How To Stay Positive When Dealing With Negativity
Negativity is everywhere. We all have to deal with it. Some of us have to deal with it more than others. Growing up, I always struggled with dealing with negative people. I always felt like I had to defend myself against people who looked down on me or viewed me negatively. And it was difficult because I had a very negative view of myself. So dealing with so much harmful criticism would cripple me mentally.
It was very difficult. And there were times when I honestly felt I couldn’t go on. But a few years back, I decided I needed to figure out how to deal with this. Not just for myself. But for the many people who have the same struggle.
The truth is there are very negative, toxic people out there. They may not realize it themselves, but they cause people terrible pain. And for those who struggle with negative thoughts, that pain is compounded.
My purpose for writing this article is to share with you what has helped me to maintain a positive look regardless of the circumstances that I face. We’ll be talking about 3 things that will help you to accomplish this.
1. Understanding the truth about negativity
2. How to appreciate yourself even if others do not.
3. Looking for how you can benefit from every situation.
#1 — Understand the truth about negativity
I want you to really think about this question. Why does negative, harmful criticism hurt so much?
Have you ever really just thought about that. Why does it cause so much pain when someone says something hurtful?
It’s because we begin to entertain the possibility that what they say might be true. Think about it. If you’re a woman and I come up and say to you in a demeaning manner. “You’re two feet tall.” Would you be hurt, or confused?
You would be confused, right? Even if I was adamant about it. “YOU ARE TWO FEET TALL!” You would still not be bothered. Why? Well, it’s so far from the truth you would just look at me like I’m crazy. That wouldn’t phase you emotionally. You would move on with your life and tell your friends about this stupid fool you encountered who was adamant that you’re two feet tall.
But what if I came up to you and said, ‘You’re ugly.’ Now that would hurt more, wouldn’t it? But why? Because in the back of you’re mind, maybe subconsciously, you would start to ask yourself: ‘Am I ugly?’
It’s the possibility that what someone is saying is true that is so bothersome. This why understanding the truth about negativity is so important.
Humans have only opinions. Not absolute truths. Why do I say that? Well, absolute truth is something that is irrefutable. You can try for all eternity to prove an absolute truth wrong, but you won’t be able to. Humans don’t have that. We have opinions. We want to think that we have absolute truths, but we don’t.
So realize, when someone makes a negative comment. You have no reason to put your faith in it. It’s an opinion. If a person comes up to you and says you’re ugly, does that make you ugly? No! In 5 minutes, someone can approach you and say “You’re the most beautiful woman in the world.” Humans are in love with their own opinions, but that doesn’t mean you have to love their opinions too.
I remember one day I was watching a YouTube video of Lebron James. When I scrolled down to the comment section, it was full of negative comments. Comments like, “He’s trash.”, “that’s why he can’t win”, “what a loser.” It was ridiculous.
Now think, this man is one of the greatest basketball players to ever play the game and yet people are saying these things about him. What does that mean? No matter what you do. No matter how beautiful you are. No matter how much money you make. No matter how good you are at your job. People will still find a way to be negative. People will still find a way to view you as incompetent. People will still find a way to belittle you. Once you realize that negativity has zero to do with reality, you learn to stop caring about the negativity you face.
I used to not have any confidence in anything I did. I always wanted to, but I was not a confident person at all. I wasn’t sure why? One day I read an article about how professional athletes build confidence. They work hard. The harder the work, the greater their confidence.
So I decided to try it. I started working hard at everything that I put my hand to. Every hobby. Every job. For every activity that I did, I tried to do my best. Work as hard as I could at it. The result. I’m now more confident than ever. I don’t deal with negative emotions as often as I used to. And this has made me much happier.
#2 — Appreciate yourself even if others do not
Confidence has to come from within. It can’t be based on people’s viewpoints and praise. It must be solely based on your understanding of who you are. Not what others think about you. Confidence that is founded on other people’s view of you, is fragile. At the first negative remark, it will break.
So how can you build self-confidence? How can you learn to appreciate yourself even when others do not?
Set standards for yourself, and then live by them. Work hard to be the person you want to be. This takes effort, but it’s well worth it. When you think of confident people, who come to mind? You may think of the models you see on Instagram. They seem confident. Or maybe people who work out at the gym. Or people with money maybe. But all that is vain. What makes a person confident, is the fact that they’ve worked for who and what they are.
When you start exercising and lose your first 5 pounds. How do you feel? You feel great! People share their stories on social media. They may still feel that they are overweight, but the very fact that they worked hard and saw results boosts their confidence. And that’s the secret.
Work hard towards whatever you desire to be. If you want to be more skilled at something. Read up on it. Practice. You’ll find that you are more confident simply because you’re working towards your goal.
Do you want to be more fit? Start exercising. Work towards that goal. Work builds confidence. It’s as simple as that.
See when we know we’re not putting forth the required effort to be what we want, our confidence is fragile, or non-existent. When someone makes a negative remark, we often internalize it. Why? Because often times we secretly know that we're not putting forth the effort we know we should be. But when we know we’re working hard towards our goals. When we know we're putting in the effort. We’re proud of ourselves. And not that negative remarks won’t affect us, but they won’t cripple us. You’ll be able to maintain your emotional balance despite what’s going on around you.
So try this:
Write down 3 goals that will reflect who you want to be. For example, do you want to be more fit? A better student? A better writer? A better mother? Whatever you want to be, write down 3 goals that will help you get there.
Now under each goal, write three things that you can do every day, or every week to work towards that goal. Now put that list up on your wall, someplace visible, and start working. Keep the items simple and small. Don’t try to bite off more than you can chew. There’s no need to rush.
I once experienced a life-changing event that shattered my confidence. I was so angry with myself and with the people around me. I decided to write down a few things I wanted to accomplish that I knew would help me be happy with myself again. I accomplished all the items. That year went from one of the worst years to one of the best years of my life.
Success is based on consistency not on rushing.
#3 — Look for what you can learn from every setback
Negative people and remarks will always be a part of your life. You can try and remove them from your life to the best of your ability, but you won’t be completely rid of them. And occasionally, you’ll find yourself being more affected than you thought you were. We go through so many things. We have good days, we have bad days. Sometimes everything lines up in a way that hits us harder than normal.
When that happens what can you do?
First of all, try to relax. Sometimes we’re more emotional because we’re tired. We’ve been going, going, going, and now we’re exhausted. So at times, resting will help a lot.
But when in the midst of a troublesome time, try to see what you can learn from the situation. Have you been off your routine lately? Have you been dealing with negative thoughts yourself recently? Have you been overworking?
When you ask yourselves questions like this, you can find the root of the problem. Sometimes the issue is not people and their negativity, but something else.
I once was working really hard on building an app. Putting in 15 hour days, 7 days a week. I started getting very irritable. I was upset that my app wasn’t getting the traction I felt it deserved. I felt like a failure. One day I was so angry, I just sat in the back seat of my brother's car in silence. I was fuming inside. What was my problem? I wasn’t resting. 7 days a week of work, not one day off. That’s madness.
The issue wasn’t the app. I wasn’t a failure. I was exhausted. I was too tired to think properly. I took the next two days off, and everything was okay. I didn’t feel like a failure anymore. I was happy with the progress I was making. My outlook completely changed.
What did I learn from that experience? I have to rest. I can’t work all the time. It’s counter-productive, and it will damage me emotionally.
I hope this article has helped you see how you can be positive despite the negativity all around you. Learning to be positive regardless of circumstances is something that will help you in all areas of life. So please remember the following:
Understand the truth about negativity. The negativity is not real, it’s not truth. No one's words can make something real. Negative people will be negative regardless of the truth that’s in their face.
Appreciate yourself even if others don’t. Work hard towards your goals. Don’t worry about what negative, harmful people want you to be. Work towards what you need and want to be.
And last, look for what you can learn from every setback. Every time you. Have a difficult time with negativity, analyze what’s caused the issue. If possible, avoid whatever caused the problem like the plague. Think about how changes in your thinking could perhaps change your outlook.
If you do these things, you’ll see that you’re a much more positive and happy person, despite the negativity that exists around you.