How Negative Thinking Impacts You and Those Around You

Posted: March 21, 2012 in Uncategorized
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I was going to buy a copy of The Power of Positive Thinking, and then I thought: What the hell good would that do?

Ronnie Shakes

Have you ever been in the company of someone whose only outlook on life is doom and gloom? You try to be cheerful, but they look at you as if you are some kind of deformed wart. They HATE seeing you happy. Your positive attitude is so anathema to their goals, which is to wallow in self pity endlessly, that they feel the need to suck the life out of you. They want you to be as miserable as they are.

As an example of this constant negative attitude, I would like to introduce you to a friend I had several years ago. She was a single parent dating a married man. Every holiday, she talked about committing suicide because her married boyfriend, who promised to “one day” leave his wife, spent every holiday with his wife and their children (who were probably my friend’s age) – and not with my friend. 

He bought her gigantic diamonds, gold bracelets, and emerald rings, took her to the Bahamas numerous times, showered her with other expensive gifts, and fed her LOTS of alcohol. Her energy was so negative, I felt that if I behaved completely opposite, I could talk her into becoming a positive person. I failed.

Our middle of the night conversations, which occurred frequently, always began with variations of: “I just want to end it all. I can’t take this anymore. Life just isn’t worth living.”

“You deserve better.”

“I want to die.”

“I think you really just want to live and be happy.”

“I’m going to get in my car and drive until I crash into somebody and die.”

“What about the other person?”

“I don’t care.”

“What about your son?”

“The world is too cruel for him. I’m taking him with me.”

Well, that brought the conversation to an abrupt halt. It was bad enough that she woke me up to tell me that she was going to kill herself, worse that I had no automobile to drive to her apartment, and even worse that she burdened me with the threat of murdering her only son. At the time, I hadn’t thought to call the police. I thought my “job” in our “friendship” was to save her from herself and her son from his mother.

Ultimately, she never killed herself or her son, and her boyfriend never left his wife, but her incessant negativity was killing me. I realized that although I was being a friend to her, she wasn’t acting like a friend to me. Looking back, I don’t think she ever knew me at all, because all we ever did was talk about her and her problems. She used me as her psychologist. As a teenager and young adult I was not equipped to handle her unrelenting self-hatred and negativity.

People who are consistently negative are so self-absorbed they don’t think about how their negativity is affecting the people around them. In all likelihood, they don’t think about anyone other than themselves at all and they don’t care about them either. 

These negative individuals would rather sit home and complain about everything than do something to change their circumstances. If you feed into their negativity, you plunge deeper and deeper into the dark pit of despair. 

About a week or so ago a couple of my grandchildren were watching a program about a negative person. I don’t remember the name of the program, but the boy who kept trying to help his negative friend kept hoping a positive attitude would help until a teacher told him that a negative plus a negative equalled a positive. So the boy found another negative person and brought the two negative people together (like attracts like, I guess). I found the program to be so ridiculous, I never finished watching it.

Perhaps the equation works in mathematics, but when applying a negative attitude to a negative attitude in a non-mathematical situation, all you end up with is negative multiplied. 

Having friends who are negative is hard enough, but when you live in a home or work in an environment that is surrounded by negativity, you have a hard time protecting yourself from negative influences each and every day.

A woman I know, whose husband personifies negativity, meets with friends frequently, has a FaceBook account, and has managed over the years to insulate herself from the palpable negativity. As you might imagine, surrounding yourself with positive people helps to negate some of the negative influence around you.

I once had a job that was so negative, I felt the soul being sucked out of me the second I stepped through the door. After several months of feeling so drained emotionally from all the negativity in that place, I had no other option but to leave.

Working or living with negative people requires some positive changes. If you find yourself in the midst of negative people, try to surround yourself with positive affirmations – signs or notes that say, “I am joyful, I am happy, I am positive,” or other cheerful sayings. Force yourself to smile and laugh – forcing yourself to move your mouth upwards into a smile and causing yourself to laugh releases endorphins that will protect you from experiencing the pain of a negative overdose. You might feel ridiculous, but better to be ridiculously happy than positively negative 😉

If at all possible, avoid negative doomsayers. No matter how much negativity they spew forth, the further you distance yourself from negative people, the better off you will be (the suicidal single parent is no longer my friend).

Negative influences abound everywhere, and it’s hard not to get sucked into negativity when you can’t afford to pay your bills, when you come down with a debilitating illness, when somebody close to you dies, when you’ve lost your job, when your car breaks down, when your house burns to the ground (I could go on, but I think you get the picture) – so when natural (or unnatural) disasters occur, why add more negativity to an already negative situation?

Think positively, generate a positive attitude. The more positive you act, the more positive influences you will attract.  

Knowing what I know today, I might have tried to get my former friend professional help, but remembering what I knew back then, she would never have accepted that kind of help anyway. The best I could do was avoid her. Today, when I find myself in the company of negative people, I repeat to myself a mantra, “I’m so happy, I’m so happy, I’m so very very happy,” as I imagine an impenetrable bubble of joy surrounding me and insulating me from negative vibrations.

Want to read more from this author? Click any of the links located on the left hand side of this blog.

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