Fasten your seatbelts, chicas. Today's topic gets real.
How do you deal with negativity? We all face this issue in one way or another, and unfortunately, it's part of living in an imperfect world. Whether it's your own thoughts that make you doubt yourself or someone in your life that seemingly drains your happiness, negativity can creep in and make even the most confident people feel deflated.
It seems like the obvious solution would be to cut out the people and resources that are dragging you down into a negative headspace. But the reality is that life is never that cut-and-dry. Because all of our stories are different, it may be helpful to analyze the sources of negativity in your life in order to navigate the situation.
When It's Your Family
Family is always complicated, isn't it? It's part of what makes life simultaneously messy and beautiful, and this is no exception. Family can tend to speak negatively about your choices because they may have a differing opinion on the path you should be following. This can be really discouraging, because from your perception, it feels like they're crushing your dreams and speaking poorly of you personally. It hurts when the ones who are meant to believe in you the most don't back your decisions.
Especially in the case of older relatives, your family may feel an innate right to analyze (and criticize!) those decisions because it's their duty to guide you down a path that leads to success. They may not support you if they feel that you're veering off that path. In that case, their disapproval may actually be the way they show that they love and care about you. That doesn’t mean they’re negative people! Keep an open heart and listen objectively to show you love and respect them even if you disagree.
Your family may perceive some alternate path to be the most successful for you, even though you know in your heart that it’s not what you're meant to do. Even though there is mutual love and respect, there's also tension. In this situation, distancing yourself may be the best solution. Take some time away to set on the path you believe is right for you and use that time to prove that you can be successful in that choice. Once they see that you are happy and successful, they may soften their mindset and embrace your decisions.
When It's Your Friends or Acquaintances
Have you ever had a friend talk negatively about you behind your back? Or a friend who made every effort not to hang out? It may be disappointing, but these may be signs that they don't value your friendship as much as you thought. Maintaining these friendships can be exhausting, so allowing some distance may be the best solution in order to maintain your own emotional wellbeing.
There's also the case of acquaintances, or people you may not have chosen to be friends with. Perhaps this person is a friend-of-a-friend or your good friend's significant other, and you just can't handle their constant negative energy. In an effort to maintain closeness with your real friends, pursue unity - even if that means tolerating the Debbie Downer for a while. Find your threshold - how long can you be around this person until their negativity wears on you? Be kind and cordial to that person, even if it takes most of your effort. But don't be fake - when you feel their negativity impacting you, try to distance yourself for a while. If you live in that negative space for too long, you may end up lashing out emotionally, causing tension between you and your close friends.
When It's Your Coworkers
The people you work with can influence the way you view your job. Either you love going to work because you love your coworkers, or you dread it because you can't stand the constant complaining and criticism. At some point, however, you are going to face criticism. Sometimes this is a good thing - your boss should give you feedback on your performance, even if it's negative. If you have customers, you will inevitably receive a complaint, even if you feel like you're crossing all your t's and dotting all your i's. In this case, negative feedback isn't negative at all - it's meant to help you improve and grow as a professional. Go into these situations with an open mindset for growth, as it can help you process through negative feedback. Work hard, prove your strengths, and eventually it will be recognized.
On the other hand, what if your boss is discouraging you from doing your best work? Even if you're doing your best work and proving yourself, all this may go unnoticed. Or what if your coworkers are miserable because they hate their job? Eventually the things they complain about will become things you complain about, and they'll successfully project their negativity onto you. If you work at a place where nobody likes what they're doing or who they're working with, you could end up absolutely drained. Remember - you spend the majority of your day (and your life!) working. Why choose to spend that time in a place that makes you unhappy?
When It's Yourself
Have you considered that your lack of confidence may be due to your own self-talk? Negative self-talk can paralyze you, causing you to talk yourself out of doing amazing things. Even if nobody else thinks that you're unqualified or incapable, you project these false opinions onto yourself. Having a fixed, negative mindset saves you from failure and embarrassment, but it also acts as a roadblock between you and the path you want to follow.
Think of it like this. You're standing at the edge of a cliff ready to jump into the water below. Being bold enough to jump off that cliff is an awesome, daring feat! But the longer you stand on the edge and think about what will happen after you jump, the more doubt and fear creeps in and talks you out it. Now you're climbing back down the cliff because it feels safer, but you'll never know the thrill of the jump.
I used to believe that I was the only one that struggled with this, but even people who have gone on to do amazing things have faced their own negative self-talk. Successful people have acknowledged and overcome their feelings of doubt and inadequacy to pursue the path that led them to success. It's a process that doesn't happen overnight, but it can be helped by practicing goal-setting and affirmations. Create and accomplish smaller goals that give you the skills you need to tackle your personal cliff jump. Equip yourself so that fear and doubt don't have the power to stop you in your tracks. And when negative self-talk creeps in, combat it with positive affirmations and choose to acknowledge your strengths instead. You'll be amazed at what you can do when you get out of your own way.
Navigating the Negativity
Whew! That was a hum-dinger! This is such an important topic because at some point, everyone feels overwhelmed by both internal and external negativity. Although we've focused on how to navigate situations that are messy and difficult, it's also important to put yourself in as many positive situations as you can. Surround yourself with people that affirm your strengths. Go places and do activities that make you feel inspired. And as much as you can, close the gap on negativity in your life so that you can accomplish crazy, daring, amazing things.