5 Stupid-Simple Ways To Have A Positive Attitude for Life and Successfully Overcome Negativity
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It sounds trite…
“Just be positive. Develop a positive attitude.”
As if that’s going to magically cure everything that’s wrong in your messy, chaotic and complicated life.
I get it.
Having a positive attitude and outlook is not a panacea for life’s twists and turns and troubles.
But it certainly helps you to cope better with life’s problems and challenges.
It inspires you to look for solutions rather than simply dwelling on the problems you encounter.
It fuels your hope for the future, and it helps you to experience better overall emotional and physical health.
Thinking positively allows you to realize the good in most every situation and increases the odds of you experiencing success, whatever that means for you.
However, being a positive person doesn’t always come easily.
Some people seem to be “naturally positive”.
They just seem to have been born with positive energy, thoughts and perspective.
But others of us have to work long and hard to unlearn bad habits, rid ourselves of negative emotions, and counteract a lifetime of negative self-talk to develop positive attitudes, reinforce positive thinking and create a positive environment in our lives.
Sometimes it can take a long time to nurture a sense of positivity to the point that we start to see the fruits of our labors.
But once you become a positive person, how do you handle the negative people and situations which are bound to arise in your life?
That’s a great question. So glad you asked!
Here are five examples of very simple, basic strategies for dealing with negativity when it shows up in your life situations.
Ways To Have A Positive Attitude and Successfully Overcome Negativity
When faced with a “Negative Nelly” or a negative situation:
1. Get Busy or Walk Away
If someone starts to drag you down or attempts to draw you into a situation that becomes negative and starts getting out of control, you have every right to just remove yourself from the situation.
Unfortunately people of a more positive nature, especially women, sometimes struggle with “polite-itis” or the “people-pleasing” disease.
We often struggle with establishing and protecting personal boundaries (for fear of being rude) which are two things that negative people really depend upon in their quest to satisfy the need for attention and validation.
We are loathe to hurt the feelings of others or “step on anyone’s toes” by being “impolite”.
But when you’re involved in simple conversation or some other type of interaction with someone, you can often tell when the situation is about to take a bit of a negative turn.
Given such a situation, you should feel perfectly comfortable in saying “Sorry, I can’t listen to this today,” or some other version of a polite, but firm challenge to the negative person/situation.
Don’t be afraid to follow your statement with walking away, and you can soon teach people that you will not put up with negativity.
If that’s too abrupt an approach for you, then find something else to do or somewhere else to be.
You can “suddenly” remember that you have an appointment, need to be home early for dinner, need to walk your dog, feed your fish, pick up the kids or start work on your very important project – whatever it takes for you to leave the situation before the negativity sets in.
The key here is to immediately remove yourself from the potentially unpleasant situation.
There’s no shame in choosing not to be party to someone else’s negativity. Just leave.
2. Just Say No
Let’s face it, saying “no” is sometimes difficult. As stated above, we don’t like to be regarded as being ill-mannered or rude.
And while no one wants to disappoint someone else, it sometimes can’t be avoided especially if we know a situation is going to be a drain on us and our energy.
Spending time with someone who is always negative significantly drains our own emotional energy.
The term “energy vampire” comes to mind, and while it’s not a literal vampire sucking the blood from your neck, the idea is the same. An energy vampire drains the life force out of you.
(Think drama queens, haters, bullies, narcissists, cowards…)
Energy vampires are individuals who feed off of the emotional energy of others including uplifted, positive and happy people.
But they don’t give positive energy back.
They just keep absorbing, and taking and using emotional energy, similar to the way a huge black hole in space sucks matter and radiation into its infinite nothingness.
Energy vampires are incredibly needy.
When faced with these type individuals who ask for, beg for or demand your time and attention, it’s not a crime to say “no”.
You’re in no way obligated to spend time with, talk to or be around these people, especially if you can’t bring yourself to muster the energy to deal with them.
While it may be difficult (at least in the beginning) to refuse people, just keep in mind that it’s not your job to “fix” other people and their problems.
Their issues and negativity belong to them, not to you, and you have every right to shield yourself from that torment.
3. Take The Initiative
Do you owe someone an apology?
Need to make arrangements to pay a bill you owe?
Have to establish some new boundaries in a long-standing friendship?
Need to discuss problematic issues and necessary changes for your working relationship to continue with a demanding client?
All of these are examples of what can be extremely stressful and potentially unpleasant situations.
If you anticipate an interaction with a negative person or know you will encounter, confront or be required to resolve a negative situation, plan ahead.
It may sound simplistic, but just give it a try.
Review the situation, decide on a strategy or range of options for dealing with it, and be prepared ahead of time.
Then, once you’re in the midst of the circumstance, you can deal with it quickly, judiciously and with a better chance to achieve an outcome that’s as much to your benefit as possible. Then you can move on to more pleasant pursuits.
4. Change Your Perspective
It’s interesting that people are often surprised or caught off guard when negativity arises in their lives, as if somehow things are supposed to go well all the time.
Stop being passive about unpleasant or negative events and life situations.
Bad things happen.
Unpleasant people and situations are a part of any normal life, and are bound to show up from time to time.
Knowing that, it’s your job to start acting proactively rather than reacting to something once it’s happened or landed in your lap.
To best deal with negative circumstances when they show up in your life is to expect them, limit their occurrences as much as you can, and be as prepared for them as possible.
Then experience them, navigate your way to the best possible outcome, but keep moving forward.
Remember the old saying “The best offense is a good defense…”
Don’t allow negative people or circumstances an opportunity to derail your life, or to permanently disturb your positive attitude and point of view.
Find strength in the knowledge that you know they’re coming, but you’re anchored, strong and have the ability to meet whatever challenges you must face.
5. Put Things In Perspective
Bad things happen to good people all the time. Because you’re a good person or a person with a positive mindset and outlook (or working on one), doesn’t somehow make you immune to bad things.
I realize it’s not easy (at least not in the beginning), but when you’re faced with negative people or situations, it helps to remember to put things in their proper perspective.
Bad circumstances don’t last always (even when it seems they’ve been with you for a long time), and negative people won’t hang around forever either (especially if you’re working to be a more positive person).
And also remember this:
What you consider a catastrophic, life-altering, humiliating, epic-failure, infuriating, unbearably sad, life-ruining, soul-wreaking circumstance today will take on a different sense and meaning for you as time passes and you gain perspective of it against the backdrop of your entire life experience.
Trust me on this.
And there you have them.
A few ridiculously simple suggestions on how to avoid or deal with negative people and negative situations when they arise.
Walk away, learn to say “no”, take the initiative and be proactive, change your perspective to acknowledge that even in the best life, every now and then a little rain is going to fall, so you should expect it and have your umbrella ready.
And finally, put things in their proper perspective.
The ultimate trick to remaining positive, but dealing with negativity effectively is to anticipate negative people and periods of negativity, and be as prepared for them as possible so you don’t allow yourself to be thrown “off course”.
Always remember that protecting yourself from negative influences isn’t selfish.
It’s critical to your well-being, and incredibly beneficial for you if you intend to enjoy a positive and successful life and be of help and value to others.
You can’t help yourself or anyone else for that matter if you’re constantly worn down and exhausted from dealing with negative people and situations than drain your energy and resources.
So make sure to take care of yourself, maintain a positive mindset, attitude and environment for your mental, emotional and spiritual well-being, and prepare yourself as best you can before tackling your next not-so-happy person or situation.
If you seriously want to change your circumstances for the better, find clarity, get motivated and begin to build a life where you can experience greater success and happiness, but don’t quite know how to go about it, learn how to do that here!
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Kimberly Clay is the founder and creative force behind What She Say. She’s a business professional, writer and editor who’s been creating and managing digital content for nearly twenty years. Her work is now focused in the areas of self-improvement and personal development, and she is passionate about helping other individuals, especially women, to find a path for living their best life.