Most people ask me what they should do about other people’s negativity… but ultimately you can’t change anything there, you can only change yourself.
So, what can you do with your negativity?
There are permanent and temporary solutions. But even if you do permanent solutions, you will need to maintain mental hygiene, just like you need to wash your hands all the time, or cut your nails.
Temporary solutions work best if you have lots of discipline and are able to be self-aware close to 24/7.
The art is catching yourself in the act of negativity, and of course to do that you need to know all the ways negativity expresses itself. It’s a lot like weeding. Weeds are stronger than cultivated plants and grow faster too. Same is the situation with negativity.
Another similarity with weeds is that you can remove the top of the weed plant, or you can remove it from its deep roots.
A few years ago I took a sabbatical, and all summer I worked on a small patch of ground that was full of weeds. Had I suspected that the weeds spread by deeps horizontal shoots on the roots, I would have probably left the whole thing alone, but I didn’t, and once I declared war on the weeds I stuck with it. It was, for me: it is either the weeds, or me! And I needed all the energy from that battle-cry! Some roots were as deep as two feet, but I got to them, and I was relentless.
In the following years weeding was a once a week task, and it worked. I completely pulled those darn roots. It was probably also important that I planted a strong ground-cover type of vegetation.
This second type of weeding is the “Permanent” solution, you pull the roots and you establish an environment that is not conducive for the negativity to re-establish itself. You still need to be mindful and pick out the occasional negative thoughts you catch but
- the new ground cover: new beliefs and feelings will leave less room for negativity
- your accomplishments, your relationships that are suddenly nurturing, your health that is suddenly robust will keep negativity away from you.