Whether you have a blog, a YouTube channel or just engage in general social interactions, chances are you have come across some form of “negativity” at some point. Negativity can show its face in many different ways; it can be in the form of comments on Instagram, it can be in the form of exclusion in a group setting or it can simply channel from something even scarier: our thoughts. Everyday I get to work with clients helping them explore how they can with a magical process called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) work on exuding more positivity in their lives. Well if I’m assisting clients with it I must be pro at it right? Well wrong, unfortunately this isn’t the case. Okay let’s back track for those who got stuck scratching their heads at CBT- so what exactly is CBT? The therapeutic intervention works on building awareness around our thoughts and how they can impact how one feels and acts in a situation. Let me give you something to think about here; you are walking through a crowded mall when you happen to spot one of your really old friends in the distance, you raise your hand attempting to wave, they seem to glance your way but continue to keep walking, “Holy that was rude!”, “Omg I wonder if she’s mad at me?”, “Wow how could she? That’s what I get for being nice” might be some of the thoughts that immediately flood my mind. These thoughts have now left me feeling confused, annoyed, and perhaps slightly disrespected. That’s the power of my thoughts, they have the power to have me smiling after something has happened but also the power to take that smile away. So people ask me my experience with negativity; well I’m here to tell you I’ve had my own journey and it’s been mostly internal. My negativity stemmed from within which resulted in negativity in my external world. I’m here to speak not as a blogger but rather as an individual who caused negativity to surround their world at one point. I gave permission and space to my unhelpful thoughts which channeled into friendships, my work and just my life in general. Managing a work day was tough because my thoughts were telling me “you can’t do this”. Managing that so called dating life was tough because my thoughts were telling me “nothing is working out for you”. Managing my mood was tough because my thoughts were telling me “you need to be doing more”. Sometimes things do need to fall in place in our external world so that our internal world is at peace but I have learned to question this. Why do I give my external world so much power over how I feel? I have a job= I must be successful. I have a boyfriend= I must be doing something right. I have a large group of friends = I must be well liked. I learned that you could have everything in the world and still feel you are lacking in so many ways internally. Somehow when I realized this I was able to also realize that I have the power to let things affect me more than they should. So what’s my “survival tip” when it comes to negativity you might ask? Well it’s simple (and yet the hardest things to do); perspective taking. Thinking about situations in more ways than one, giving someone else the benefit of the doubt; once I learn I am not doing it for you but rather for myself it becomes much easier. So lets roll back to that situation at the mall with my “rude friend” and do some perspective taking; “maybe she didn’t actually see me”, “I haven’t seen her in a long time so maybe she didn’t realize it was me”, “perhaps she was distracted”. Somehow without changing the situation I have managed to make myself feel better just by thinking about the situation in a different way.
My goal through this post is to help you understand your power; the power you have over how you feel. So take a moment to reflect how you handle negativity around you; do you channel it into your own thoughts or do you take it and use it as motivation? I leave you with something I tell most people I see; I can’t control you but I can control me. I can’t change you but I can change the way I think about this. And lastly I may not be able to change my external world but I know I have the power over my internal one.
I took the opportunity to open this conversation up to some of my Insta Fam; I wanted to know what others do to manage any negativity in their life. It’s a reality that we can all learn to manage. Here’s what they had to say:
“Talk to people who will infuse positivity in you, people you know who have your best interest at heart no matter what. People who are not afraid to push back on you to steer you in the right direction. If you are leaning on being negative about a situation, talk to someone who will bring in that wave of positive vibes to bring the balance back for you mentally, so you can go back to being level headed and act out in a manner that is true to the person you are today, which you worked so hard to become.“- Mannat (Marketer, Professor, Designer)
“Noticed people I thought were my friends are my biggest haters. Especially since many of them didn’t know I could see how they responded to my polls. And when I asked how I could improve my work or what it was that made them choose the “negative” answer in my poll, they would tell me that it was a joke, or they did it by mistake . I’m all for constructive criticism. That’s how one gets better. Also, people that actually support me would send me a DM right away letting me know they clicked the wrong button. Now that’s love lol. I’ve come to terms with it now, but at the beginning it sucked. This is my passion and I love make up. I know if I just stick with it, I will find others with the same or similar passions. People who resonate with me more than these people I thought were my friends. Surviving the negativity: This is my passion. I do it for me. And even if one person finds it useful it’s worth it!“- Rav (Antisocial Extrovert)
“I always tell myself that I can rise above the negative situation I am in. I can be better than what’s going on around me and be the bigger person. Keeping my head up and moving forward has always worked for me!“- Aanchal (Nurse, Business Woman, Super Mom)
“Be patient and rational, and don’t sweat the small stuff”- Tanvir (Engineer, Trendsetter)
“I like rap/hip hop lyrics “I don’t f*ck with you”…”B*tch don’t kill my vibe””- Rupinder (The Realist)
“Usually talk to my family and friends…they uplift me””- Kimi
(Wife, Mama, Feminist, Writer)