To overcome negativity, the best place to start is with yourself. While many people wouldn’t describe themselves as being negative, it’s surprising how others would. You may have more negative characteristics than you care to admit. But, you can replace those characteristics with ones that will make you more positive. Learn how to assess yourself for negativity and overcome your negativity. Then, you’ll be better at overcoming negativity in others.
We View Ourselves Differently
We don’t typically view ourselves the way other people view us. These views can go in a positive or negative direction. People with inadequate self-worth view themselves worse than others view them and people with too much self-esteem or pride view themselves better than the way other people see them. So, whose view is correct?
There is no definitive answer. The best solution is we should be transparent and continuously strive to be the best version of ourselves no matter what. When you are transparent, you are your true self regardless of who you are with. Remember, you can’t make anyone like you. Doing that will make you negative since your true self will be absent. Be truthful unto yourself and others. Then, let people decide whether they like you. Allowing people to choose whether they like you helps you work on being the best version of yourself since you implement your core values with people even if they don’t like you. You give trust, honor, respect, and truth to them and yourself.
When People Don’t Like Themselves They Have no Peace
No one likes everyone. However, even if you don’t like someone, you can still love that person by being kind, patient, and respectful towards him/her. Some people don’t even like or love themselves. Anyone would rarely admit that, but their behaviors tell a different story. People who don’t like or love themselves lack the necessary characteristics that make them happy. These people are negative. They have an absence of inner peace, which prevents them from having outer peace with others. Strife overtakes their peace. And, “Where there is strife there is pride….” (Proverbs 13:10)
Pride and Strife = Negativity
There is nothing good about pride. God hates it. (Proverbs 6:16-19) And we are warned about pride’s outcomes. “Pride goes before destruction.” (Proverbs 16:18) Why, then, do so many of us wear a suit of pride?
A collective group of lions is a pride, so named because we view them as regal and promote them as superior in their jungle society. When we suffer from pride, we have a regal attitude and elevate ourselves. We develop this kind of pride when raised without believing we are acceptable, valuable, and loveable. And this usually happens when there is too much strife in the home.
When raised in an environment of strife, our emotional and sometimes physical needs go unmet. We learn to focus on getting what we want and become competitive. Since our needs are absent, we go with what we know – our instincts. We become more accustomed to fear, anger, contempt, shame, and guilt than joy, peace, love, freedom, satisfaction, and contentment. This absence of needs creates a vacuum that nature must fill. So, we fill that void with natural ways that keep us on top of all situations and ensure our existence. We create pride.
Characteristics of Pride
To overcome the negativity associated with pride, you must be aware of its characteristics. The following list includes attitudes and behaviors common to people who suffer from pride.
Other Negative Traits
Apart from pride, negative people also share the following traits:
You don’t have to exhibit all the listed traits to be negative. Depending on the day, you may have more or less. You might have some that aren’t on these lists.
To Overcome Negativity, Counter Your Nature
Remember, negative attitudes and behaviors are indigenous to our nature. Paul tells us in Galatians 5:19-20 that we live with strife and pride when we live in our “sin nature.”
To overcome negativity, you must overpower your nature. Authority, commitment, and determination are required to accomplish this. Believe it or not, you have these. God gave you authority by giving you a thinking brain. And commitment and determination are part of your DNA. But, you have to admit you have these attributes and practice them to accomplish the task.
If you feel your commitment and determination are weak, you’ll have to build up their strength. Convince yourself that you are committed and determined by giving them attention and importance. An easy way to do this is by talking about them. Use “committed” and “determined” in your vocabulary. An example is, “I am determined to make this the best day possible!” “I am committed to my family.” (Side note: This might sound weird since these words aren’t used much in our everyday talk.) It won’t take long before you develop a true belief about being commited and determined.
Commitment and determination are crucial for overcoming your nature because when you counter your sin nature, you fight against yourself. Your subconscious mind will view your conscious acts as antagonists and sound the alarm. You’ll feel resistance and a strong pull back to how you were born (your nature). You’ll arouse your survival emotions and the creative ways (negative traits) you perpetuate them. War will be declared between your conscious and subconscious minds.
Take heart! You are smarter than your emotions. The key to success is to use your conscious mind to overcome and correct the bad information in your subconscious mind. You must be proactive. Activate the reasoning, knowledge, and awareness of your conscious mind to have authority over your nature (your subconscious). You gain this authority by:
Practicing new attitudes and behaviors
Thinking on purpose allows you to pay attention, gather information, decide what you want to practice, and assess your success. So, get in the habit of taking a minute to stop and think before acting.
Conscious awareness of your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors will help you overcome your negativity. Here are the steps to make that happen.
Step One: Pay Attention
- The first step to overcome negativity is to recognize how negative you are. Pay attention to yourself. Identify what you say, do, and think that makes you feel bad and be negative. Use the lists above as guides.
You may find one, a few, or many ways you talk, behave, or think that make you feel negative. You can write them down if you choose.
We form bad habits by practicing certain attitudes and behaviors through how we talk and what we do. When you pay attention to yourself, you’ll recognize your bad habits. To make a successful change, you must have a goal. Therefore, you must identify a replacement for your bad habit.
Step Two: Identify Positivity and Its Outcomes
2. Identify what positivity would be like for you.
You must understand positivity. Be realistic and know we all have bad days. No one is perfectly positive. But, bad days for positive people aren’t as bad as bad days for negative folks.
Sometimes people only imagine what it’s like to be positive. Imagination is good, but expectation leads to positivity. Imagination can lead to unrealistic expectations, which lead to disappointment. The following list gives you information about positive characteristics that lead to happiness. Positive people:
a) What you think your life would look like if you were more positive.
b) How would it affect you, your family, your friends, and your coworkers?
[CAUTION: You must be especially attentive to yourself during this step. Your “old self” will sense its days are numbered and will resist. It will oppose your “new self.” Therefore, it’s common to have intrusive thoughts during this phase. You may think, “That’ll never happen,” “This won’t work,” “This is stupid,” or “I don’t want to do this.” Overcome these obstacles by thinking purposefully – use your reasoning, knowledge, and awareness. Challenge oppositional thoughts by asking yourself, “What evidence do I have that this is true?” or “What’s the worst that can happen if I (ex. forgive)?”]
Pay Attention to Yourself
As you consider your life and the effects of being more positive, be aware of how you feel. If any doubts creep in, think where these doubts originated. Common sources for this kind of negativity is your family of origin and other important people, especially in your young life. Negativity is contagious. Therefore, you can easily catch it from your parents and other influential people, including friends who bring out the worst in you, adults who criticize and judge you, or spouses with issues.
Parents are primary sources of negativity and positivity. Even if your parents tried to be positive, you will pick up on their deficiencies and catch that negativity. You may end up with negative beliefs about yourself, such as you aren’t good enough, aren’t important, and aren’t loveable. These beliefs will play out in your daily life, and you will be at odds with yourself. Then, like your parents, you will spend most of your time trying to be positive.
You Already Have a Positive Start
If your parents were negative, don’t get stuck there. Remember, your parents had their reasons. But, now it’s your turn. No matter how negative your parents were, they thought you were acceptable, valuable, and loveable enough to see you through – your mom gave birth to you. Even if that’s all you got, the fact that you are here is a positive start.
The Ultimate Positive Goal
God gave us free will so we can choose what to believe and how to be. Like everyone on this planet, you are supposed to be happy, which is mutually supportive with positivity. Keep the ultimate goal in mind. Our bodies will die, but our spirits remain alive. Our existence now is our opportunity to prepare for eternal positivity or eternal negativity, meaning eternal life with God or an eternity of nothingness. You already have a positive jump by being here. Now, you can choose your direction and how to be.
Step 3: Identify What You Must Change to be Positive
3. To recognize what you must change to be more positive, you must be consciously aware of yourself.
Do this by paying attention to yourself. Pay attention to:
- How you talk, especially the words you use.
- Do you use foul language or bad words?
- Do you use a lot of n’ts, e.g., don’t, won’t, can’t, shouldn’t?
- Do you use tear down words, e.g., stupid, hate, worst, never?
- What your first thoughts are upon awakening.
- Your true thoughts when people tell you good things that happen to them. (Don’t justify this by saying it depends on who it is.)
Assess where, when, and why you are mostly negative.
Step Four: Determine Your Willingness
4. Change is difficult. Correcting bad habits is more difficult, especially if they’ve prevented you from getting hurt and allowed you to survive cruelty. They’re like life preservers. So, why would anyone in his/her right mind give them up?
Negative attitudes and behaviors might keep you afloat, but they don’t allow you to enjoy the cruise. Think of this change like being in the ocean wearing a life-vest. If I asked you to remove the life-preserver because a cruise ship will come to pick you up in one minute, how willing would you be to remove the life-vest? How trusting are you?
How much do You Trust?
Willingness comes from trust. Would you trust me, the captain of the ship, and yourself enough to let go of your life-preserver?
Check your willingness to do what you must to achieve the positivity and happiness you want. On a scale of 0-10, with 0 being unwilling and 10 being absolutely willing to do what you must do to overcome your negativity, rate your willingness.
If you rated it 7 or less, you must check your motivation. Ask yourself what prevents it from being an 8?
If the answer is fear, you’ll have to figure out why and what scares you about being positive and happy. Ask yourself, “What is the worst that can happen if I change to be a positive person?”
If the answer is that you don’t know, it’s probably a fear of the unknown. When you’ve lived a certain way for a long time, it becomes predictable, and you feel more secure no matter how miserable it is. New territory can be scary. Imagine if Christopher Columbus, Lewis and Clark, the Pilgrims, or your immigrant ancestors felt that way. You can always turn back if you don’t like being positive. Think of it this way, if these people had the courage to do what they did, you can certainly explore the way to positivity.
Fear of Change
Sometimes people fear their change will change who they are and they won’t love their spouses, loved ones, or friends anymore. Changing your attitude and behaviors does not change who you are. It just makes you better at being you.
It’s so easy to stay in your nature (survival mode) you can easily talk yourself out of wanting to be positive and convince yourself that your negative attributes define who you are. Many people want to be positive and happy but have practiced negative thoughts and actions so long they’ve become negativity experts. Negative people must learn how to accept goodness and happiness and learn to be at ease with positivity. You can supplement your acceptance of goodness, joy, and positivity by reviewing posts on blessedbu.com, reading the Bible, and observing people you view as positive.
Step Five: Commit to Being Positive and Pick a Negative Habit to Change
5. After you’ve committed to being more positive, pick a negative habit you want to change. Set yourself up for success by choosing a habit that isn’t too serious or difficult. For example, stopping the use of sarcasm, putting yourself in other people’s shoes to promote empathy, or learning how to apologize will be less demanding than learning how not to worry.
Use your conscious awareness to implement the change. Let’s say you want to stop using bad language. Note the word you want to change. Say, it’s a swear word. When you talk, be aware and listen to yourself. Apologize if you slip. Then, practice using the new word. You’ll find once you’ve apologized you will remember more easily to use the good word. This lesson also helps you become more at ease with apologizing.
Another example is changing your use of n’t words. Instead of saying what you don’t want or don’t know, talk in the affirmative and say what you do want and you do know. You can even say it as an expression to affirm someone else. For example if someone says to you, “It’s really cold outside.” Your reply, “I know!”
If you don’t know how to make the change, get help by researching, observing others, reading posts and tips here at blessedbu.com, or emailing me. You may consider seeking support from a trusted friend or therapist. (A way to learn how to ask for help – yay!)
Step Six: Evaluate the Outcome
6. Change is awkward at first. The more you stick with the change, the better you and others adapt to it. For change to be successful, you must evaluate the results. For change to stick, you must persist.
Change is difficult for the person making the change and uncomfortable for those around him/her. Be determined to stay your course. Some years ago, when my son was deployed to Iraq, I wrote him several letters. I ended each one with the confident commandment, “Stay strong, stay steady.” That simple decree so inspired him that he’s incorporated it into his personal value system.
How Other People React to Change
When you change, even if it’s for good, people may not react well. While you chose to make a change, you imposed a change on others. No one likes the imposition of change. It forces them to do or think differently. Even though you aren’t forcing people to do anything, your transformation will cause people to view you differently. Then, they must figure out how to respond. Your change takes them out of their predictable comfort zone. People like predictability and may resist your good change. Stay strong, stay steady despite any resistance or negative feedback. They will eventually come around. If they don’t, you’ll be positive enough to overcome their negativity.
Read my next post with more on how to overcome other people’s negativity.
Step Seven: Repeat and Practice
7. Once you experience good outcomes, you will be more accustomed to goodness, happiness, and positivity. Soon you’ll want more. This is an excellent place because it motivates you to keep being a better version of yourself and you’ll inspire others to do the same.
It’s important to keep practicing your positivity because the enemy will work hard to take you down. Maintain your positivity so you have a good reserve to draw from when there is excess stress in your life.
Give yourself credit for changing. Be proud of yourself for your accomplishments and enjoy feeling good about your positive change. You’ll find you experience more joy, peace, love, freedom, satisfaction, and contentment. You’ll be happier!
Overcome Negativity: Part 2 Overcoming Your Negativity