Understanding Negativity and Negative Thoughts


A dear family member has not returned home on time. His phone is not responding. The weather is pretty bad and you have to attend a family gathering. You don’t want to be late but you are worried. What is the first thought that crosses your mind?

Is it negative? I am sure it is, as human brain seems to be wired for negativity in such circumstances. Positive emotions have to be cultivated but negative ones are innate; they are our natural armor. However hard you try to shove them, they keep cropping up.

Negative thoughts rule our life, as negative energy travels faster; people are more interested in negative aspects of a colleague or an acquaintance and they take pleasure in being judgmental. Even school children enjoy gossip and criticism and vent it out in the form of bullying or unruly behavior.

Fear, loss, failure govern our thoughts when we make some major decisions. We talk to ourselves in a negative tone, we start believing that we were at fault and failure affects us deeply.

Why are people negative?

  • They have been hurt at an impressionable age
  • Their hurts could be deep-rooted
  • They hold others responsible for their behavior
  • They have never tried to emerge out of the shadows
  • Fears dominate their thoughts
  • They could be internally insecure
  • They don’t like to introspect

Upbringing plays a major part in forming your thoughts. If people around you lack positivity, have faced too many setbacks in life and are all the time struggling to keep up appearances, you are bound to pick up those vibes. You learn to grapple with the thorns on your path by carrying a tough exterior.

Lack of love in childhood affects emotions in a negative manner. When a child doesn’t get a positive nudge and has to depend on his own feelings, he weaves a protective web around himself. One failure defines his efforts for him, one rejection seems like the end of the road and he learns to blame others. As an adult, his self-defense is negativity.

Negative peoplePeer group exerts significant pressure on us. Social development and true friendships are formed at a young age but rejection; bullying and negative attitude of peer group could hurt your self-esteem. It may lead to the loss of faith in the goodness of humanity. Negative interactions leave a lasting impact on the psyche of those who feel rejected.

What you read, the kind of books you were exposed to builds your perspective. Early impressions tend to stay and you veer toward negative reading – books about ghosts, monsters and villainous creatures become your favorites. You may define life in the same way. You wear a façade of contentment and happiness but could be bitter inside.

Criticism nurtures negativity, as it gives a wrong message to the listener. It is an attack on self-esteem, makes him think he is “no good.” If you were criticized during your developmental years, you tend to grab negativity unknowingly. Negative traits get entrenched in the personality.

Negative emotions too could be beneficial but only if we understand them and are ready to introspect. Read more: How Negative Thoughts Can Be Beneficial For Our Personality.

How do you handle your negative thoughts? Do you know such a person?

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Balroop Singh.

Do you think you are a good person? Would you like to meet your better self? Click here to know more.

41 thoughts on “Understanding Negativity and Negative Thoughts

  1. You’ve written a beautiful post balroop, sharing the understanding of negativity… Thankyou for making such a complex subject simple. IAM sure it will encourage many ah ha moments! Much love Barbara x

    1. Many thanks for your visit Barbara. Nobody wants to admit that they have a streak of negativity, an innate human trait that needs to be handled carefully. Have a wonderful weekend. Love and hugs.

  2. Good analysis, Balroop, but I have to confess. My first thought was you had a family member who hadn’t returned home. I gasped. My heart stuttered. I kept reading hoping it had ended well. Next time, warn the nutty people like me! Having said that, you are so right. This is a frightening event and I immediately went to the negative.

  3. Nice analysis, Balroop. I find being around negative people extremely draining, so I try to avoid them at all costs. Of course I have my moments, but my faith steers me off the path of negativity, most of the time.

  4. Beginning with the scenario of a late family member or friend, it’s easy to let our minds veer into negative thoughts. Usually this is expressed as worry or concern. Instead of saying “I’m sure he will be here any minute…” or “I know he’s reliable…” etc. Communication is everything and when our negative thoughts dominate communication with loved ones, that’s when we create trouble. I hope I’m positive, Balroop but I know there are times when my mind goes toward the negative. Working on it. Lovely and introspective post!

    1. I also hold communication as the best way to ward off negativity but the problem is that such people are scared of opening up, don’t like to discuss the issues and crawl into their shell. 🤔

  5. My mother was extremely critical. She couldn’t help it, of course – her generation, upbringing, well, she just didn’t have the tools. And didn’t recognize it as a problem.

    I, however, picked up her critical attitude and carried it around for years. Pick, pick, pick, almost in spite of myself. What helped me the most was mindfulness. To remain, as much as possible, In The Moment, as each moment arises. I can then leave the past behind and not be jittery about the future. Thus, what is to complain about? I find … very little, in fact.

    Great post, good points, all. Blessings, Balroop.

    1. I am so sorry Bela that you had to deal with criticism while growing up, I think you converted it into positivity with your own efforts and that shines through your writings. I agree with you… that generation was different, they didn’t know certain facts and were probably never guided what kind of atmosphere has to be provided to children. No bitter feelings as we understand now!
      Thank you for sharing your personal experiences with negativity. Stay blessed and be happy.

  6. Balroop, in the scenario you painted my initial thought was a road accident … is that negative or just loving and caring?

    Negative people, who never find joy in a single moment in life, for whom everything bad happens, are totally draining. Even if one can try to understand the reason for their behaviour it can’t help but affect oneself over the longterm and it becomes a question whether they want to face their problems, reevaluate how they look at life or whether they want to continue on a downward roll of negativity. One that can suck all happiness out of a life and become all-consuming.

    A fascinating and thought-provoking post … one that will stay with me as I look at others around me. 😀

    1. You saw it exactly like me Annika, many times we come across such situations and most people have negative thoughts. We often need another person to assure us that we may not be right and that is what I am trying to convey… positive thoughts need to be nurtured and that too at an impressionable age.
      I agree such people are a bad influence but I’ve tried to send positive vibes to them and some are wise enough to pick them. Thanks for sharing your thoughts dear friend. 🤗

  7. An excellent post and I certainly know people this has affected. The bottom line is to provide a positive atmosphere for your children to grow up in. Then perhaps they will be able to deal with the negativity in the outside world. xo

    1. Thanks for popping in Darlene, welcome to Emotional shadows.
      Well said! Positive environment at home and at schools do raise positive individuals… the cry of modern times! Let’s hope we rise up to the occasion.

  8. A thoughtful post, Balroop. When I was studying brain development, I learned that it takes ten positive experiences to replace one negative one. That’s how strong our templates are! Negative impressions can keep us healthy and safe, but I agree that they can cause so much unhappiness if exacerbated by other problems. I’ve always read “dark” books, so I’m not sure I buy into that one, but I can see how powerful they can be to some people who are prone to dark moods. Great post, my friend.

    1. Well, that explains why negative people fail to see the positive aspect of a person or situation! They tend to misinterpret and twist your good words and take every statement personally. No explanations ever reach them, as they hear only what they want to. They like dark books because they agree with their personality. Thank you Diana for sharing your insights.

  9. I have been informed that neuro science study result have confirmed that human mind is wired to scan for threats as a part of survival strategy. Negative thought emanates from this very reason. I’m not an expert in this field, but this is quite possible. Negative environment is definitely draining. I like how you have decoded the entire set of reasons. I wish there was a lot more positive thoughts around us. This is a great read.

    1. Thank you arv for adding the scientific study finding to this discussion, it’s interesting how human mind has evolved to survive! Negativity does have some benefits and there is a link at the end of this post that discusses them. I am glad you like positivity.

  10. It seems easier to go straight to negativity…We see it all the time in our daily life and the way we talk and interact with each other
    When it happens I try as much as I can to change focus. But it’s practice. And sometimes I am back to old habits.
    As always interesting to see when negativity can come from Balroop.
    Have a lovely week

    1. I am a robust optimist Marie, I always hope against hopes and pull my thoughts into light when they veer into darkness. Probably I was born with a steak of positivity! 🙂 But even I have felt the power of negativity. Thanks for your visit dear friend. Have a wonderful week.

  11. I’m fortunate because I find negativity too draining (and non-rewarding) so almost always reach for the “joyful” side of most everything. However, I do receive negative statements for living in positivity. I remember the first time I was called a “Pollyanna” – my mom, talking to a neighbor when she thought I was not nearby (I was a teenager). I knew she meant it as a flaw, but as I thought about it, I decided it was a positive aspect of my personality. I’m a Pollyanna, and not ashamed to admit it! 🙂 I toast you, Balroop and your beautiful positive nature.

  12. This is an awesome post, dear Balroop. Negativity-nurturing is certainly a product of one’s careless upbringing. Often I find myself pulled into those dark corners of my childhood where I had been intimidated or bullied. Childhood hurts can linger for one’s lifetime.

    1. Thank you for this visit Mahesh, I am glad you liked this post. Hope all is well at your side.
      I am so sorry that you had to face intimidation and bullying… that seems to be an essential part of growing up. If it is not a sibling or a parent, there are peers who find joy in mocking at others, without realizing how deep the hurts may become.

    1. I know how to cultivate that positivity, as I have emerged from some shadows, telling myself – “This is just a phase” but didn’t have this knowledge at that time. 🙂 Some experiences are learning lessons.
      Stay blessed and have a wonderful weekend.

  13. This is not an easy problem to conquer. In my case, I would have to keep my famous monkey mind occupied on more uplifting matters. I don’t actually like total silence around me in those times.

    1. I am delighted to connect with another positive-minded person who knows how to conquer negative thoughts. Thank you for the visit, much appreciated.

  14. This is such an essential topic and explained so objectively. When I begin to think negatively, I just think from the point of view of the other person. I might not like what they say or do but I do eventually find a reason for their action and excuse them. The first point- the scary thought that comes- that’s very hard for me to banish. I’ll start working on it 🙂

    1. You are right Smitha, this topic is brushed aside because most people deny being negative; don’t want to face it but harbor negative thoughts about others. Introspection, which is avoided is the answer. 😊

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