We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.
2 Corinthians 10:5
You’ve met her before – the girl who rarely has anything good to say. You know when she opens her mouth the words coming out will more than likely be something negative. She’s sick again; her cousin’s brother’s uncle’s cat is deathly ill; her math teacher hates her; the principal singled her out when she was caught texting in class, and it’s not fair; it’s too hot outside; it’s too cold outside; that girl shouldn’t wear that color eye shadow; the world is falling apart because the people running the countries don’t know what they’re doing. . . . Whether she speaks poorly of everything around her or doesn’t allow anyone else to be hurt or sick because she’s more hurt or her illness is worse, she’s the girl most people don’t like to be around. She may even be the girl staring back at you in the mirror. When I was in college, I realized for the first time that this girl was staring back at me in the mirror.
I remember my second year of college when I kept hearing people mention how negative I was, and I became really defensive. No one had said that to me before and to be honest, it made me mad. I thought they were just being mean and hurtful to me. Finally, when my roommate and best friend told me I was negative, I started paying attention to my words and attitude toward things. My attitude and words had a definite trend, and it wasn’t pretty.
Nearly everything I said about anyone or anything was completely negative, mean, and sometimes downright hurtful. I look back now and see that I was also the same way in high school, and particular moments replay in my mind. I cringe wondering how I even had the few friends I did.
Once I realized how negative I was, I could dig deeper and find out what made me that way. It wasn’t too difficult to find the root of the problem, and that’s what I started working on first. It’s still easy for me to fall into that negative trap even as an adult, so I’ve had to learn how to be more aware so I could rid myself of that stronghold (or at least take control of it). Don’t get me wrong. I still have my negative moments, and some are whoppers, but thankfully I know what to look for and can get out of that mindset.
3 Ways to Take Control of YOUR Negativity
I emphasized the word your because yours is the only negativity you can control. If you catch yourself saying or even thinking negative thoughts on a regular basis, you can start taking control right now. It’s a process of reprogramming your thoughts, but here are 3 tips to get you started:
- Try to pinpoint the source of your negativity, and remove it from your life. Do you surround yourself with negative people? You can’t be a positive person if your ears hear negativity most of the time. It doesn’t mean you have to be hurtful to your friends and never talk to them again, but you should really distance yourself from them. I’ve had to do this with some of my dearest friends, and it was very difficult, but it was needed. I made excuses for staying to myself rather than visiting with those friends because I didn’t want to hurt their feelings, but I knew the distance was crucial for my own wellbeing.
- Take your thoughts captive. Those thoughts aren’t going to automatically disappear from your head just because you’ve decided to be a more positive person. When a thought pops in your head, catch it immediately, and don’t let it escape from your mouth. You will still be dealing with that attitude, but you don’t have to make others deal with it too. Once you take it captive. . .
- Counter it by speaking something positive. You’ve got this negative thought, and you feel the urge to speak it, but try finding something positive about the same topic and make that thought come out of your mouth. For example: Your friends are talking about the new girl and how nice she seems to be. Your first thought may be something like her voice gets on my nerves. (Sometimes our negativity comes from our own insecurities, which would probably be true in this case). Grab hold of that thought, and find something you can say nice about her. It doesn’t matter what. Maybe you can say her hair is pretty cool. Even if it’s something small, just say it out loud. When you continue this process, you’ll notice the positive thoughts start coming to you before the negative ones.
By following these 3 easy steps, you’ll begin to feel free because you’re shedding the heavy weight of negativity. Carrying around that kind of weight slowly wears you down.
I’m leaving you with a link to one of my favorite SNL skits. It’s a funny way of portraying negative people, and it’s always a bonus when the SNL actors can’t stop laughing. Check it out, and be ready to laugh with them! And do your best not to be the Debbie Downer of your circle of friends.
Fit Friday Issue 7 – Stay Positive