Is Negativity Really That Bad?


Is Negativity Really That Bad?

If you’ve ever felt guilty about not believing in yourself, you might find this article positively uplifting.

Negativity, the big no-no

Negativity is often portrayed as an unhelpful and life-hindering attitude. And I agree; in large, constant and irrational doses, it is.

But isn’t negativity also just a normal, human, internal tendency to sometimes doubt yourself or think you can’t or shouldn’t do something, and then challenge or accept that belief as you see fit?

The power of negativity

Last year I attended a lecture in Melbourne with a good friend, Andrew Griffiths – the groovy dude behind this Smallville website. The lecture related to animals and how to better understand and communicate with them. As animal lovers (and slaves to our respective dogs), we enjoyed the lecture immensely.

So, where’s the negativity part?

The lecture had absolutely nothing to do with vegetarianism, in fact, the word wasn’t even mentioned. However, both Andrew and I thought about the topic quite automatically, organically and simultaneously.

Over lunch we both agreed we could probably become vegetarians at some stage, but said, “There’s no WAY we could go vegan!” I mean, talk about kale-worshipping extremes! For me, how could I possibly have the willpower and discipline to give up my beloved dairy milk chocolate day after day, hour after hour, minute after minute?

It was at that point Andrew shared a story about one of his clients, a vegan coach. She’d said something along the lines of: “If you’re saying you can’t become a vegan, you’re already on your journey to becoming one”.

She’d clearly been eating one too many fermented Himalayan oranges.

Or had she? After that conversation with Andrew I became a vegetarian overnight, and within a couple of weeks I was virtually vegan – and still am. My partner who ate red meat twice a day, instantly joined me, because this is the way of life we’d been leaning toward for some time.

By the way, this article isn’t about pushing legumes onto the masses (eat whatever makes you happy), but it’s a good example of how a positive life-change grew from the wobbly, knobbly seeds of doubt and negativity.

Negativity can lead to positivity

For me, inner negativity isn’t necessarily a hindrance, but a helper. In many cases, as my above anecdote illustrates, it’s the very words ‘I can’t’ that leads to ‘I can’. And it’s also those very words that protect me from making a big mistake. Because let’s face it, sometimes I genuinely can’t do something, and for good reason, sometimes I absolutely shouldn’t.

The power of positive thinking

I totally believe in the power of positive thinking, and I exercise this power daily. I just don’t believe it’s practical or realistic to have a positive attitude about everything, all the time.

I believe negativity becomes a problem when it’s your automatic, all-consuming, go-to thought pattern. But in measured doses, it can be just the medicine you need to get better at something, make exciting new choices or simply stay safe and sane. Perhaps in those cases we can re-coin it Nositivity?!

What are your thoughts on negativity? Do you agree that it’s okay to feel negative sometimes? Or should we all be permanently positive?

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