30 Before Thirty
Responding to Negativity
Negativity! We all have experienced it, been the perpetrator of or have seen it on social media. This is something that is mostly unavoidable. Unless you were to put yourself in a bubble! So instead of telling you how to avoid it or “ban” it from your life, I’m going to tell you how to change your response to it. I’ll also talk about how negativity induces stress and how to turn your negative thoughts into something more productive.
So what do I mean when I talk about negativity? Google Dictionary defines negativity as “the expression of criticism of or pessimism about something.” This is so general to me it’s almost painful; so let me break down what negativity means to me.
Negativity is when you’ve worked so hard on something at work/school/home and when you point it out, you’re minimalized for your efforts. Negativity is when you’re aiming for your goals while everyone around you is telling you you’ll never be good enough. Negativity is when you confide your deepest fears and insecurities to someone and they exploit them. Negativity is telling yourself you’ll never be able to do something or that you’ll always lose.
These are obviously very personal breakdowns that don’t happen to everyone. Also negativity can look a myriad of ways to everyone. So first in deciphering how to respond to negativity, I would find what that means to you. What are negative things or people or words that you find bother you the most? Is it negativity or is it something more? Figuring that out will help you create ways to combat them.
How have I learned to respond to negativity in my almost thirty years of life? Well I’m going to preface this in saying that I’m not perfect when it comes to it. My life isn’t all happiness and positivity and rainbows. I still struggle with it everyday, and sometimes my anxiety magnifies it. That being said, I am miles away from how I used to handle it in my early twenties. I used to overthink negativity and soak it up like a sponge. I’d constantly be telling myself I wasn’t good enough and that everyone was right and I would never accomplish my dreams.
What boloney. Now when I find that those thoughts are starting to creep in again, I remind myself of all the amazing things I’ve done in my life. So negative self -talk is probably the most consistent of any of these that I experience in my life. Once I start thinking negatively it’s hard to dig my way out but I just start listing things I’ve accomplished. Thankfully I’ve made that list longer but it also includes random things that may seem small. “You have a career in your job field. You got up on time today. You made it to work early.” These can be such small things but finding the good is what helps the negative go away.
Negativity from others
This can be one of the hardest pills to swallow, but not everyone around you is going to be supportive of what you do. I’ve had friends that I thought had my best interests at heart, that wanted what I wanted for my life, but that turned out to not be the case. I remember one evening we were talking about my goals, and was point blank told that they were never going to happen. I wasn’t talented enough and that I was stupid for even having those dreams.
And damn it, that hurt. You expect criticism from people you don’t know in the industry but to have your own friends tell you you’re not good enough. I’ll be honest, it really set me back. I’ve built up my own road blocks and writer’s blocks and any other blocks because my friends voices will come back loud and clear. So what am I doing to overcome?
Rachel Hollis, the author of “Girl, Wash Your Face,” has a quote that I remind myself of whenever this happens. “Someone else’s opinion of you is none of your business.” So even though they said it straight to my face, it’s none of my business. They are free to their own opinion and I gave them the power way too long to impact my goals/dreams/aspirations.
So besides focusing on the positives in my life I also remind myself that their words is not and doesn’t have to be my reality. I am in control of my life, I will be as good as I want to be, need to be in order to achieve my dreams. And nothing that anyone says, it could even be your own mother, can change your drive and your will. I’m having a little bit of a soap box moment but when I think of how those words impacted me, and how if they would have been supportive or my cheerleader like I was to them, things could have been way different.
That’s why my focus has shifted. It has gone from “you might be able to do this” to “You’re doing this.” Changing the wording surrounding your thought process can be just the boost you need. I know that these things sound so simple, yet living your day by day you can get bogged down with them. Realizing you’re experiencing negativity and turning it around can take your day from terrible to great.
What do you do to respond to negativity? Or do you know someone that should heed this advice? Let’s spend 2019 not letting negativity bring us down.