“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” -John 1:5
Are You Positive?
It seems like every day we are surrounded by some kind of negativity. Whether it’s in the form of a mean comment on social media, the latest depressing news headline, or even someone in your life being a negative Nelly. So how do we stay positive? How do we combat the darkness that has almost become a cultural norm? Kill it with kindness. No, this does not mean you have to become Pollyanna. It just means you have to develop some coping strategies.
Being Aware of How It’s Affecting You
Ok, I’m not a therapist by any stretch of the imagination, but I have had experience with negativity and how it can affect you. The advice I’m going to talk about here is what I’ve used to help deal with it. That being said, the first thing you have to do when trying to cope with negativity is to identify it and to recognize how it is affecting you. Is it just a minor problem in your life? Or is it something that is causing you major amounts of stress? This is where you have to really be honest with yourself. How much is negativity affecting the way you live your life?
I know when I’m getting overwhelmed by all the negative energy that creeps into my life from outside sources it has a tendency to cause me to take it out on those around me. Which breaks my heart. This is when I know I have to take a step back and deal with it. Thank goodness I have some truly amazing people in my life who understand when I need some self-care.
Here are some strategies I use when the negativity is getting a little overwhelming.
- Pray (I know this seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t feel they can take small problems to God. I actually had a habit of praying before I became Christian and I can attest it does work.)
- Read Your Bible (Also a no-brainer, but sometimes we forget that the answers are right within arms reach.)
- Listen to music that inspires you and lifts your spirit. It has been said that music has the power to heal. My personal favorite is Lauren Daigle.
- Step away from social media. It’s always a good idea to take a self-imposed break from social media at the very least unfollow people or pages that have a tendency toward negativity.
- Never respond to negative posts with negativity. Think of it like a virus and you just got infected. The only answer is to not respond or to inoculate with the anti-virus, positivity.
- Take a day to yourself. Don’t answer the phone, don’t go on the internet, and don’t watch TV. Do something fun that makes you happy that you haven’t done in a while or spend the day with someone who always brings a smile to your face.
- Take at least one hour a day doing something that really brings you joy.
Sometimes it’s not just a temporary problem, it’s a pattern.
What do you do when you feel like you are constantly surrounded by darkness? The strategies I listed above won’t help if there is a constant pattern of negativity infecting your life. Let’s be clear, I’m not talking about depression here*. Although I have personal experience with that. I’m talking about a constant influx of outside negative influences. I’m talking about things like the area you live in has seen an increase in crime or drugs. Or you have friends or family members who constantly feel the need to tell you how you should live your life, or constantly remind you of your failures instead of building you up. It could also be an unsafe work or school environment. Situations like this need to be handled in a different way.
Strategies for deeper patterns.
- Personal development is a good way to bring positivity into your life. I can attest that when you work on making yourself more of a positive influence you will attract like-minded people. Like attracts like.
- Is it time to cut ties with a toxic person in your life? I know this is not a choice to make lightly, but it is important to examine how your relationships can have long-term damaging effects.
- If you have a hostile work or school environment, maybe it’s time to look for a solution. Talk to HR or a counselor at school and see if maybe there is a solution, if not maybe it’s time to make a change.
- If you’re like us and find the area you live in is starting to change dramatically and not in a good way, maybe it’s time to move on. We have a 3-year goal to move to another area of our state. Many people ask, “What if moving isn’t an option?” If the situation is bad enough, trust me moving is always an option. We have moved with little to no funds and have made it work.
- Develop new positive influences in your life. Join a group at church or school.
- Again spend every day in the Word and pray that God will deliver you from the negativity that effects your life.
I know some of these solutions may seem drastic, but if it is a pattern that is not being resolved that means doing the same old thing is not going to fix it. It really comes down to what you are comfortable doing to resolve the infection of negativity in your life. It also entirely depends on your situation; whether or not you are single, married, or married with kids. If you are married then you will have to come up with a solution together that works for both of you.
It’s Your Life, Don’t Let Negativity Take Up Residence In It!
Aaron and I have had to make some major changes to eliminate the negative influences in our life. We started this blog as a way to reach out to others and share the solutions we have come up with to make our home and our life a more positive influence. Having a simpler life and bringing Christ into all we do has brought us so much joy. We still have our days where it seems like the world is closing in on us, but we have used the strategies I listed as a way to refocus our energy. So surround yourself with positive people or get a puppy. Just don’t allow negativity to take over your world! Life is too short to waste it on things that don’t bring you joy!
*If you find negativity is having a dramatic effect on you to the point where you are feeling deeply depressed or have thought of harming yourself, please seek help. Talk to a family member or trusted friend, or pastor about how you feel. If you need to, please call someone for help 1-800-273-8255.