"You know what I really can't stand around here? All these people complaining all the time. Get over it! You'd think they had nothing better to do with their time but sit around, whining and complaining. I mean, really. Could they be any more negative?"
If you've spent any time on Facebook lately you've likely noticed two trends.
- People posting photos with snarky or funny (depending on your perspective) text about one candidate or the other, or articles slamming one candidate or the other.
- People posting complaints about how negative the campaigning has become.
Quite often, the people engaged in these activities are the same.
And it's not just the political campaign that has people's switch flipped to negative....
Why so negative?
Negativity is contagious. A study in 2007 demonstrated that negative feelings about products are more readily transmitted amongst consumers than are positive ones.
Take a look at Amazon feedback for any product and focus on the one-star reviews. Most of these aren't geared toward helping the product improve, they're just there to bash the product and prevent further sales, or to make the review's author feel vindicated.
And yes, I've written a one-star review myself.
Negativity is a bit like bullying. By pulling someone else down, it gives the illusion of pulling ourselves up. But really, it just mires us deeper in the dark feelings and doesn't directly injure the other at all.
So what can you do, faced with so much negativity in your daily life?
- Avoid criticism. Don't confuse criticism and critique. Critique is negative input given before a decision is made; criticism is negative input given after a decision has been made.
- Maintain a servant's heart.
- Practice active osmosis. Look for opportunities to absorb the positive that's all around you. And when you do, share it freely. That helps stoke the fire in your soul.
- Be young at heart. Remember how life looked when you were a child. Don't be a grumpy old man.
- Don't gossip. You don't know the whole story, so why bother passing any of it along? Do you really want to tie yourself to that tale in the mind of the listener should it turn out false?
- Smile. As the body goes, so goes the mind.
- Feed your mind and soul with care. Turn off the news. Unsubscribe from your more negative Facebook friends. Watch a comedy. Especially a classic one!
- Surround yourself with positive people.
- Examine it! When you find a negative thought coming back to you repeatedly, write it down and look at it. Does it hold up in print? Does it deserve your attention? If it does, then deal with it head on and with as much positivity as you can muster.
Your turn: How can you combat the negative influences in your life? Leave a comment and join the discussion!