what is” in the moment.  The negative feelings of hurt or sadness don’t feel as good in your body, but they are yours.  They aren’t bad and they don’t hurt you.

Embracing your feelings, whether negative or positive, creates more self-awareness.  When you give thought to why are experiencing a particular feeling in a particular moment, you can learn a lot about yourself.  Aren’t you worth getting to know?

Reverse Negativity

Negative thinking is where the problem lies.  Negativity centers in imagining the dark and fearful side of what-ifs.  But chronic worry and fear get us nowhere.  

Etiquette-fully nipping it in the bud is the only way.

  • Kindly remind yourself where you are.  
    “John, you are in the land of negativity, going nowhere.”
  • Recognize what you are feeling and ask yourself if there is a valid reason for it.  
  • Time to “flip it” by exploring some positive what-ifs and visualization.  
    “What if I got the job I want?”  
    “What if the loan came through?”  
    “What if we got through a holiday dinner with only pleasant conversation?”
  • Make a gratitude list.  There is always something to be grateful for.
  • Feel good.  When steeped in negativity, this may not be easy.  But allow yourself to feel good and entertain positive thoughts – even if just for five minutes.   You’ll find this length of time may grow with practice.

Changing a negative mindset takes work, but is an ultimate form of self-kindness.  Everyone deserves good in their life.  When we recognize how much good is in our life already, we can’t help but adapt a positive outlook.

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