Dealing with negativity from yourself, from loved ones, or others can be very trying and exhausting. It can instantly change a great day into a terrible day. I deal with negativity from myself daily during workouts - on a run that I can't seem to finish, or I do finish, but with lots of intermittent walking and at a slower pace. I had one of those moments today. I hit the trail instead of the road and there were lots of steep hills on soft terrain. I had run this trail earlier in the week and was amazed at how great I felt and how fast my pace was. Today was a completely different story. I was slow and exhausted, and when I finished I was ready to beat myself up about my performance. But I stopped and said no. Why focus on the negative aspects when it will only make me not want to run again? Instead, I flooded my mind with positive reinforcements: 'You did it', 'A slow run is better than no run', 'Hills are harder than flats', 'Next time will be easier' - and it worked. I didn't feel defeated and I recovered quickly and began thinking about the next run I would do.
One way I've been able to pull myself out of a downward spiral of negativity is to be grateful. Being grateful is one simple way to turn my day around and become positive about any situation I'm in. Because when it comes down to it, I am so grateful to be physically able to run, swim, and bike. I am so grateful to have Marci as my friend and training partner who constantly motivates me and helps me stay positive when I'm feeling bad.
Yes, life can be extremely difficult. We can get thrown things that seem impossible, or have one thing after another fail. And yes, there are times when we will be negative, but I've learned that a lot of times its all about my attitude and my choices. I can choose to be negative, or I can choose to be positive. I can choose to be angry and upset, or I can choose to be happy and grateful.
Rich Roll (of The Rich Roll Podcast) and his wife Julie Piatt have a great podcast called The Transformative Power of Practicing Gratitude. I highly recommend you listen to it if you are struggling with finding ways to be grateful. Even if you aren't struggling give it a listen - it is very uplifting and makes you think about things a little differently.
So now that you've learned to be positive, how do you deal with others who are negative?
Most of the time the negativity coming from others directed at you is deeper than anything you can control. It stems from unhappiness with their own lives and their choices.
Travis Eliot - The Ultimate Yogi - "I am not a victim, I am empowered."
Feeling like a victim is an easy way to go through life - blaming others for one's misfortunes is easier than taking responsibility for one's own actions and thoughts. When I start feeling like a victim during a situation I'm in, I try to stop and say, am I really a victim? What can I do to change this? Sometimes the answer doesn't come right away, and sometimes that answer takes time to make things better, but there's always a way. When I start to think productively, that I CAN change things, I immediately start to feel better - even if I don't know how to change things right away. Knowing that I have control is a huge first step.
I've been around some very negative people. Nothing makes them happy, nothing in the world is good, and everything is a pain. What fun to be around! The day can start off happy and exciting, and after being around this person all day long, the day ends hopeless and exhausting. And what do you do? When its your job and it is someone you have to deal with every day, how do you get by without losing your sanity? Or how do you deal with those people who are on a daily emotion roller coaster - one moment they're laughing, the next they're complaining? Many times I just have to look inside and remind myself that those actions are not directed at me, they are stemmed from something deep inside that person, so I shake it off and continue with my life. Because again, I can only control my actions, not those of others around me. I can choose how to react and sometimes that makes all the difference.