October 11, 2014

4 Reasons Why We Should Reject Others' Negativity

I am working on having a more positive outlook on life because I realize how important this is to my health, my relationships, and my financial success. However, I wasn’t always an optimistic person. 

In my book, Accept No Trash Talk, I share instances of how negativity is prevalent in the world. I talk of negativity that I saw at school and at work. I also share examples of celebrities who overcame tremendous amounts of opposition. 

We are more aware of negativity than ever because cyberspace gives us real-time access to it. The reporting of violence, political power plays, and the general cruelty of man against his fellow creatures make good ratings.

If we aren’t exposed to negativity through some medium of electronics, we may be exposed to it in real life. Road rage, social inequality, bullying, and a general show of disrespect are evident everywhere.

Others’ negativity is not our responsibility.

It is not our job to make other people happy. Certainly, it is not our job to make other people happy at the risk of our own ethics, morals, or happiness. Each human being chooses his own destiny. We’re free agents. We are not the arbiters of others’ contentment.

Many people will try to make us believe that their discontent is caused by something that we said, or did—or by something that we didn’t say, or didn’t do. In some cases, this may be true because we all make mistakes. (Also, some people are cruel.) However, in other cases the “victim” merely wants to shift the rightful blame from himself to other people.

Internalizing negativity is unhealthy.

Recent research indicates that most illness is psychosomatic, meaning that many illnesses are likely to affect the mind as well as the body. Modern medical science clearly documents the fact that the brain and the rest of the body can no longer be treated as separate entities.

We have known for decades that negativity affects our mental health. People with mental concerns are likely to have negative thought processes. For example, obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression, and anxiety do not stem from positive thinking.

Negative self-talk can crush our dreams. 

Michael Pantalon, PhD , in his Psychology Today article entitled Why we Need to Reject Negativity , says that we need to analyze the negative narratives in our self-talk. He says that negativity can turn individuals from change and keep us from dreaming. Also, Dr. Pantalon points out the emotional need to remember that change is often possible, even in dire circumstances, such as addictions.

Negativity damages our relationships with others.

Negative people can drain our energy, so we may choose not to interact often with them. On the other hand, if we are negative to other people, they may choose not to interact with us.

Everyone craves positivity, whether or not they recognize that fact. We gravitate naturally towards people who accept and uplift us. Therefore, negative people may get left out of certain social circles and situations. Few people want to have conversations with people who only want to discuss problems with their health, in their home, or in their workplace.

Negativity is likely to damage relationships at work, too. A person that has a sunny disposition is likely to receive a promotion before a person that seems to be mired in emotional darkness. In most cases, it won’t matter if a person who is up for promotion is an extrovert or an introvert. What’s important is a friendly disposition.

How can we reject others’ negativity?

Marc Chernoff, in a blog post called 4 Ways to Quiet the Negative Voice Inside You on marcandangel.com says that there are four ways to reject negativity:
  • Focus on the grey areas of life instead of thinking in black and white extremes.
  • Stop looking for negative signs from others.
  • Evaluate and eliminate anything unreasonable.
  • Embrace rejection

Why do we need to reject others’ negativity?

We need to reject negativity for the sake of our own mental and physical health. Author Marc Chernoff states, in the blog post mentioned above, that pessimistic thinking is backwards thinking. It keeps us mired in our past. We use it to avoid disappoint in the present. We also use it as an emotional insurance policy for the challenging times in life. In other words, we need to stop using pessimism as a mental crutch.

How have you successfully rejected negativity?

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