In general I am not a negative person. Oh I have my moments, as most of us do where you just can’t help but be negative about something. But still, negativity is not something I like to put out in the universe.
Over the past year or so, negativity has become commonplace, especially in social media. This can be seen in posts, comments and general feel of one’s news feed. It has also made its way into day to day interactions with people in the real world. To me, this is a sad state of affairs for our world.
When negativity surrounds us, we, in turn, tend to do one of 3 things – hide from it, join in it or fight against it. We do these one or all of these three things both online and in real life in response to negativity. Let’s look at how these manifest.
Hide from negativity. Online the obvious first line of defense is to unfollow or hide the offensive post/poster. The second line of defense is to unfriend the offensive poster. In person, it could mean you minimize time spent with the negative person or you stop talking to them all together. Responding by hiding or retreating can save your own sanity, but doesn’t do much to get rid of the negativity.
Join into the negativity. In person this could mean all sorts of things – participating in mean gossip, adding your own negative outlook to a conversation, encouraging a fight, participating in a fight or even participating in civil disturbances or riots. Online it is being the negative/offensive poster or engaging in comment wars with people known or unknown to you. This feeds the negativity and encourages it. Therefore the negativity grows.
Fight against negativity. This is sometimes the hardest thing to do when it surrounds you day in and day out.The objective is to not just “look on the bright side” but to feel positive/upbeat/happy. In person it may be as simple as smiling at the person standing next to you in line at the store, complimenting someone you don’t know, saying a kind word to another, stating something nice about the person the rest are trashing in gossip, or…well you get the picture. Online it could be posting cute animal/kid pictures, posting an uplifting sentiment or a positive news story. Online it can also mean just scrolling past something negative or that you find offensive instead of feeding into the ugliness.When you fight against negativity with positive and optimistic responses it helps to dampen the negativity and possibly even stop it.
What have we learned? Negativity is all around us. Nothing you don’t already know. It’s up to each of us to decide how we respond to negativity. The more negativity you put out there the more it will come back at you. Whereas the more positive and optimistic attitude put out, the more it will surround you. As the saying goes – love knows no bounds.