Negative Splits (Or, How to ‘Split’ from Negativity)

This has nothing to do with running and everything to do with a personal challenge.

Like almost everyone I know, I much prefer to be happy. And like almost everyone I know, I know some people who just don’t seem to get there. And it bothers me. Negativity around me tends to make me feel more negative myself! I do not want to not see/talk to/interact with my negative people, but I also do not want to go through each conversation getting an ulcer. I tend to let people’s moods affect me more than I should (which is why it’s so awesome to hang out with JM – she’s such a good influence on my moods).

So – from7 Ways to Deal with the Negative People in your life (I picked the ones that meant the most to me) from  selfgrowth.com

Let the Negativity Pass
Whatever you do, do not argue with a negative person. Arguing only adds fuel to the fire. A negative person will feed off any negativity that will strengthen his mood or attitude. I have noticed when [people] are in a crabby mood, it is best to avoid trying to convince them to analyze and adjust their attitude. As soon as I take the approach of being in opposition with them, they seize the opportunity to prove to me that life stinks. Their negativity intensifies and the situation gets worse before it gets better. Sometimes the best thing to do is remain silent and let the negativity pass.

Focus on the Positive
If you try really hard, there is always something positive to be found in any situation. Pretend you are on a treasure hunt and search for any gold or jewels you can emphasize. Even a negative person has positive qualities. When a person is drowning in negativity, it can be difficult for them to see the positive. So often [people] focus on the negative aspects of themselves. They forget about all the great things they are doing. I admit that sometimes a negative person doesn’t want to see the positive. This might require her to shift her outlook. Negativity can become a habit and habits are hard to break. Be patient and gently remind your grumpy friend or family member to look for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Hopefully, in her down time, she will begin to reflect on what you have said.

Ask Negative People to Elaborate
You may hear a negative person say things like: “Women are fickle.” “You can’t trust doctors.” “My husband makes me miserable.” These kinds of statements are a type of cognitive distortion referred to as generalizations. To help a person sort through her distorted thinking, ask for more specifics. Questions like “Which women are fickle?” or “What specifically about your husband is making you miserable?” forces a person to evaluate what he or she is really trying to say. A negative person will either give up because it takes too much effort to explain himself, or he or she will get to the bottom of the issue.

Keep Your Own Negative Thoughts and Behaviors in Check
If you do nothing else but focus on managing your own negative thoughts and behavior, you will come a long way towards remaining positive. A negative attitude is contagious, but a positive attitude is infectious as well. Hang out with positive people that encourage you to be your best self. Use positive affirmations to overcome negative self-talk. Express your gratitude for all the positive things in your life. Take the time everyday to watch all the beautiful things going on around you. Read inspirational material and listen to joyful music. Take care of yourself spiritually. Do whatever you have to do to remain positive and happy despite the negativity you face. The world will be a better place because of you and your attitude. And you never know, you just might help a negative person make a change to a better way of living.

What do you think, especially in regards to the last point? How do you keep your negative thoughts & behaviors in check? (Ha – I noticed that Michelle at Raw Cool blogged something similar today, too!)

18 responses to “Negative Splits (Or, How to ‘Split’ from Negativity)

  1. i too have to struggle to remain positive some days. it’s easy to let the negatives overcome you. especially lately, i have had a lot of measured failures since my missed marathon. work projects, everything goes wrong. but we have to keep smiling, keep that chin up and do the best we can.

    i have noticed if i go to the boss all pissed off about something he tends to get pissed at me. but if i’m really happy and positive about what we learned from a failure he tends to look at the next step instead of dwelling on one problem. so when you stay positive everyone around you tends to stay positive too!

    • I think that last bit is so true – our attitudes can influence others so much, so if we make an effort to stay positive, then others will be more so as well.

  2. I agree JM is a totally rockin positive chica!

    I’d say I’m relatively positive except about the weather (sorry) and the Twilight movie (but you didn’t give that one raving reviews either =)).

    Hope this post wasn’t directed at me.

    • Definitely not specifically directed at anyone. More directed at me & everyone who wants to take it to heart. So many people/things say “just eliminate the negative people in your life” (I’m guessing ‘eliminate’ by not associating with them anymore, not ‘eliminate’ in a mafia kind of way) but sometimes you don’t want to end those relationships, just learn to deal better to not let the negativity affect you. so this post wasn’t ‘directed’ at anyone, just a reminder to me & whoever wants it that there are ways of letting others’ negativity slide off….

  3. This post SO hits home! I am the same way…I just can’t stand negativity and constant whining from people, especially when I try to be positive/supportive only for them to bypass any suggestions or help I offer. I just usually take the leave-them-alone route. Great tips, thanks for sharing!!

    Yay for happy, positive peeps like us! 🙂

  4. Oh – you’re so sweet! Right now I’m not feeling super positive because none of my teams are winning. . . and North Carolina is going to beat Michigan State. . . which means no new shoes for Sarah! haha. Oh well – maybe I’ll just buy them with my own money.

    BTW- I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you guys saying I’m positive. It’s a huge mental adjustment for me over the last year. . .

    • Did you used to NOT be positive? Did you work consciously to change that? If so, how?

      I’m sorry that your team didn’t win – but it was your first year, so maybe next year, when you have more experience, you’ll win the whole thing!

      Or maybe it’s just a message from on high that noone needs two pairs of clogs 🙂

  5. good advice! i try to stay positive, although i am often affected by the negativity of others. it can be hard, but we all have to try.
    (oh, and thanks for the re-comment on my blog!)

    • I am working to not let negative people affect me as much, because it tends to make me negative (and then I bitch about the negativity of others, which must be REALLY refreshing).

      I guess it’s better to try to be positive than to just give up.

  6. Very good! I can’t stand negative people who constantly rain on my parade either. It’s one of the most annoying things ever. Can’t you just tell them to shut up though? That’s what I do. I don’t have many friends though.

    • I think I’d like to keep all my assorted friends, so I’m working on another strategy besides the ‘shut-up’ strategy 🙂 I’ll let you know how it goes.

  7. Guilty! I am guilty of negativity a lot lately. I HATE

  8. (whoops, acidentally submitted)

    …I HATE when I am like that. I try to remember that we CHOOSE our attitudes and I can choose to be grumpy/negative or I can choose to be positive. Sometimes it’s just hard to choose to be happy.

    Thanks for posting this. It really hits home for me.

    • I think you’ve hit the nail on the head:
      “we CHOOSE our attitudes and I can choose to be grumpy/negative or I can choose to be positive. ”

      I am trying to remember myself when I start to feel negative that I can interrupt that train of thought & go in a better direction.

  9. As I come to know myself better, negative nellies are easier to spot and somehow, their negativity doesn’t get to me (I realize it’s about them).

    Good post!

  10. Great post, Gazelle. Here’s a conundrum I find myself in: I get negative about negative people! Kinda counter-productive, huh?

  11. Great tips. Positivity starts from inside. It sure isn’t easy as it sounds.