A while ago I made a decision to rid my life of negative forces. That doesn't mean that issues and problems don't arise (let me tell you that when you're running a small business they arise EVERY. SINGLE. DAY!). But it means that you don't invite them in with loving arms and give them more energy than they deserve. It means that issues and problems that crop up are tackled not with a doom and gloom crisis mentality (I'm thinking of my Greek mama's reaction here to the slightest upset where her heart clutching reaction is of opera-style proportions). Instead they are resolved with grace and a positive problem solving mindset.
Refusing to accept negativity means for me:
Not giving energy to texts, or emails, that are motivated by anger, hatred or jealously. Yes you don't HAVE to respond to EVERY communication that comes your way. Responding back and forth in a defensive way just makes both of you dig your heels in deeper and drains you of energy. If you pissed about something wait until the anger subsides and communicate with a mindset of "we are one team: let's see how we can work this out together."
Stamping out all forms of negativity in my workforce. My company was built on passion, wholesome food, love and care. Negative words and mindset spill over into the products and customer experience. There's simply no room for it and those who work for me know that I simply do not tolerate it.
Choosing friends who uplift and stretch me and make me want to be a better person. In the past I chose friends who put me down to make themselves feel better which resulted in a comparison war.
Not saying negative things about another person that I wouldn't feel comfortable saying to their face. If that person was standing in the room listening to you, would you be as candid? When I was growing up I used to listen to my mum and aunties gossiping and harshly judging others. Maybe it's a Greek thing, or a religious thing, I don't know, but I know it made me feel yuk inside and brings the whole atmosphere of the house down.
It's amazing how your children pick up on the negative things you say and gives them the strong message that it's ok to say negative things about others. When my kids say something negative about someone else, I respond by reminding them that a) everyone has their strengths and weaknesses, b) you don't have to be good friends with everyone and shouldn't put up with anything that infringes your values, and c) you don't know what's going on in someone else's life to make them behave that way. We act out (often to the people we are closest to and feel most comfortable with) when we feel stressed in some way, either physically, emotionally or physiologically.
Reminding myself to not take things so personally when someone has a dummy spit about the slightest thing. The man yesterday at the butcher blew his top when he saw that I was served before him as he (mistakenly) thought I wasn't standing in the queue. Once again don't give it energy. Let it blow over. Allow him to be served first even though I was there before him. Let him feel better about himself. Life's too short to worry about who was first or second in queue. My kids witnessed this and ask "mummy why did he get so angry and why did you let him go first when you were before him?" Quite simply "because you don't know what's going on in his life to make him so upset about this. His reaction wasn't about us. Better to be gracious and let him go first if he feels so strongly about it. It really makes no difference to us and shows him a little kindness that he might be lacking".
Catching the negative chatter that goes on in my head ("I should be doing X Y and Z, if only I had more time, I can't believe this is all I have achieved in my life, I don't know how I'm ever going to get all this done in time, oh my god another wrinkle and grey hair, blah blah blah") and immediately turning it into something more positive. Lately my mantra is "I'm doing the best job I can. It might not be perfect but it's the best I can do right now and I'm happy with that." Flooding your thoughts with more positive talk spills over into how you conduct yourself. When my mental chatter is negative, my actions are often rushed and careless because they are not coming from a place of love.
I'm far from perfect at the above things but they are what I'm working towards. In fact I've had to learn these lessons the hard way and swallow many bitter pills in the process of dragging myself and my life out of a negativity cesspit.
Now I'd love to hear from you. Do any one these things resonate with you? Do you sometimes feel that you are stuck in a tango with negative forces? Would one of the above strategies help you to change it to more of a happy dance? Please share your thoughts in the comments below :)