Today I want to focus on the negativity that we sometimes aren’t as aware of in our lives.
I’m talking about the day-to-day low-grade negativity that you might not recognize as negativity at all (because it’s so sneaky).
Negativity can become a habit and really creep into all aspects of our lives if we aren’t mindful and aware of it.
So I want to talk about how to pull yourself out of negativity when it comes to the small, everyday stuff.
Let’s start with the biggest mistake I see people make…
If you want to listen instead of read, here’s the podcast episode that goes along with this post — Pulling Yourself Out Of Negativity.
The Mistake Most People Make: Trying To Jump Straight From Negative To Positive
The mistake most people make, especially when they are first beginning this work, is trying to go straight from feeling negative to feeling positive.
This seems like a good idea, right? It’s saying, “Ok, I’m feeling really negative, I want to feel really positive!”
An example might be, you feel really stressed about work and you try to jump to feeling excited and passionate.
The problem is that it’s too big of a jump.
It’s going from a really negative place to a really positive place and you’re doing it in a rush. And that’s a really big clue to be onto yourself. You’re judging yourself for being negative, so you want to jump to being positive.
This often happens to you if you’re new to this work. When you try to practice new thoughts that are really positive to replace the negative thoughts but you don’t actually believe them — a.k.a. affirmations, it doesn’t actually help you become more positive.
This is really you resisting feeling negative instead of allowing it. You’re trying to force the new thoughts that you don’t believe.
Depending how long you’ve been following me, you may or may not know that you never should practice thoughts you don’t believe. This is why affirmations don’t work.
Here are more resources the explain how to create thoughts you actually believe:
- How To Change Your Mindset Set In 7 Steps (blog post)
- Scarcity Vs. Abundance (podcast)
- When Your Brain Tells You Something Is Wrong (blog post)
- 13 Mindset Hacks That Helped Me Shift From Scarcity To Abundance (blog post)
The problem with this is that you don’t believe the new thoughts, so the old thoughts just keep creeping up and the negativity comes back.
You can create more pain when you try to talk yourself out of pain.
And this is how you can know and kind of check-in with yourself to see if you’re doing this work effectively or not. Are you constantly in negativity? Are you kind of obsessed with having problems? Would you describe your top three emotions as being pretty negative?
Check out this podcast on Processing Negative Emotions for more information.
If so, then that’s a clue to yourself that — hey, let’s jump in here and do some work!
So let’s talk about what to do instead of jumping straight from negative to positive.
What To Do Instead: Go To Neutral
Instead of jumping straight from negative to positive and rushing to feel better, I want you to go to neutral.
You go to this neutral place where you don’t feel really negative, but you also don’t feel really positive either. And the way you do this is you’ll focus solely on being present in the moment in your circumstance without your thoughts.
Yes, it sounds kind of weird, and it borders on the meditation side.
You release the words in your head. You clear out your thoughts. You let them pass through.
Just be without judgment. And notice your circumstances without thoughts; without words.
What is it like to genuinely experience and rest in the circumstance?
At first, this may be hard for you to do. Like anything, it takes practice.
The result of that is you drop into this space where you are just in the moment without judgment and there are no sentences in your head.
The result of letting go of the words is that you let go of the negativity.
You separate yourself from your thoughts and therefore, from your feelings. So basically instead of jumping from this thought that’s creating this negative emotion to a thought that’s going to create positive emotion, what I want you to do instead is to let go of the thought creating the negative emotion.
It’s never the circumstance that’s causing the negative emotion. It’s never what we’re blaming that’s causing the pain.
It’s not Penny being up all night being sick that’s creating the irritation.
It’s my thought that this shouldn’t be happening that’s creating the irritation.
It’s not that I didn’t get invited to Steve’s friend’s wedding that’s creating the disappointment.
It’s my thought that I wish I’d been invited, that’s creating the disappointment.
It’s not my brother’s communication style that makes me mad.
It’s the thought that I want him to communicate differently and when he doesn’t, I feel mad.
It’s always my interpretation of neutral circumstances that cause my pain.
When I can be present with the way it is, I’m at such great peace. I pull myself out of negativity and just be there in a neutral place.
Here are my additional resources on processing negative emotion:
- What To Do About Negative Emotions (blog post)
- When It’s Hard And Problems Are Forever (podcast)
- How To Process Emotions And Feel Better (blog post)
- Why Emotions Matter And How To Feel Better (podcast)
You can do this work with anything in your life.
And I want you to know that even though I’m constantly doing this work, it’s never complete. There is always more growth to do. There’s always the next level of it. As my life changes and as I grow, I have different circumstances and I have different thoughts about them and I still create negative emotion. I continue to do this work.
When you coach yourself and you get coaching, you begin to understand that there’s this space that you can move to that creates a more neutral emotion. It’s letting go of that thought that’s creating a negative emotion, instead of creating a positive thought.
More on coaching here:
It’s ALWAYS your thoughts or your interpretation of the circumstances, which are just sentences in your head that are causing the negative emotion.
This only works if you really believe and understand that your thoughts create your feelings.
A great analogy for those of you just getting started in this work is if you think of 100 different people having your same circumstance and reminding yourself that each person would feel different levels of a certain emotion.
We have covered how this works. Now let’s talk about why this works.
Why This Works
Shifting to neutral works because you remove the cause of your emotional pain.
The cause of your pain is always your thoughts. When you remove and release your thoughts, the pain releases, and you pull yourself out of negativity.
This is life-changing work.
And let me remind you it’s no small task. Your brain is constantly working against you. This is why it’s so important to have a life coach (you can learn more about my life coaching program here: Grow You).
When you don’t do this work and you push against the negative emotion with a positive thought, what happens is you create this push-pull relationship.
I like to think of a rope where there’s tension. One side you have a negative thought and on the other side you have a positive thought and you keep going back and forth. That negative thought keeps popping up because you’re trying to resist it and push the positive thought on top of it.
The tension remains. The negative remains.
The more you pull back and forth, the more tension and tightness there is. If you try to pull yourself from negative to positive the negative will pull back. Instead, if you let go of the rope, the tension releases. In the same way, if you let go of the negativity, it will release.
When you release the tension and allow the negative emotion it will release and let go.
Instead of changing from positive to negative, you let go of the negative.
You sit there in neutral; in the circumstance of what is, without arguing with reality.
From there, you can move forward.
I still do this, even for little things (let me remind you: this work is never done).
When things in my life don’t go as planned, I remind myself, “This is exactly how it’s supposed to be.”
You can do this no matter what is going on.
Once you’re in neutral, you can genuinely move forward.
A Word Of Caution: Don’t Stay In Neutral
Getting to neutral is useful because it pulls you out of negativity.
However, by no means do I think you should stay in neutral.
Neutral is where you get out of pain. It’s what’s in the middle, to pass through.
I’m a big believer in two parts of growth and this is what I teach in Grow You. On one hand, I teach loving what is and balancing that with being present. I also teach how to create and produce whatever you want through goal setting and massive action.
I think you need both.
I don’t want to sit and be in neutral my entire life. I want to grow and I invite that discomfort that comes with growth.
Some people disagree. They want you to stay here “in the present moment” and never do anything. This works if you want to exist without doing anything else in your life. You can decide what you want for yourself.
For me, I want to create excitement, love, commitment, ambition, and all the other amazing emotions so I can create new results in my life.
Being in neutral is just a stepping stone to where I want to go and to get to my new results. It serves a purpose, but I don’t want to stay in it. So decide for yourself what you want, and just be aware of the process.
A Final Note!
The title of this episode is how to pull yourself out of negativity. And the truth is that to do that, you don’t pull at all. You let go.
When you let go, you release the words causing the emotional pain.
And from there, from that place of neutrality, you can choose to create whatever thoughts and emotions you want, but don’t do that until you’ve moved through it.
What makes something negative or positive is simply your interpretation of it.
I like to remind myself — It was always supposed to happen this way. Sometimes my brain will argue back with me and I remind myself of this quote…
When you argue with reality you lose 100% of the time. — Byron Katie
It comes down to awareness. The more aware you are of negative thoughts, even when it comes to the small stuff, you are prepared to move through it, rather than letting it take you down.
Up Next, watch the YouTube video…