Understanding Negativity and Negative Thoughts

Negativity

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.

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My Muse Almost Got Strangulated

 

words my muse loves
In love with words

She has been wandering around too much, meeting strangers, expecting appreciation, gloating at her beauty and intellect as she reclined leisurely in the glorious sunshine, having abandoned the shadows recently.

Having emerged from her poetic alleys, she got bolder and her escapades with young adventurers almost throttled her as she refused to wear modest garments…some of which seemed incandescent to her new friends. They tried to impose their opinion on her, telling her not to push people away with her ‘excessive alliteration’ and ‘lengthy’ words, guiding her to be humble and simple.

It was too much for the one who has never been snubbed, who likes to boss around, considering herself to be a spontaneous charmer.

She came home disappointed and has been sulking.

‘I hate you’, she looked me in the eye and scowled. I just smiled, which agitated her further. She threw all she had in her pockets at me and scampered away.

Yesterday I saw her, sitting by her favorite creek. I continued my walk, pretending obliviousness but she followed me, igniting new ideas in my mind. I invited her to sit down to have a healthy conversation. She agreed nonchalantly.

‘Would you like a cup of tea,’ I tried to diffuse the situation.

‘I don’t like judgmental people. What do they know about me? How could they condemn me?’ She often blurts like that and I was well prepared to calm her down.

I nodded most lovingly and tried to explain that we don’t have any control over the demeanor of people. She shot me a dagger like glance and espoused her view: ‘why can’t you use the word ‘behavior,’ which such people understand better.’ That’s what they want. That’s why they criticize me.’

‘Critics add another dimension to our personality. Take it in a positive manner. We don’t need to change our style just because others want us to. Let’s bless our critics, as we owe gratitude to them for being our readers.’

Discerning my sermonizing mood, my muse chose to step into the realms of dreams.

Inspired from Diana’s disciplinarian muse. Thanks dear friend.

A poet quote

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Balroop Singh.

 

 

What I Learnt From My Critics

Critics are friends

“The trouble with most of us is that we’d rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism.” – Norman Vincent Peale

All people like to be praised as it boosts their self-esteem, keeps them motivated and happy but it also pushes them into the abyss of sham, which is propelled by hypocrisy and sycophancy.

We like to think that we are the best; we are the most successful; we are more intelligent and smart.

Anyone who criticizes us earns our instant dislike and we try to keep that person at arms length. If we happen to be at a higher position we try to take a punitive action against our critics.

Criticism is a subtle message that we need to embellish our personality and manner of working. Sometimes such messages are loud and hurting but they do ring a bell within us. They may seem to belittle us but they need to be heard.

I have learnt many lessons from my critics. When I was told ‘I am arrogant,’ I made every effort to analyze my personality. When I was told I was reticent, I tried to come out of my shell.

I learnt to smile from my critics. I learnt patience, compassion and humility from my critics.

When I was a teacher, I was given an extra charge of writing press notes of all school events. It was not an easy task and each time I handed over the report to my boss, it was criticized and thrown back at me.

Today when I look back, my heart is filled with gratitude towards her because she helped me enhance my writing skills, ignited the fire within me to put in my best and fostered the ability to become emotionally resilient.

Why is criticism essential?

  • It is an eye-opener
  • It steers us out of self-deceptionCritics
  • It points out our mistakes
  • It acquaints us with our imperfections
  • It develops our emotional quotient
  • It helps us in introspection
  • It makes us a better person

Keep the windows of your mind open:

Welcome all kinds of feedback, more so if it is negative. All people can say good things about your work, way of dressing up and demeanor. Only the truthful ones, the unsuccessful and the jealous ones would point out your mistakes. Listen to them and reflect upon what they have said. Growth and learning happens only when we are receptive to criticism.

Listen patiently:

When we listen carefully what others have to say about us, we get an opportunity to know others’ perspective. We tend to tune off even when our friends try to convey a negative aspect of our persona but each negative insight can contribute to our positive development only if we pay attention to it.

Look within:

Can you lie to yourself? Self-awakening hits us only when we find the time to drop into our heart. Our weaknesses reveal themselves one by one when we make an effort to understand the cause of criticism. Such experiences ennoble us. They prepare us for forgiveness. I forgive myself before I decide to forgive those who have hurt me with their insensitive words.

Embrace positivity:

The aunt who told me not to laugh loudly, the teacher who punished me for being rude, the friend who mimicked me for being a cry baby, the student who glared at me for giving unsolicited moral advice and the neighbor who criticized me for being unsocial, they all taught me profound lessons of life!

It is easier to praise but hard to criticize. Let’s bless our critics, as we owe gratitude to them for showing the mirror to our true face.

Critical thinking is a gift that nature has given us. Let’s use it judiciously and constructively.

I am sure you too have faced some critics. What did you learn from them?

Thank you for reading this. Please share your valuable reflections.

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Balroop Singh.