Negativity is one of those things that has the ability to consequentially affect just about each and every one of us. You could live a relatively perfect life and still find places for negativity to form and flourish, regardless of your best attempts at optimism.
I would imagine a lot of us are feeling more negative as of late than we ever have before, thanks to a culmination of things like the pandemic, a rise in global warming-related natural disasters, political injustices and more, to name a few.
The state of the world lately isn’t exactly jolly.
If you’re someone who finds themselves to be more down than you ever have, it really is quite understandable. So, I wanted to share an article by Center for Compassionate Leadership for Good News Network that details ways in which to resist and overcome negativity.
“Kristin Neff, PhD, the world’s leading researcher of self-compassion, identifies three elements of self-compassion that offer a roadmap to strengthening our self-compassion skills.
“1. Start with mindful awareness
“… Noticing, paying attention, and being aware of how you are already treating yourself is really the first step. Mindfulness, which simply means paying attention to what is happening in the present moment, allows us to be aware of what our inner dialogue is doing.
“It’s most helpful to approach this awareness gently, and without judgment. In other words, if you want to be gentler to yourself, you can’t get angry with yourself for being angry with yourself. Begin by simply naming what you are feeling and what your inner voice is saying to you. Use your actual name as you describe what you are doing, seeing, and feeling, ‘Laura is really upset with herself for looking so tired and for the bags under her eyes since she went to bed super late the last few nights.’
“Then, instead of judging and blaming yourself, be curious about what you did and the motivation. Recognize that our actions generally arise from a place of wanting to feel safe and wanting to do the right thing. Name that positive motive, I am upset with myself and the way I look because I want to get all my assignments complete on time. Remind yourself that you are doing the best you can with what you’ve got. And keep your attention on the positive aspects of the situation.
“2. Practice Kindness
“For many people, once they tune in carefully to that inner voice, it can be jolting to notice how we regularly speak to ourselves. Recognizing that you speak to yourself in ways that you would never speak to a friend is the next step to deepening your self-compassion by ramping up our self-kindness.
“One of the challenges of self-compassion is that compassion itself is a relational skill, i.e,. it’s easier to offer compassion to someone else. It’s hard to acknowledge our primary relationship with ourselves, and to view it through the lens of a loving relationship. Know that we all are worthy of love, we are all enough. With a little practice, showing loving kindness to yourself might first seem awkward, but will begin to come more easily. Soon the positive feeling you receives from self-kindness will provide its own sense of wellbeing and become self-reinforcing.
“3. Recognize That You Aren’t Alone
“A very natural response to our own suffering is to screen it off from friends and family so that they don’t see our troubles. We might feel ashamed, embarrassed, or just not perfect enough. We want others to see our wonderful, happy life.
“It is very important to remember that no one is immune – we all meet suffering at some point, and some of us unfortunately suffer more than others, Everyone faces challenges and makes mistakes. Not one of us leads a picture perfect life! In this age of social media it is particularly difficult to grasp that we all have troubles. The social feeds of other people are the ‘highlight reels’ of their lives, and our daily life is going to be very challenged to compare to that ‘highlight reel.’
“When we recognize that suffering is a common human trait, a couple of valuable things happen. First, our suffering gets a little bit less lonely. I can acknowledge I am not the only person suffering, and that takes a weight off my shoulders, knowing I am not alone. Second, it becomes a little easier to open up to others, and say, ‘I’m hurting or I need help.’ We don’t have to pretend that everything is great when it isn’t. It’s OK to take off the masks and let people know exactly how we are. In fact, being honest about our feelings is the best way to develop more closeness and intimacy, because we all understand these difficult moments happen!
“4. Keep practicing
“Self-compassion is a skill that gets better and better the more you practice it. Like any new habit development, repetition is key for the brain to establish new neural connections. Like muscles in your physical body, training is important to strengthen and sharpen your skills.It also gets easier.
“So start with small steps, and keep on moving forward. Be patient and celebrate every success, large or small. Every time you recognize how you treat yourself makes the next recognition smoother and easier. Each word of self-kindness you offer yourself reinforces how valuable it is to do. And every time you see your own suffering in the context of the suffering of the world builds deeper connections to others, which make healing and wellbeing easier. Taking up an intentional practice of self-compassion becomes a fulfilling, self-reinforcing path towards greater wholeness and happiness,” the article states.
Please give this information a thorough read and see if you can implement these tactics in your own life.