Negativity pulls us down like a ten-ton weight. It leeches our ability to be grateful, seek abundance, find passion, and be happy; all the while, it serves to hold us in a state of blame, creates a victim mentality, and stunts our emotional growth. Generally, it's a whole lot of bad news. I've gone through quite the gamut that negativity has to offer, and spent far too many of my precious years living hand-in-hand with it. I may not have it licked quite yet, but I'm miles further ahead from where I was. And the good news? If I can do it, then so can you!
Now, it wasn't simply a snap of the fingers or the wave of a wand that changed my way of thinking -- that would be too easy, and we know that the best changes in our lives seldom come from ease. No, it has been a steady work in progress on myself, my beliefs, my emotions, and my responses. It's a pretty big deal to shift away from a negative mindset, so it requires some deep-digging and introspection. Along my journey, I've learned a few things, and kept track of many of the shifts I've made. I'll share them with you, in the hopes that some of my own personal insight may inspire or assist you along your own journey towards positivity:
Toward vs. Away thinking
Pretty much what I alluded to in the last sentence above -- I chose to move towards positivity instead of away from negativity. Our motivation to accomplish any goal we set is enhanced greatly by moving toward our desired result, rather than away from what we do not want. When we're moving away, we're avoiding something; we stay closer to the negative mindset because we're focusing on the negativity -- even if we're attempting to move away from it. Conversely, when we concentrate on moving towards a more positive state-of-mind, that new mindset becomes our focus, and pulls us forward. There is no room for fear, avoidance, or guilt when we're moving towards something.
Negativity relies on us -- so choose to let it go
When I came to the realization that I was the one giving life and energy to my negativity, it became rather clear what I had to do. No one can make us feel/think/act/do anything, and when I claimed responsibility over that, letting go of my anger, frustration, and general negativity was much easier. We hold onto grudges and annoyances we have with our parents, siblings, friends, and significant others, and they turn toxic over time. The key to this is the first three words in the last sentence: 'We hold onto'. We choose to be angry, annoyed, hurt, frustrated, and spiteful. Not to say that others aren't responsible for their words and actions, but we are the ones responsible for what we think, feel and do. Practicing forgiveness has truly been a way to remove my self-imposed burden of negativity. Also, learning to better communicate to others how their words or actions affect me has been crucial in allowing myself to let go; instead of internalizing negativity or misconstruing intent, I recognize a situation, deal with it, and move on. When we clear out all the space inside of us reserved for negativity, there is so much room for beautiful and amazing things.
Establish positive boundaries
Thankfully, I've not had to cut anyone out of my life as a result of my mindset shift. I have definitely created boundaries for myself with those who tend to gravitate towards the negative end of the spectrum, however. Complaining about, criticizing, and bemoaning others are areas of conversation I no longer willingly engage in. I'll either attempt to change the subject, or politely remove myself from the interaction. Negativity loves company, and has a power to bring people together in a very toxic way. I'm mindful of this, and choose to step away from the black hole before it grabs me and sucks me down into it. I don't tell others how to think or speak -- I simply make clear the circumstances under which I'm willing to converse.
The last shift I'll share is probably the easiest -- and the one I'd suggest anyone looking to make this kind of mental move start with. It's very easy for us to come up with a negative thought, comment, or even belief. I know, because I had many. In building towards accepting negativity, but choosing positivity, I challenged myself to think of at least one positive for every negative. I didn't punish myself for having a negative reaction, understanding it had become habit, and therefore relatively automatic. In order to interrupt my pattern, observing positivity helped me to become aware of how frequently I was negative, and served to build an awareness towards positivity. It may seem like a small shift, but it lays the groundwork for more powerful shifts along the way.
We all have the power to make radical and lasting changes in our lives. We're not slaves to our habits and ways of thinking -- even if it appears that way at times. Choosing to move towards positivity allows us to free the weight and burden of negativity from our lives; once unchained, we possess untold and unlimited potential!