Before we get started, let’s be clear…this isn’t a passive-aggressive rant on someone who has been mean to me, or some judgmental sermon about a company, cause, or political organization. Instead, this is a common-sense guide to dealing with negativity in your life, whether it is online or face-to-face. For some reason, a lot of our society has forgotten its politeness, and often, when someone disagrees with something you say or do, they immediately get ugly. Let’s talk about how to deal with all of that, shall we?
I hear negative things all the time. People don’t like that I homeschool or use a particular curriculum. They don’t like that we like bread and carbs and wheat. People don’t like reformed theology. Sometimes people are negative about essential oils, herbs, and natural medicine. People are negative about guns. It seems like when it comes to anything and everything – people often have negative things to say. But I have had to learn to laugh it off. Or unload it on Barry. But laughing is best.
You cannot let the negativity and opinions of others bring you down.
For every opinion you hold, there is someone who holds the opposite opinion. No matter what stance you take, you will NEVER please everyone. But keep in mind that there are certain people in your life who you should try to please. Know who they are and don’t be swayed by the negativity of people who haven’t earned that right.
Let’s say someone goes online and posts about something she is really excited about…let’s say a bread machine. She is so excited about her new bread machine! But people start commenting negatively on her post. Maybe they post something about how dangerous gluten is and what a waste of time making bread is. People she hasn’t seen since elementary school or talked to in 10, 20, or more years come out of the woodwork with negative opinions.
Should she listen to these negative opinions? Does she need to pay attention to all the voices that fill her feed? Should she let these people who don’t have the role of “truth teller” in her life influence her? NO. You shouldn’t ever make decisions based on everybody’s opinion. But let’s say her spouse, has a strong opinion about this. That’s a whole different story. As her spouse, his opinion DOES carry more weight.
What do you do when you have negative people who won’t hush!?
Online, you have the magical ability of blocking people, muting them, or simply ignoring their posts. This does not mean that you should get rid of all the people who disagree with you. There are lots of people who I don’t agree with. I like to learn from them and get an understanding of their perspective by having civil discussions. Does this mean they change my mind? Probably not. But it’s a healthier way of handling differing opinions in your life AND challenges you to be sure about what you believe.
We each get to decide for ourselves what and who is not important in our lives. There are people who you can disagree with in a healthy way and others you can’t. We all need at least a few people in our lives who disagree with us in a way that is not going to tear us down or shut us down.
You can disagree with others and still be friends.
The Bible says, do not be deceived – bad company corrupts good character. (1 Corinthians 15:33) Do not spend time with people who are negative and bring you down. You become like the people you spend the most time with. You need to realize that if there are negative people in your life, it is very likely that you can take on some of those traits. There are friendships that you have to let go of because their negativity affects your health as a person.
What if the negative person in your life is a parent, sibling, or even a spouse??
I am blessed that no one in my family is super negative. But whether it’s a close family member, friend, or even a random stranger, there are boundaries. To a certain extent, those boundaries must not be crossed by anyone. If there is negativity coming from anyone around me, including close friends or family, I do not allow it. I am not ashamed to protect myself and my family from what I know will do us harm.
That said, Barry is so good at reminding me not to let negative thoughts other people have bring me down. Because this isn’t their life! You can’t let their negative opinions and comments have influence over your thoughts and decisions.
On the other hand, what happens if you are the negative one? Give someone you love and who loves you the right to call you on it. And if they do call you on it…LISTEN.
Before you get defensive, LISTEN.
Conscious Language comes into play here! We’ve got to start focusing on the positive. There is no real benefit in spending too much time dwelling on the negative. This is true both within our own hearts, as well as getting caught up in the negativity of those around us. Be positive and speak words of encouragement and truth to yourself and others.
Positivity will 100% change your attitude.
What in the world is the purpose of a pep really or coach’s halftime pep talk? You know that your emotions change when something builds you up and encourages you. Be the person that builds up and kick negativity to the curb. Never forget how much power your words have!