“It’s unhealthy for people to never express any kind of negativity or doubt. To have balance, you need to address that side of your thoughts as well as the positive. Otherwise, you tend toward crazy,” notes Shirley Manson. Do you agree with Shirley Manson? It’s certainly an interesting perspective. This is especially so when people tell you that to overcome negativity you have to remove yourself from people who are negative, who give off negative energy, and so forth. Of course, much of this is subjective. For example, what does it mean when you say that someone is negative?
At the same time, negativity is real and you do need to overcome it. Here are 3 simple ways to do so and here we’re talking about negative feedback and reactions from others.
#1 Overcome Negativity with Perspective
So, someone said something to you that you perceived to be negative. It stung. You’re tempted to cut ties with that person or minimize their influence in your life. However, before you do that, step back and gain perspective. Was there any truth in what he or she said? Did they do it from a place of care? Is that how they always behave or did something trigger it?
You see if you have the default position that everything that is not a positive statement about you is negativity, you will lose. You will lose the opportunity to learn about yourself and grow. You will lose the opportunity to deepen relationships with people who critique you from a place of love. Instead, you will find yourself living in a narrow echo chamber that feels good but is not real–a “false positive”. Yes. Negativity is real but it is an invitation.
#2 Overcome Negativity with an Invitation
This is a two-fold invitation after you have gained perspective. First, it is an invitation to yourself to change what needs to be changed—attitude, actions, speech. No one is perfect and God continually sends opportunities for us to correct what is wrong in our lives. Aren’t you glad about that?
In addition, overcome negativity with an invitation to the person you perceive to be negative. Find out why they have spoken or acted in a particular way toward you. Was it something that you had done or said? Did they misunderstand? Is there a line of communication that needs to be cleared up and/or restored? Regardless, love.
#3 Overcome Negativity with Love
You are called to love and it’s important to remember this. The truth is, some people are going to be negative toward you for no apparent reason and there will be nothing you can do about it. You will not be able to communicate with them about it. Love them. You may want to cut off communication with them. However, what if God wants you to stay in their lives to share God’s love and bring glory to God? Take a look at these Scripture verses:
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. No, “if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good (Romans 12:14, 20–21).
Indeed, you can’t always control negativity that comes at you. However, you can maintain control over how you deal with it and overcome negativity by gaining perspective, accepting the invitation to go further, and loving. You don’t have to live in a false positive to be joyful. Rejoice.
In the next blog post we’ll conclude this month’s series on overcoming in everyday life so that you get closer to God and gain a deeper understanding of who God is to live with confidence. In the first in this series we looked at overcoming overwhelm. In the last blog post we discussed ways of overcoming stress. Look out for our next blog post where we’ll look at dealing with loss.
Get closer to God and gain a deeper understanding of who God is.
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