Put Your Positive Pants On: Staying Positive Amidst Negativity

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Some people enjoy dwelling in negativity. All you have to do is look at some of the political media coverage in our country to know this is true. The media loves to dwell in and propagate negative thinking and doom and gloom, and it can be suffocating. When I feel this way, I turn off the television.

The same is true in real life: when people are filled with negativity, I tune them out as well.

This is not to say that disturbing things don’t happen today. There are, indeed, very disturbing situations taking place all over the world, but when we begin to allow them to affect our own personal outlook and ability to change things, it could hurt us in the long run.

I don’t like being held captive by negativity. By nature, I’m a positive person, but a few years ago, I felt myself go into a downward spiral, I didn’t like it, and I didn’t like who I was becoming. Not one bit. I made a conscious effort to get myself back to who I was and to the power of positive thinking.

Since I’ve done that, a whole lot has changed for me. For the better. I don’t have time to feel badly now—about myself, about others, or about the world around me.

Instead, I’m focusing on how I can do the things I want to do and be the kind of person I want to be in a positive light. I am in control of how I can make a difference and positive impact on people and situations.

There will always be those people who want to see you NOT do as well as they do. There will always be folks who are NOT rooting for you. And, there will always be a line of thinking that is not in line with YOUR way of thinking. These obstacles are just that—obstacles—and you have to power to overcome obstacles. Turning up your positive volume requires you to be strong when you have tremendous belief and passion. Forge on, and remember that the positive energy comes from within you and not from outside sources.

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There are a plethora of quotes and articles about the power of positive thinking. This stuff is real, otherwise, we wouldn’t pay attention to it. And, more than that, it is effective. Things can change for you by adjusting your sails, as John Maxwell’s quote above indicates.

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I had to explain to one of my kids the other day, who was being a little harsh on himself, that the worst thing you can do is to compare yourself to others. I asked him if he did the best he could do on a particular endeavor, and his answer was “yes.” I explained to him that I don’t compare myself to other writers, because if I did, I might start feeling really awful about myself. I told him that what I do is to compare myself as a writer TODAY to the writer I was YESTERDAY, or more specifically, I ask myself if my latest book is better than the one I wrote before it? The only person you should ever compare yourself to is who you were yesterday–are you better than you were the day before and the day before that and the day before that. Comparison leads to negativity, and we should just stop doing that immediately.

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If you want to compare and be competitive, then compete against yourself. That can certainly be a motivator. And, it can be easily tracked. You will know for sure if you are doing better each day.

Positive attitudes can truly change your outlook on things. And it beats the alternative of being down in the dumps, angry, bitter, and negative.

Just typing those words leaves me feeling uneasy.


Stephanie Verni is Professor of Business Communication at Stevenson University and is the author of Inn Significant, Baseball Girl, and Beneath the Mimosa Tree. Along with her colleagues Leeanne Bell McManus and Chip Rouse, she is a co-author of Event Planning: Communicating Theory and Practice, published by Kendall-Hunt.



10 Words of Wisdom to Defeat the Negativity Monster in Relationships and at Work

nonegativethoughtsNobody likes to hang around with negative people all the time. Let’s face it—when you’re in the throes of feeling blue, that last thing you should do is allow negative influences into you life. People who never have a kind word to say or wallow in gossip can be detrimental to your well-being. At some point in our lives, we’ve all brushed up against destructive and toxic relationships. When you feel yourself going down a path that leads to more negativity, you are responsible for your own happiness, and must make adjustments in your life, whether that means altering friendships, dealing with family in a different way, or ending relationships that make you feel less than stellar.

Trust me—life it too short to feel less than stellar.

If your job is causing you to feel down in the dumps, you have a few options. Try adjusting your thinking and creating new paths for success at work. Perhaps you could inquire about a switch of department or seek out new opportunities for growth. Sometimes just a change of position and atmosphere can help raise your spirits. Or, if there are no other choices left at your current place of employment, you could look for a new job, perhaps try that dream job you never got around to trying or look for ways to connect with a company you’ve heard good things about.

You spend a lot of time at work, so it’s important that you like what you do.

I’ve collected some ofmy favorite quotes about the subject for you to mull over. Let me know what you think, and drop me a note as to how you beat negativity.

Actor Tom Hiddleston who said,
It was actor Tom Hiddleston who said, “Haters never win. I just think that’s true about life, because negative energy always costs in the end.”
  1. Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results. — Willie Nelson
  2. Positive anything is better than negative nothing. — Elbert Hubbard
  3. Negative emotions like loneliness, envy, and guilt have an important role to play in a happy life; they’re big, flashing signs that something needs to change. — Gretchen Rubin
  4. It’s easy to get negative because you get beat down. You go through a few disappointments and it’s easy to stay in that negative frame of mind. Choosing to be positive and having a grateful attitude is a whole cliché, but your attitude is going to determine how you’re going to live your life. — Joel Osteen
  5. Always turn a negative situation into a positive situation. — Michael Jordan
  6. Haters never win. I just think that’s true about life, because negative energy always costs in the end. — Tom Hiddleston
  7. The only place where your dream becomes impossible is in your own thinking. — Robert H Schuller
  8. The difference between winning and losing is most often…not quitting. — Walt Disney
  9. Happiness, like unhappiness, is a proactive choice. — Steven Covey
  10. You are never too old to set a new goal or dream a new dream. — C.S. Lewis

In The Words of Maya Angelou, “Don’t Bring Negative To My Door.”

NegativeI’ve always been a cheerleader. In 7th grade I made the squad, and then again in high school I made it, and I cheered throughout my years in school. When I was done there, I cheered with the band at Towson University for the Tigers, and then did it again for the Orioles as a front office employee. Now, as a grown, middle-aged woman who works as an educator, I cheer for my students. Cheerleaders want others to do well for themselves. We have hope inside of us, and wish the best for others.

You may be wondering what’s charged me up tonight. It’s a long story, and one I’d rather not relay at the moment. It is, indeed, a short vent, and I will try to control myself. Let me put it plainly: I cannot stand—and prefer to remove myself from—all negativity. It beats you down and wears you out. It’s exhausting. And whether it’s someone you know peripherally or someone you know dearly, negativity and “dream killers” are to be avoided. This is a warning: stay away. Don’t bring negativity to my cheerleading door.

I find it remarkably appalling that people try to put others down and kill them either to their face or behind their backs. People have “dreams” for a reason. And though some may be more attainable than others, every single person has a right to fight for that dream without being demoralized, scoffed at, or ridiculed for thinking small or big. No great thinkers and innovators would be where they are today had they not had the inclination to GO FOR IT.Impossible

It takes a great deal of spirit to hunker down and try for something you want. Therefore, I prefer to be a dreamer and positive thinker. I do pay attention to reality, but sometimes reality is very dull. Dreaming is much more to my liking. What the Queen in Alice in Wonderland said in the adjacent quote gives one hope. The mere word impossible should fire you up to prove the naysayers wrong. That is a problem—listening to jerks fill you with nonsense that you shouldn’t try something that’s in your blood must be avoided. Pronto.

I’m locking up my door and am determined not to allow those types of people in any longer.

Care to join me?


Relation-Ship Out

Remember when you were little and your parents or caregiver told you to “find the right friends” and hang around with others who have common interests—ultimately people who make you feel good about yourself and keep you from getting into trouble? They were spot on, you see. When you allow other people to infect your world with negativity, you’ve got to turn a blind eye to it, or do something more drastic. Like stay away from it altogether.

This happens to people, both in the work setting and in our personal settings. It can grab hold of us whether it’s with a group of friends, one particular friendship, working relationships, or someone who’s in a romantic relationship, but shouldn’t be in that relationship. You know why it’s called a relationship, right?

If the RELATION is not working, you should SHIP out.

Many moons ago, I was hanging around with someone who just brought, as my friend Jenny and many others love to call it, bad ‘juju’ to the party. I didn’t want to get caught up in a web of negativity, nor did I want to spend my time gossiping. When you surround yourself with this type of absolute nonsense, it makes you, as Southwest Airlines used to say…Wanna get away. Set sail, baby.

We talk about these types of philosophies in our courses in Interpersonal Communication and Business and Professional Communication. The way we feel about relationships plays into our overall morale, both professionally and personally. In the workplace, it can be deadly when the grapevine takes hold—negativity spirals out of control. Likewise, the same holds true for our personal relationships.

Confucius. Photo credit: Asia Society.

My husband sent me this great quote by Confucius the other day. It’s really something to live by:

The nobler sort of man emphasizes the good qualities in others, and
does not accentuate the bad. The inferior does the reverse.
— Confucius (551-479 BC) Chinese Philosopher

So if you find yourself becoming bogged down by unhealthy gossip and heavy interpersonal relationships, allow Confucius’ words to take hold. After all, he was a pretty smart man.