How My Negativity Almost Ruined My Life

And What I Did to Change

Jeff Barton
May 30, 2018 · 5 min read

I’m a big believer in trying to remain positive whatever the situation.

But this wasn’t the case a few years ago.

I used to be a very negative person. I was cynical all the time. In my previous profession, I dealt with a lot of the bad in the world and it made me a person who you did not want to be around. It was hard to be around myself.

Negativity kept me isolated because I thought the worst of others. I had the view that everyone was inherently bad and had ulterior motives no matter the situation. And I trusted no one.

Friends left. I avoided family. I was alone.

It led to depression, anxiety, and drinking all the time.

My negativity was helped along by all the complaining I did. I complained about everything and anything. It was always someone else’s fault instead of my own. I didn’t take responsibility for my actions or emotions.

It was evident in my work and my attitude. Rarely was I positive. And it almost destroyed me.

I understand we can’t be positive all the time. I’m not. I have my moments where the negativity creeps in. But I’ve learned to recognize it and let it go. It’s not worth my time or energy to focus on negative things in the world or in others. Because I can’t control it.

Since becoming more positive, I’m happier. I’m sure my kids are happier too. Because they see it. Others see it. It’s an energy which is easily felt. I’ve changed completely.

You know what it’s like because all of us have been around others who exude negativity. And we all know someone who is full of positivity.

I know people will say you can be too positive, but it makes no sense to me. Same with being too nice.

When did being positive and nice become something people don’t want? Is this what negativity does? How has this become a character flaw?

But I’d much rather be known as someone who is positive and nice than the opposite. And you’re probably not going to want to be friends with me anyway if you believe people can be too positive.

I’ve given up watching the news all the time because it’s mostly negative. I’ve learned to control my reactions when something gets me upset. I know now it’s not really the thing which makes me upset, but my reaction to it.

I no longer seek the negative like I used to. There was an article on here I read which talked about “hate-reading.” That’s the way I lived my life. I looked for things which would make me angry and didn’t agree with my worldview.

It made me feel superior because I thought I knew everything and the people who didn’t hold my views were just wrong. That’s what negativity does. It focuses on other people’s flaws instead of your own.

For a long time, I didn’t realize how bad my attitude had become. It wasn’t until I was around someone else who was more negative did I realize how exhausting it can be. And I woke up and recognized I was the same.

It’s a constant battle because it wears you down. And you turn into someone who thrives on the negativity. You can’t live without it. You become dependent on that feeling.

What I’ve also found is negativity breeds negativity. It’s like a contagious sickness which spreads with no cure. It keeps expanding until it engulfs those around it.

But like negativity can spread, so can positivity.

I’m not saying you have to tell yourself positive affirmations multiple times per day or put inspiring notes on every mirror in the house. And there is nothing wrong with a good rant occasionally. But we should all focus more on the positive instead of seeking the negative.

You can channel that negativity into something else too. Something you are passionate about.

I channeled my negativity into other things like running, writing, and appreciating life, my kids, and myself. I decided to not be a part of the negativity in the world because there is already too much. And I don’t want to contribute to it anymore.

So I remain focused on joy instead of pain. And bringing joy to others as much as I can.

I’m trying to not be critical of everything and everyone. Because I figured out the problem was with me and not with them.

I realized we are all different but are also the same. We all share problems and we are all trying to get through life.

I embraced compassion even when it seems it’s not warranted. Because hating something or someone is one of the most negative emotions we can experience.

I let go of those negative emotions which were holding me back.

And now the positive emotions are pushing me forward. You can push forward with me.

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Jeff Barton

Written by

Dad, runner, author, a bunch of other labels. I write about life, mental health, running, and some satire occasionally. Starting life over one day at a time.

Personal Growth

Sharing our ideas and experiences.

Jeff Barton

Written by

Dad, runner, author, a bunch of other labels. I write about life, mental health, running, and some satire occasionally. Starting life over one day at a time.

Personal Growth

Sharing our ideas and experiences.

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