The world revolves around the concept of duality and balance. Newton wrote in his third Law which states that “for every force in nature, there exists an equal and opposite force.” This is seen in our everyday lives; we have man and woman; light and darkness; sunshine and rain; work and rest; birth and death; even Positivity and Negativity. For the most part, “life thrives” when each half of a duality reinforces the other (e.g. the relationship between man and woman). However, with some phenomena, the benefits are only seen when one part is weakened. This is the case with Negativity.
The Cambridge dictionary defines negativity as “a pessimistic attitude that is not hopeful or enthusiastic.” It is a tendency to be downbeat, disagreeable and skeptical. Negativity occurs as a result of negative thinking, primarily as a way to avoid dealing with disappointment. A person afflicted with negativity finds it difficult to see good in any situation and always expects the worst. They process their thoughts through a dark filter and have the propensity to see the glass as half empty instead of half full. When a negative person speaks, he or she uses words that are more often than not disparaging; makes statements that are heavily slanted towards criticism and uses a tone of voice that come across as condescending. Giving off that negative energy will ostracize you from other people and you could start getting described as a “naysayer” or “kill joy”.
Negativity can also be inflicted on self by sabotaging your possibilities and blessings through self-deprecating thoughts. For example, you get a new opportunity and before you even start the job you start telling yourself “I am not good enough”, “I don’t have the right skills and will not succeed”, “my boss is from a different tribe and will treat me badly. If left unchecked, the self-negativity will begin to occur more regularly; eventually becoming a mental stronghold and holding your heart in bondage to pessimism. The bible also warns about this in Proverbs 23:7 which says “As a man thinks in his heart, so he is”. When negativity takes root in your heart like this, it can also lead to persistent self-doubt and depression.
The ability to successfully limit and ultimately eliminate negativity starts with understanding how it sneaked into your life in the first place. Contrary to popular belief, it is not an ingrained disposition or something you were born with. It is generally triggered by an external influence such as, being overly self-critical, inherent fears, traumatic experiences, attributes picked up due to your upbringing and even addiction. Armed with this knowledge, there are a few practical and spiritual methods you can employ to move towards a positive life.
If you find that you have pessimistic thoughts nagging you throughout your day, you can try getting a change of scenery by taking a walk or grabbing a drink or treating yourself. Seeing something new can help you shake off the negative feelings and inspire new thinking. If you are unable to go outside, you can go to another room; literally passing through a doorway can stop negative thoughts because we get the feeling that we are leaving the place of negativity behind. You can also exercise – physical activity gets the blood pumping and helps to refocus your mindset towards more positive thinking.
You can also push towards a more positive life by practicing Negativity Fasting. This involves intentionally starving the mind of negative material and your mouth from negative utterance to force positivity as described in Proverbs 26:20 whish says “For lack of wood the fire goes out, and where there is no whisperer, quarreling ceases”. To get results, you will need to fast for a minimum of 1 week whilst using the following techniques (suggested by bulletproof.com) listed below to realign your thoughts to positivity
- Cut out sources of negativity such as news or social media,
- Think about what you are thinking about. Watch out for any negative thought loops and interrupt these thoughts with positive self-talk. For example, if you make a mistake, instead of chastising yourself; ask yourself how you can do better next time. Make it a point to do it consciously until it becomes like breathing.
- You can also be pro-active by using positive affirmations daily. Start by reminding yourself that you were born powerful, full of love and rationality and no fear. Write down your declarations: “I am valuable”, “I love the people I work with”, “I will make positive contributions today” Then go through these words on a daily basis.
- Focus on rewiring your heart and mind for gratitude: Intentionally seek out opportunities to be thankful in every situation. As you practice this, you will find yourself becoming more resilient in difficult times and a more positive person
If you feel you cannot do it on your own or maybe your negativity stems from trauma or addiction; you should consider seeing a psychotherapist or attend counseling sessions. Discussing your problems in a safe group with other trauma survivors or a trained psychologist will get you on the road to healing and handling negative situations. Ultimately, it will bring renewed hope, the consequence of which is a more positive attitude.
While all these are some great practical steps; as a believer, the best way to maintain positivity in your life is to know who you are in Christ and believe only what God says and thinks of you. God’s love for you is unconditional and eternal, and He sacrificed His son, our Lord Jesus Christ, to restore His relationship with you. Despite all the pain and hurt He must’ve been feeling at the time, He considered you so valuable that He even called the sacrifice of Jesus a “sweet fragrance” (Eph5:2 AMP). Spend time meditating and internalizing the truth of God’s love until you see you the way He sees you.
Written by Ndubuisi Onodugo