Ever thought to yourself “This person is just too NEGATIVE for me to be around?”
Surprise! I think we ALL have at some point in our lives…
However, I feel it’s finally time we address the true definition of what being NEGATIVE really means.
Now, I know what you’re thinking, simply because this word has so casually been thrown around in so many of our conversations. ‘Negative’ people tend to just ‘dampen the mood. Why would I want to be around anybody of this nature?’
To make matters worse, we’re also bombarded with hundreds of thousands of people on social media all speaking about the same thing – ‘Protecting your energy from the so-called negative energy vampires.’
(Mind you, both CAN exist. However, I still think we need to polish our understandings of what these terms even mean).
I want to clarify what ‘negativity’ truly means for two important reasons: The first is that the language we use MATTERS and more importantly, the language we use about pain, suffering and struggle particularly matters. I’ve seen how it often contributes to creating communities of shame. People often feel reluctant to speak their truths out loud, for fear of simply just being labelled as ‘too negative.’ Emotions go unheard, pain goes unprocessed and mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression only fester, as we move away from true and sincere understandings of what each person is REALLY feeling at any particular point in time.
Secondly, I think it’s important to clarify because I’ve seen pain and sadness too often getting a bad rep. We try and avert our attention, interaction and conversation as far as possible AWAY from ‘negativity.’
The result? We miss out on the important skillset of learning how to navigate the unfamiliar and uncomfortable territory of pain, as well as again, developing meaningful connection with others.
So, with all this being said, let’s get right to the bottom of it.
Negativity is NOT feelings of sadness, fear, anxiety, uncertainty or just simply having a ‘bad day.’
We often label people who admit to these feelings as being ‘negative’ for a very understandable reason – it makes US uncomfortable hearing about their pain and hurt. I’ve noticed this quite often – how we sometimes force upbeat conversations, just to avoid the discomfort of having to witness people around us suffering.
In fact, I think it’s important we declare how NORMAL it is for us to experience sadness, anxiety, fear or having a bad day. It’s part of being human. It’s part of learning and growing into more of ourselves. When we avoid such feelings, we also inadvertently avoid our own growth.
The discomfort we experience in such moments is the breeding ground for profound inner awakenings and moving out of a place of stuckness to truly occur. When we ALLOW ourselves to experience the so called ‘negative’ moments, we make more space for the positive to enter into our lives.
So now that we know what negativity is NOT, what is it truly?
I believe that a more truthful interpretation of being ‘negative’ is a tendency to be downbeat, disagreeable, and sceptical. It’s a pessimistic attitude that always expects the worst. A truly ‘negative’ person is not simply just having a bad day. Rather, they tend to adopt a pessimistic attitude about many things in their life. Such people tend to be rather disagreeable and difficult to please. We always feel like we just never can seem to lift their moods or please them. From my own experience, I think we’ve all come across such a person in our lives.
It’s so important to make more space for pain. It’s also so important that we learn to see it clearly. This helps bridge the gap between so many misunderstandings which occur within relationships. As well as so many feelings of being unheard.
Now, think of the people in your life who are TRULY negative versus those who are just simply going through a rough patch. How can you strengthen such relationships and provide more of a caring, kind and empathetic ear to those having a bad day? What do they need from you at this particular point in time? What are YOU perhaps avoiding within yourself in labelling another as ‘negative?’ because it makes it easier for us to dodge the territory of pain?
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