As women, we’re conditioned to minimize our successes, downplay our wins, and make ourselves smaller. We’re made to feel like we’re bragging if we’re proud of an accomplishment. These positive moments get overshadowed by other things. Life goes on. Then something negative happens. Maybe you or someone else said or did something that rubbed you the wrong way. Things in the media or the online world shake you. Things like politics or family drama throw you off your game. Our successes fade away and our mental landscape is weighed down by these negative moments.
Shouldn’t it be the other way around?
I’m 100% guilty of letting the negatives consume more time than they should. Instead of just accepting whatever happened and moving on, I think it over, then think about it some more, then try to put it out of my mind. Sometimes it works. Most of the time it doesn’t.
A recent piece from Tyler of Thrive Global got me thinking about this positive-negative scale and how it’s backwards. What he’s saying is so true.
Here’s how Tyler explains it:
If I were to greet you and hand you ten dollars, how would you feel? You’d probably think I was crazy and start planning how to spend the cash.
Now, flip the situation. What if I came up and took ten dollars from you? This would undoubtedly piss the normal person off and most likely bother you for the rest of the day. The outcome of these two examples are +10 and -10 dollars, but our reactions don’t equal one another.
Negative emotions tend to be stronger and more all-consuming than positive emotions, at least for me.
Why do we let the negatives mean more in our everyday lives and how can we make them mean less?
We only have so much time each day and I’d rather focus on the things that matter. Yet sometimes the negatives take up more brainpower than they should. I’m not talking about horrible, crushing negatives like a terminal health diagnosis or death that of course would weigh heavily on one’s mind, but everyday negatives that are a normal part of our lives.
See what I said there — “a part” of our lives. Just a sliver. Things that shouldn’t rule our thoughts or ruin our day… yet they do.
I’m guilty. I’ve let a late train or a rude coworker affect my whole morning. I’ve let a petty argument ruin an entire day.
It seems that the negatives in life — disappointment, sadness, regret, anger — weigh about 2 times as much as their positive counterparts. Are humans wired to let negative emotions rule over us more than the positive ones?
I have no idea.
But I do know we have control over our reactions to things in life.
Negative, stupid, inconsequential things happen and will continue to happen. That’s a given. But we don’t need to let them rule over us.Negative, inconsequential things happen. That's a given. But we don't need to let them rule over us.Click To Tweet
2018 is going to be my year free of conflict. Well, as much as possible anyway. I’m not going to let stupid stuff bother me. This is within our control. Our reactions are 100% our own and we can retrain ourselves and how we react to events in our lives.
How do we control our reactions to things? We can change our focus to something else, put it in perspective, make it mean less, and then mentally move on.
Easier said than done, I know, but every miss is an opportunity to get better.
Negativity is all around us and we don’t have to look very hard to find it. But in that same breath, so is positivity. It’s everywhere. Beauty, success, kindness, and hope.
I’m working hard on opening my eyes wider and making sure I see it. The positives need to matter more than the negatives.
So instead of dwelling on things in the past, things that we can’t change, or things other people said or did, let’s look forward. There’s strength in that.
I’ll leave you with something I read recently, “Don’t look back. You’re not going that way.”
Do you have a secret to making the positives mean more?
Will you share a recent success or positive in your life with me in the comments?