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?
Cynthia Greer says
This is a great topic Diane ! Every woman is blessed, gifted and unique in her own way.
Unfortunately many women never harness their true gifts and abilities.
Most women spend too much time comparing themselves to others.
When we do this we limit ourselves, we feel we don’t quite measure up.
Through the years I have learned Success comes in degrees. It can take years for goals to manifest.
Most small businesses claim a loss for several years before making profits.
During the course of life we will always make changes and re-define our path.
The key is to never give up because we feel intimidated ! Our life’s path is a continual learning process !
The Opera Singer Beverly Sills once said: You may be disappointed if you fail. But you are doomed if you don’t try !
Thanks so much, Cynthia. As you said, life is a continual learning process and I can attest to that — always something new to see and do and learn from. Happy New Year to you!
I’m right there with you. “Don’t look back. You’re not going that way.” Here’s to the new year and making shit happen (free of conflict).
Cheers to that!!
I love the idea of setting the intention to not let the little things bother us. When we think of the big picture, there’s so much more happening in that moment that it’s just not worth getting all worked up about. It’s a great way to start the new year! Bon courage et bonne année!
I never used to think something as silly as “setting an intention” actually worked, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned just how powerful our own mind can be. Even if I’m no always successful, having little mental reminders to just not get worked up and to move on can make a big difference. Thank you and bonne année as well!
Joy Bruhnke says
One of your best ones yet! I, too, struggle with this, but I feel as I get older I am learning how to focus on positives more. Let’s all look forward in 2018!
Thanks so much, Joy! Onward and forward to 2018!!
I love your vibe here and the intentions you’ve set for the year ahead!
I really struggle with this as well. As soon as I let one part of something go, it seems like another aspect of the situation pops up and I start all over again, imagining what I shoulda/coulda/woulda done. This kind of thinking is such a thief! It steals our time and energy and joy. When I look at it like that, it always helps me shift my focus back to the moment now.
Happy New Year to you! I’m looking forward to more of your wise words in 2018.
Thanks so much, Danielle. Worrying about things that don’t matter really does steal our joy yet it’s such a hard cycle to break.Happy to have you here and onward to 2018!!
LOVE THIS! I can completely relate. I told myself that 2018 would be all about mindfulness, but now I think I’ll alter that slightly to being mindfully positive. Yesterday, I made a dumb mistake, and even though I quickly rectified it, I started to obsess afterwards. I had to stop myself and say, “It’s done, and you fixed it, Jess. Move on.” Also, I notice on days that I take a second to appreciate something- even as simple as a good cup of coffee- I’m already in a better frame of mind.
Hey Jess! Completely understand your last line about appreciating coffee. That’s one thing life abroad has taught me… to notice the small things. It’s not that I didn’t care about stuff like that in NYC, but I was too busy or distracted to notice. Being mindfully positive can create a big difference, so thank you for reading and sharing, as always. 😉