We grow up as children being told to strive to be the best, judged on how clever we are, how beautiful we look and our successes as individuals. That’s a difficult space to be in as children, but its not something we grow out of as we grow older; it just hurts us in private. You carry around every piece of judgement you experience throughout your entire life. It weighs you down, and becomes ingrained in your thought processes.
Then, as you venture out into the world as an adult, you find yourself in a society that is inherently negative, afraid of failure and envious of other peoples successes. Lockdowns have helped me step away from other peoples negativity and I am definitely happier than I was 18 months ago. But as lockdowns eased and my placement went back to normal, I become surrounded by society again, and then negativity creeped back into my life.
It’s not just about exposing yourself to more positivity than negativity. But about responding less to negative people, letting go and changing your demeanour when you face someone who is in a negative frame of mind.
People will tell you all the time that you can’t or shouldn’t do something. They’ll tell you not to apply for that job, not to make that life changing decision, that you shouldn’t be working so hard. Few may do it out of concern for your welfare; wanting to ensure you don’t burnout or take on too much. However, the majority of people will say it because it’s not considered normal, or they fear your success highlighting their failure or insecurities.
Those comments will mix with your fears and often you’ll change your mind about committing to something. Or you’ll sit up all night questioning your decisions. You’ll end up in this loop of negative, toxic thoughts. I end up isolating myself as a way to cope with stress and negativity. I say I am coping and that I just need space from people; but since I’ve started feeling happier and more fulfilled in life, I have realised it just a way for me to deny that I am spiralling and in a negative headspace. Isolating myself, is a result of not setting boundaries, or how I cope with changing my plans or lifestyle to appease other people. I am trying to stop myself doing that, balancing saying yes to opportunities with saying no when it doesn’t align with my life.
Anyone who says you can change a lifetimes worth of mental conditioning is probably lying
Nothing will change overnight, and anyone who says you can change a lifetimes worth of mental conditioning is probably lying. Habits don’t change that quickly, though processes can’t turn off that fast. It’s always about awareness, its about preventing yourself spiralling and remembering that you are not your emotions, your emotions let you know how you feel about events so you can act accordingly.
There are many ways you can take negativity and use it differently. I have five ways I have started to change my mindset and I have really seen the change. It’s hard, to change years and years of conditioning but it’s working. Hopefully, they will help you too.
How I am changing my frame of mind in 5 simple steps:
1. Don’t take it personally
Peoples’ negativity towards other peoples life choices are usually stemmed from their own insecurities. They fear your successes, and fear their lack of give and go. Thats not something you have to take responsibility for, and so you should never take somebodies negativity personally. Use it as another view point, allowing you to assess a decision from all angles; but trust your instincts.
2. Stop responding to negativity straight away
I know when I receive a negative or stress related email that I want to immediately reply to justify or fight for myself. I’ve found this very rarely leads to positive results and usually that negativity sticks with me longer and becomes personal when I probably isn’t mean’t that way.
Next time you get a negative message, you need to take a deep breath and then take five minutes away from it completely before you even think about responding. Responding to an email straight way will leave you sending negativity back in return. It becomes a viscous cycle of negativity and nothing gets resolved.
3. Don’t spread negativity to others and avoid collecting someone else’s negativity
The worst thing you can do is take on someone else’s negativity, or get rid of your own by giving it to someone else. It’s unfair both to everyone else and more importantly to yourself. The important part is to note there is a difference between talking through your negativity and venting your negativity and concerns onto someone else. People will find them serve offloading instead of problem solving in order to be free of the feelings associated with negativity. You aren’t learning to deal with your negativity or finding coping mechanisms by making others around you feel rubbish too.
4. Take a moment a few times a day, to process the negativity in short bursts
Handling a mass of negativity all in one chunk is much harder than dealing with it in small doses. I find that if I take time to deal with small amounts of negativity multiple times of day easier then dealing with negativity after it has become so encompassing that I can’t concentrate on anything else. You can do anything you need, meditate, go for a walk or run, even bake bread. I find that making a cup of tea is a good method of thought for me. It is pretty much muscle memory for me, so I can use the time to think, process and importantly, let go.
5. Don’t avoid negativity, respond to it differently
Don’t be put off by negativity, use it. Make it into a motivator. Changing how you respond to that negativity, will change how you process it. It won’t make you negative, but make you more determined to succeed and be happy.
I refuse to let other peoples negativity define me, alter my decisons or be the reason I doubt myself. I use peoples negativity and a motivator. It makes me more and more determined to be successful and show every person who thought I couldn’t do this that they were wrong. Some days, its these thoughts the get me out of bed in the morning.