The content of my blog today may feel a bit shocking, and maybe slightly confrontational, so I’m sorry in advance! I’ve recently decided to take a word out of my vocabulary, a word that I feel has become a toxic place holder in our society. It’s a word that is over used, often misunderstood, and the ultimate crutch of getting us out of uncomfortable situations.
The word I’m officially cutting is “negativity.” Is that weird? Are you surprised?
Honestly though, I’m sick of it. The word negativity (and its iterations) has inundated our language in an unhealthy way. It’s common to hear talk about negative people, negative thoughts, negative circumstances, negative opinions, negative vibes, etc. Everything has been thrown under the negative umbrella in a perceived practice of self-care.
Negativity has become an excuse for not participating in life’s circumstances. Labelling something as negative has given us the okay to bypass uncomfortable moments. The constant repetition of the phrase “good vibes only” puts us in a state of thinking we have to perpetually be positive to be “okay.” Naming something as negative has given us permission for us to cut it out of our lives perhaps unfairly and prematurely, and the recognition that we may have had negative thoughts can make us feel like we’ve been manifesting the craptastic circumstances we may find ourselves in.
I’m also really uncomfortable with the pushback I get when talking about challenging current events, saying that I shouldn’t go there because it’s “negative.” Bad vibes, so not into that, because we are good vibes only, right?
We’ve become a society allergic to what we think is negativity, and it’s stunting our growth. We’ve let the word negativity become our scape goat for avoiding reality and avoiding taking responsibility for ourselves and our actions, behaviors and beliefs. It’s placed us in a victim mode, rather than an empowered one.
To be fair and honest, I’ve given much advice regarding avoiding negativity and cutting out negativity in the past, but I’ve really had to stop and think about the energy of that advice and what it really means to live life this way. For me, it feels like we are using it as an excuse to bypass the uncomfortable, for the sake of the holy grail for 24/7 positivity. And we all know that’s just not possible.
To get to the root of it, I just don’t think negativity is real. It’s the self-help version of calling something “fine.” It’s a story we’ve made up, and it’s time to face the truth: life is uncomfortable, challenging, and difficult at times, but labeling it as negative won’t help us to work through it. Let’s start labeling and defining things as they really are: worrisome, problematic, challenging, difficult, scary, unfortunate, you choose. These are words that can describe feelings and circumstances, without making them feel wrong and bad.
So, I’ve rambled on for many paragraphs ranting about a word, and I hope you’re wondering what we can do to turn it around. It is my hope and intention here that we can reframe what we’ve defined as negativity in a more realistic, responsible, and empowered way.
Rather than beating up on yourself for thinking “negative” thoughts, drop the label, and be grateful for the awareness and the opportunity to choose more productive and less worrisome thoughts.
When faced with someone in your life who is pushing your buttons or giving you a hard time, communicate with them your feelings and set proper boundaries for yourself. That’s empowering and productive.
When a circumstance just doesn’t seem right, rather than pushing it away as negative, take time to ask yourself why? Start to get in touch with your real feelings, rather than using a bandaid word to bypass it.
When confronted with challenging information on the state of our world, don’t look away in fear, but learn, understand, do what you can and keep moving forward.
I write this blog with all the positivity and good will in my heart, I hope, too, that it doesn’t come across as me being exactly as I wish to avoid, and if you’ve gotten this far, I thank you for reading!
Ultimately I hope this can spark a conversation that makes us feel empowered, confident, responsible, and more positive!
Michelle is Peaceful Mind Peaceful Life's Creative Director and resident writer. She has a degree in Journalism from Indiana University and is also a certified holistic health coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and registered yoga teacher with trainings with Anuttara Yoga Shala and Strala Yoga. Michelle has a deep desire to help people find happiness in all areas of their lives, and truly believes the Peaceful Mind Peaceful Life movement will bring lasting change to the world. Michelle splits her time between Florida and New York City and loves connecting with people from all over the world. If you'd like to contact her, she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org