May 27, 2016

Top Strategies for Battling Negativity, part 5



“People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy.”—2 Timothy 3:2

This verse describes the attitude of people in the end times before Jesus returns to Earth. Nobody knows the exact date of His return. However, this scripture clearly describes the mindset of many people in our time.

In this atmosphere, violence, anger, and general selfishness thrive. We must guard against such emotional darkness.

This is part five in a series about overcoming negativity. Please find my first three articles on rejecting negativity here, here, and here. In part four, I discussed the attitude of Cindy Galardi Culpeper, the CEO of the largest hot-dog chain in the world, Wienerschnitzel.  In this article, I will focus on one of Ms. Culpeper’s strategies for defeating negativity: ignoring the words and actions of your detractors. I will concentrate on overcoming divisions at school and work, in religion, and in politics.

Religion

Obviously, there are varying viewpoints on this important subject. There are even different attitudes within religions. It’s sad when these contrasts lead to strong, judgmental, uninformed opposition.

For instance, Christian sects don’t always follow exactly the same guidelines and doctrine. We worship the same God, but we like to nitpick at minor differences in doctrine and ordinances. There’s especially a tendency to disrespect some people or sects about which we have little reliable knowledge. (Or, even worse, we may get our “knowledge” from second-hand biased sources):

  • “That’s a cult.”
  • “That minister spends too much, therefore I’m going to disregard anything he says.”
  • “Why do they allow/not allow that activity?”
  • “They don’t define “born again” the same way I do.”
  •  “Their definition of Heaven is different than mine.”

Susan is an online friend who was recently blocked by a fellow Christian “friend” when she expressed opinions that didn’t agree with the other’s narrow-minded views. Susan finally told the lady that she wasn’t her judge; God was. Good for her!

School/Work

Schools and workplaces are breeding grounds for polarizing factions. People are usually divided according to interests, intelligence, level of income, social status, or any number of other factors. Please see my book, Accept No Trash Talk: Overcoming the Odds to see how I overcame bullying. It’s a strong person, such as Ms. Culpeper, who can disregard the unfair boundaries and rules.

Politics

It’s a Presidential election year in the U.S.  The country is polarized according to political parties and candidates. Each side tells their version of the truth. They disrespect each other. The mainstream media promotes only certain attitudes and people--according to their agenda. The anger, lies, and even viciousness, seem to be never ending.

I have connected with individuals who are so upset by the fault finding that they are choosing not to vote at all. They don’t want to be a part of a group that seems to promote only negativity.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not advocating abstaining from voting. It’s important to make one’s voice heard. I’m just saying that some people have chosen not to vote for what they consider to be good reasons.

My Conclusion

Certain individuals can be proud and self-absorbed. This promotes divisions within groups that are meant to foster the common good. We can battle negativity by refusing to accept unjust or unwanted labels.

In this time of chaos, it makes more sense to support each other as far as possible. We should concentrate on our similarities rather than our differences.

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Jesus Christ had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Accept one another, then, just as Jesus Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.”—Romans 15:5-7 (NIV)

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How are you peeling off unwanted labels?