“The battle you are going through is not fueled by the words or actions of others; it is fueled by the mind that gives it importance.”
Shannon L. Alder
I have been always suggesting you guys to stay in the present moment and to fully appreciate its beauty. And indeed this should be one of the core foundations upon which create an exciting and rewarding life. Nonetheless from time to time we get overtaken by what happens to us or feel so deeply involved in some situation that we act in ways not completely aligned with our purpose. Sometimes we behave in a totally irrational way and our emotions become the only thing we see, the only reason to do something instead of something else. In this cases we feel like someone else is driving us, like what we are doing is the only thing we should be doing. We are absolutely unable to control ourselves and our actions.
This can be amazing when we are overruled by positive and inspiring emotions like love, compassion and commitment. For example, a mother driven by love can overcome incredible sufferings to ensure the wellbeing of her children and a passionate person can face very challenging situations to protect and support a very good friend.
When instead we are blinded by hatred, frustration and disillusion the result is not quite the same. When negative emotions take over ourselves we are moved to act and behave in disempowering way and we end up limiting ourselves and the people we live with. Just few minutes of pure anger can seriously undermine the foundations of a long friendship or relationship and disillusion can seriously affect the sense of self-confidence we have been developing over the years.
In order to avoid this, we ought to focus on the positive side of reality and realize that we ultimately have the power to shape what surrounds us. Moreover, we should enforce our ability to cope with negativity. Life is obviously characterized by an alternation of up and downs, there is no joy without sorrow, nor contentment without struggling. Bad periods cannot be avoided but at least we should try to limit them and to minimize their effects on our overall wellbeing.
What really matters in fact is not which difficult situations we have to face, but the way we react to them, the degree we allow them to affect our reality. Let’s say you burn your dinner or you find out that your car has some mechanical problem you have to get fixed. In these situations you are the only one who decides how much these negative facts are going to affect your life: you can interpret them as a proof that you are a failure and that there is no one in earth as unlucky as you are, or you can instead realize that these minor drawbacks have very little to do with the overall picture of your life.
The “consider the whole picture” strategy
I must admit I have been struggling a lot with negativity so far. But I have found a very simple strategy to effectively cope with it.
I have reflected upon negativity and talked with many good friends about this problem which affects most of us, at least from time to time. What I have found out is that in most of the cases we get taken down by some minor negative facts just because when we are overruled by our emotions we tend to focus only on a very small part of our reality. Namely, when we fall in a down spiral we keep thinking about the reasons which gave birth to the negativity itself.
For example, if you start to doubt your abilities to be a good friend then you will recall only those situations where you failed as a friend or acted in ways you now regret. By thinking about other negative situations our mood gets progressively worse and our initial idea starts to become a conviction. To overcome this down spiral and get rid of too much negativity we should take a step back and look at the whole picture. The secret is indeed the following one: if you are down you should try to enlarge your vision and consider aspects you are not yet taking into account.
It might sound too simple and ineffective but it has been working very well for me lately. If you think you are a failure you should better not focus on what you have not accomplished so far, but instead on the improvement you have made since you started, on the challenges you have successfully overcome and on the path itself. If you get taken down by an unexpected situation, like some extra work to complete, try to realize that all you do will have an impact on other people, that a minor sacrifice might result in great benefits for other people. If you get criticized see it as a sign that the other person trusts in you and believes you can do better; if someone shouts at you don’t take it personally but rather try to help her.
Never forget who you really are and which are your guiding beliefs. When we are down we often forget what really matters and thus we give massive importance to minor things. If you are down take a breath, smile and get back on track by widening your reality and looking at the whole picture. Just give it a try and you will feel way better!
What do you think about this post? Are you often taken down by negativity? How do you manage to get rid it? Please let me know in the comments below!
If you liked this post and want to get more articles talking about similar topics please subscribe to shakeclouds (I will send every new article directly to your inbox and you are free unsubscribe whenever you want).