So, we’ve probably all known someone at some point in our lives that fits in the “negative” category among our acquaintances.
You know who I’m talking about…
…the one with the extraordinary gift of finding something bad in every single situation, the reverse-Pollyanna character, the “glass half-empty” type, the guy with a “woe-is-me” complex.
…the one always posting depressing social media statuses and depressing comments on everyone else’s posts.
…the one that comes into your vicinity and you can literally feel the positive energy being sucked out of the air before they even fully enter the room.
…the one that would probably have their picture superimposed over Eeyore’s in the Disney character index.
Any of those descriptions sound familiar?
They come in various forms and sizes, but the essential qualities of this negative type are always the same. Brooding, pessimistic, moody, a dark shadow in the atmosphere, a harsh puff of cold wind against the smallest spark of light.
It’s like despair is sometimes a way of life for them, and yet, they are not visibly suffering from it; in fact, though they may not acknowledge it, they actually enjoy living in their own little world of misery.
Negativity is an addictive luxury that is impossible for them to break away from. Even if they recognize that negativity is not the most alluring quality, they still feel the inescapable pull, like Anakin feeling the pull of the dark side.
What they don’t realize is that, like the deadly influence of a drug, this addiction leaves repercussions in its wake that are far more devastating than they can imagine.
Negativity is a cancer that eats away at every part of the heart and soul, and worse, it’s contagious. It can cripple not only the one emitting it, but also every person within receiving distance.
A negative person might not feel an urgency to change their ways because, well, it’s their own problem, and they kinda like it right now and they just want everyone to leave them alone and let them be themselves. They’ll deal with it in their own time, and it’s no one else’s business but their own.
But they miss the fact that they are hurting the people around them, the family and friends that they love and care about the most. Ultimately, it’s not just their business.
Okay, so this negative person sounds horrible, right? Like the bane of the earth. A plague that should be eradicated from the face of the planet.
Here’s some tough love: You just doomed yourself in that sweeping statement of eviction.
Yes, I’m talking about you. Well, and me.
I think I can safely say that we have all been that negative person at some point in our lives. In fact, your mom or sister or friend who’s reading this article right now in the other room or across town just read the very first sentence and thought of you.
But seriously, it’s true. Right?
I freely admit it. I’m that negative person more than I would like to acknowledge. I let myself get carried away by feelings of doubt, pessimism, frustration, and general grumpiness. I can be a real grouch. Sometimes I can be so dark and moody I would probably make Pollyanna cry.
And I so often don’t realize how my little misery walks are casting a shadowy pall across everyone around me.
You know how it feels to be on the receiving end of that kind of negativity. It’s not fun.
So, I’m just here to remind you (and myself), don’t be the one giving that kind of negativity.
Now, I do want to point out that when I refer to “negativity” in this post, I’m not talking about legitimately suffering from chronic depression or feelings of hopelessness. Those can stem from real physiological and psychological disorders and I’m not dismissing those conditions or their validity in any way.
What I mean here is intentional reactions of frustration, moodiness, and a woe-is-me mentality that are often based on circumstances and the less-than-perfect happenings of daily life. Life can be harsh, and we like to be harsh right back. Or sometimes we just plain don’t wanna deal, so we don’t, and we make everyone around us just as miserable as we are in the process.
I realize it’s hard to completely eject it from our lives. Especially when our circumstances are just asking for a nasty, sour-faced response. Sometimes we feel like no one else understands what we’re going through, and we’re completely entitled to our precious tantrums and tirades whenever and however we want, no matter the consequences.
But I want to remind you that those consequences DO matter. More than we realize.
Besides the damaging emotional and interpersonal effects that I already talked about, prolonged negativity can have significant mental and physical consequences as well. Living in a constant environment of negative energy will lead to disease in all areas of our lives–mind, body, and spirit.
As a Christian, I know that I have even more reason than most to say goodbye to this attitude of negativity in my life.
One of my main callings as a follower of Jesus is to project his spirit of love, joy, and peace into the world around me. So if I’m constantly reacting to my circumstances with grumbling, complaining, cynicism, apathy, and other poor-me, generally non-spirit-filled, responses, then the people around me aren’t going to think much of the Jesus that I claim to follow.
Where is the allure in that?
Jesus didn’t go around moping and grumbling about his life, even though he frequently dealt with harsh and cruel conditions. He didn’t let the negativity of his circumstances seep into his spirit and sour his attitude.
Instead, he was constantly turning to his Father for wisdom and inspiration on the next step in his life. He was always looking toward the future and the ultimate grand plan of the universe. Knowing that everything that happened to him, good or bad, was for a greater purpose, he saw that purpose instead of the circumstances themselves.
His plan was to destroy the works of darkness, negativity and cynical-thinking included. So why do we so often let the devil win in that area?
If we are going to overcome our tendencies toward negativity and cynicism we need to be future-minded. It’s easy to be caught up in the nitty-gritty and mundane details of life when we’re stuck in our bug’s-eye perspective.
Let’s aim for the bird’s-eye view instead.
And even if we can’t quite see it yet, we can still know that there is a big picture to life, that each piece of the puzzle is steadily moving into place, and it will be a good, beautiful picture when it’s finished.
Life is a tapestry, but so often we can only see one thread at a time, or maybe the ugly backside of the cloth. But God sees and knows the entire breathtaking view.
In my mind, remembering that is the best way to cure the negativity cancer for good.
Thanks so much for reading, and as always, I’d love to hear your comments in the section below! If you’d like to be notified of my future posts, feel free to subscribe, or follow my Facebook and Twitter pages.