Finding the balance between being honest and real about your negative emotions and experiences, and being chipper all the time can be confusing and draining. Sometimes you may feel – or people may outright tell you – that you are too negative and they do not wish to hear about your woes anymore.
However, I also find that people can be too positive to the point where it is disingenuous and almost as if they are lying to themselves to make themselves believe that everything is great. It is as if some people have taken the law of attraction to mean never experiencing a negative emotion to ensure they reach that level of eternal bliss. I believe in the law of attraction. I just do not think it works that way, you cannot zen yourself into living a magical life. Especially not when you are still in the early stages of life, ie. 20’s, 30’s. Life is going to keep throwing challenging situations and people your way always.
You are human after all, and it is only natural to experience negative emotions and be negative from time to time. However, what is the balance? I defiantly have friends in my life that are at either end of the spectrum, and I myself have been at either ends (the spectrum I am referring to is being too positive and being too negative). So what’s the balance? How can you handle negative experiences and still maintain a positive attitude?
Be mindful of the words you use
Talking about negative emotions and experiences does not have to be a dramatic or traumatic event. Using too many negative words may also exhaust the person listening. You might be thinking, “Well, Why should I care how they feel, I am talking about my experiences”. Well, you should not care what they feel, but you do risk alienating yourself by being too negative, people do not want to be around that all the time because everyone has their own stuff going on. Also, for your own sake, you do not want to be carrying energy that drains you.
You can talk about your experiences. Being mindful of the words you us can help that. For instance, using “but” negates what precedes it, so it might not even be what you really want to say. By eliminating “but”, this will challenge you express yourself more honestly as you will have to ask yourself “well what do I really want to say?”. In turn, this will get you more in tune with yourself and your feelings, and you will feel less of a need to use harsh words or terms to express your thoughts.
Take the time to really figure out what you are feeling
This ties in with being mindful of the words you use. If you know exactly what it is you are feeling, expressing it will be easier and you won’t have to spend so much time trying to explain to someone what you are feeling. You should be able to express that eloquently. Things that can help you with this is letting your first hour in the morning just be in meditation or prayer or writing in your journal. Clear your head of all the clutter and listen to what your body and your heart are telling you. That is were your real REAL self lies. If there is a situation in your life that causes you perplexity, sit with it 3,4,5, 6, or as many times as you need to clarify what you really feel. Of course in the meantime you should be living your life also. Having clarity on your feelings, saves you a lot of time and energy stressing about them.
Do not let your feelings overpower you or the things you have to do. Be in control of your feelings. Use them, do not let them use you!
Redirect your focus
It’s no secret that your perceptions shapes your reality. Cognitive psychologists say that what is at the forefront of your perception is what you focus on and everything else becomes background. However, you can also change your focus and thus your perception. A way you can do this is to leave the situation alone for a minute, step back and try to look at everything else around what your focal point has been. Ask yourself, am I placing my attention on the right thing? If I place my attention on something else, will the outcome be different?
Let me give you an example that Brene Brown gave, to clarify what I mean. Let’s say you have social anxiety (as most people now-a-days do). Your anxiety tells you that people do not like, they do not care about you and are not interested in you and you are just a burden to them. Everything you do is centred around that core belief. How do you know that that is the reality and not just a story you tell yourself that only feeds the insecurity monster, or the “I-am-safe-in-this-spot-and-don’t-want-to-change” monster?
How many times have you experienced that someone does not answer you right away and you to think that they are avoiding you and you had created with big story about them hating you, only to answer you later because some thing came up. So, instead of telling yourself that you are unworthy, or they’re trying to avoid you, be generous in your assumptions of others and tell yourself the more likely truth, that something came up and they’ll back to you when they can.
If you have an experience you would like to share about this, or are currently going through this or something similar, leave a comment you know where, and I would be more than happy to listen to what you have to share and let you know my thoughts.