Presently most of the news that floods through via media channels leaves you empty and devoid of energy of both mental as well as physical. It would appear to be the case that the world is full of fear, intolerance and a lot of judgment from every corner you turn.
I have dealt with a lot of negativity in my life. Then again so have many persons on this planet.
When I was 16, I was sent back from England to Uganda by my adoptive mum as punishment for disobedience to her. This happened to be in the midst of the civil war of 1985-86. I was later to learn the reason for my being sent back to Uganda was engineered by my paternal grandmother along with some friends of my adoptive mum who at the time she saw as close confidants.
Prior to being sent back to Uganda, I was set to sit for my mock A-level exams which I missed out on. I remember lamenting over this for some months and blaming each and everything that went wrong on my mum’s decision.
Upon return to England, I had to look after myself working three jobs whilst studying for my nursing access course. I wanted to raise enough capital to send back to my biological mother to be able to build and own her own house. In the short 3mths of my being in Uganda, I’d seen the adverse poverty and hardship meted out to her and my siblings. My biological mother lived without any support from her husband or husband’s relatives etc…Fortunately I was able to achieve this in the 6mths prior to starting my nursing course.
My missing mocks exams meant I had to play catch up with all my school peers and altering my academic dreams. I since made peace with my adoptive mum and for that I’m grateful it happened when she was still alive. I did grieve a lot for the wickedness of the actions of those who let her down and who she realised too late were not truly her friends or confidants. They just used and abused her insecurity borne out of living with the knowledge of being baren.
When I was young I learnt that “not all animals were equal” in the extended family. This is rather ironic given the emphasis placed on cultural norms of adhering to the extended family values.
My mixed-race cousins got first choice in almost all things they desired. On one occasion, my sister Harriet (RIP) had sent a letter asking my adoptive mum to help her out with a wheel-chair for her disabled son, my nephew Peter (RIP). She wasn’t asking for direct money but help to put her in touch with persons my adoptive mum may have known to help with funding for this.This was the only occasion I recall any of my siblings in Uganda asking for anything. My adoptive mum had merely brushed the request aside saying she had no money for such, but upon receiving a request from one of my mixed race cousin in the very same week to fund her wedding. She not only raised the money but had also purchased the bridal gown.
Up until my late teens, I had issues with this order of play but have since come to terms with what happened. I have Deborah to thank for helping me through all this. Don’t get me wrong, I still get irked when skin tone or race is the preceding negative judgement of character of a person. Or when persons of my race are quick to give positive feedback when a light-skinned baby has been born yet are not so when it is a dark-skinned baby.
Enough of my sad memory lane trekking!
In all honesty I think most of us at one point or other do get to feel overwhelmed by negativity.
The Negativity in the World
The thing about negativity is that it’s rampant.
You are bound to encounter people who disagree with you or people who seem hell-bent to bring you down.Then there’s the negative state of the world, where bad things happen to good people and innocent people suffer for no reason. Especially when death is a result.
As such, the negative thoughts tend to enter your mind.
“Why is life so unfair?”
“What did I do to deserve this?”
“What if bad things happen to me?”
Does this all sound familiar to you too?
At most, we are told to simply accept all the bad stuff. God will repay you. Get over it. Chin up. Maintain a stiff upper lip and all that...A lot of us are often told to simply accept, because that’s just how it is.
I’ve had issues…and boy have they been issues! That, to me, is the biggest problem when it comes to dealing with negativity properly.
With more than seven billion people on this planet, there is bound to be conflict.
But we all have a choice in how we deal with negativity. We can’t change the world, but we can certainly change our perception and responses.
Here are 3 ways I have found to be useful in dealing with 3 different forms of negativity:
Dealing with Negative People
It can be aggravating to face someone who has treated you unfairly, taken advantage you, or seems to just want to attack you.
Don’t think that these people have “won” and managed to have an edge over you. Realize that they are actually very insecure.
Take note of this: Every attack is a cry for help.
That is why negative people act the way they do. They never bother to find healthy ways to deal with their problems, but instead want to take it out on others. To bully others.
Try to look beyond their actions to understand them and help them; but know that sometimes it’s best to re-evaluate your relationship with that person.
You can do yourself a favor by ending toxic friendships. Since my adoptive mum died, I have realised life is too short to keep getting angry with people. I don’t fight back, but I just stop contacting these ex-friends altogether.
Also, choose to surround yourself with positive people.
Who do you like? Who inspires you? Who do you feel comfortable with? Make the effort to hang out with them more and you will be surprised how much it can help you.
Dealing with Negative Thoughts
No, I don’t believe it’s as simple as “Stop thinking about it” or “Focus on the positive” – which sometimes makes your palm itch to slap the person saying it to you.
I think it’s perfectly normal to have a negative thought. The problem only comes when you allow it to change into a train of thought that rides to no end – like the circle line of some sort.
For example, once I was so angry with my ex-husband over his betrayal and treatment of me etc…I’d go through scenarios in my head how I could kill him just to get even, right up to the point of how I’d get to explain it to my girls after I’d done it! I got to realise doing time for the anger just wasn’t going to free me of the anger I felt towards him. I’d simply be breaking the law, depriving my girls of their father (who in their eyes they definitely loved to bits!) and most possibly of their mother too.
Now that is dramatic – right?
This can go on for a good few minutes. It’s not healthy at all. Which is why I’m grateful for the GP that saved my bacon and made me see logic whilst getting the mental therapy I needed.
We need to recognize when we cloud our mind in this way so that we don’t let negative thoughts ruin our day.
After you recognize your negative thought patterns, dig deep and find out where they’re coming from so that you can deal with the underlying problem head-on.
As with my own example, part of the negativity comes from the fact that I didn’t do much to “get back at him.” Instead of being angry with myself, I worked on letting go of the instinct for revenge.
When you think a negative thought, recognize it, learn from it if you need to, and let it go. Then replace it with something better.
Dealing with the Negative State of the World
Thinking of the negative state of the world can be a real downer.
It’s also rather demoralizing to know that it’s a huge uphill battle to try to make a positive difference.
The best solution is to simply get out there and start helping others.
That’s not to say to immediately start a movement and try to change the world overnight. Just go do something nice for someone, like checking on you elderly neighbour offering to massage/wash their feet for instance. Help a friend or family member out. Do a random good deed. Do some volunteer work.
When you help others, it automatically makes everything better for yourself. And the world becomes a better place.
Too often people over analyze how or when they should do something positive. Take action now, for your own sake and for those around you. That little action alone will go a long way.
You Always Have a Choice
You may not be able to control the world or the way things unfold, but remember, you always have a choice.
You may deal with people and things that seem bad, but you can choose how you perceive and react to them.
It’ll take some work, but it’ll be worth it. It has been for me and I am all the happier for it.