Negative Mindset? You Need a Reset
Updated: Jul 15
“Ahh, the smell of failure.” I heard myself say it out loud and immediately wished I hadn’t. I couldn't believe I'd said it, much less belittled someone's dream. More than that, in the past, I would never talk to someone that way. But the things that had been going through my mind in recent months were starting to seep out and I knew I had a problem.
Before the world went nuts, I worked hard to be a positive influence. I tried to be an encourager. Someone who wanted to leave people better off than I found them. I chose my words carefully so that they were kind, even if the conversations were difficult.
But now, I just said whatever I wanted . . . especially when I was talking to myself.
That comment came as I entered a room in my own home. A room filled with “leftovers” from a recent attempt to chase the dream of opening my own store. The funny thing is, I’d met every single goal I'd set for opening that store: to cover a lease so my daughter could move her expanding business to a larger space, to provide a unique shopping experience in our area during the holidays, to break even in the first month so that I covered my expenses. I did all of those things. I also realized two weeks in that I didn’t like being in a store all day, even if I owned it. I chased a dream, I met my goals, and I learned that it wasn’t the dream I wanted. All positive things. And yet, the way I spoke to myself . . . wow.
Have you noticed the same? Is your inner monologue becoming one that's negative more often than positive? I'm realizing I'm not alone in doing this. In the midst of endless opportunities to compare ourselves on social media, negativity growing online and in person, and the general mindset of the world at the moment . . . honestly, it’s understandable.
Have you fallen into the trap of projecting the perfect image, while you internally berate yourself and others out of frustration, resentment, and anger?
Do you rewrite entire conversations and situations in your mind after they've occurred so that you can tell people what you really think and feel?
In a world desperate for a kind word, to be seen on a deeper level, and to stop feeling so alone in the middle of virtual crowds, have you—like me—taken the aggression, anger, and negativity happening on a larger scale and brought it home—inside your very own head?
These are tough times emotionally, and it's taking an obvious toll. While it's perfectly normal to have difficult feelings arise that may be labeled as negative, allowing yourself to settle in on those feelings and linger there isn't healthy, or life-giving in the long run.
And what you recognize but don’t change, you choose.
Changing the conversation and vibe in our communities starts with us. So how do we turn the conversation to reset our minds, and in turn, our lives?
Find your trigger
For me it’s resentment. I’m not a jealous or envious person by nature. So when I sense myself resenting something or someone, it’s a red flag that I’ve not taken care of my inner monologue and have let the conversation veer off in a negative direction. It’s my job to reign myself in. Maybe you replay conversations over and over with new endings, maybe you imagine negative outcomes to people who make you angry, or maybe anxiety and depression begin to creep in. Try to find the trigger in your life that marks a negative spiral.
Fight for Positivity
I use to be one of those people that annoyingly found the positive in everything. It’s not because I live in some kind of “Lalaland", as you might think. It’s because I’ve lived through a lot of loss, and difficulty, I’ve hit bottom, and learned very early in life that you have to choose to see the good and make a conscious effort to choose to be positive. It’s literal work, and an internal battle that you have to fight. But it makes for a better life and community, when you take it on. Fight the good fight.
Play Well with Others
On those days that I’m not doing well, or on a day that a friend is going through a negative struggle, I can easily join the bandwagon of complaining, rehashing, and other fruitless efforts that only serve to make all involved feel triumphant for a moment, and terrible after the fact. If you’re struggling, work on yourself first. If you’re pulled into another’s struggle, fight the urge to join in and make a conscious effort to point out another, more positive way of seeing things.
Take the Next Smallest Step
The positive? You don't have to stay stuck in negativity. You can break this bad habit and get back to a mindset that promotes optimism, peace of mind, and a more joyful outlook. Get yourself back on track with a few steps in the right direction:
Small Step 1: Mindset changes don’t happen overnight. Well, I take that back. Positive mindset changes don’t happen overnight. In the beginning, simply start taking notice of when your mind shifts to the negative side.
Small Step 2: As you start noticing the mind shift, try to locate the trigger that sets you off into a negative spiral so you know what's coming before you've spiraled.
Small Step 3: Once you are aware of the feelings and the trigger that tends to push you towards the negative, learn to deflect away from the thoughts by focusing on something else. Turn on a positive podcast or music, take a walk, spend time with your hobbies--redirect the negative feelings toward something positive in your life.
Eventually, you’ll realize you’re actively tamping down negative thoughts to focus on the positive.
The reward for all this hard work? A deeper happiness about life, the ability to pull others up and cheer them on, and the ability to find hope in the midst of difficulty.
And that, my friends, is positively life changing.