How Do You Overcome Negativity?
One of the keys to cultivating hope in your life is knowing how to handle the negativity that’s coming in.
I want to highlight seven steps that we can do proactively in our response to the negativity that comes to us.
Identify the source. Sometimes the source is another person. Sometimes it could be the news that you’re watching too much of or even something on your phone. It could be people’s comments or an app that you need to create some distance from.
Set a limit and put a boundary there. If there’s negativity always coming in that means the garbage is always coming in and eventually, garbage is probably coming out. So restrict the amount of negativity that’s coming your way through some wise decisions around distance and limits.
You’ve got to delete the old tapes. Sometimes we’re hardest on ourselves. We’re harder on ourselves than we are on other people. We remember negative things in the past. You replay the video in your mind, the audio is running through your mind all day and you’ve got to get rid of some of it.
“I don’t need these anymore. These are not good. These are not helpful. These are not from God. I’m not going to believe these, embrace these, entertain these anymore. I’m going to get rid of them.”
Just like you take things to the dump. You take them to the junkyard, you throw them in the garbage and then there’s no retrieving them. “I’m not going back. I don’t want to go backward. The old tapes are gonna hold me back from my potential. And the negativity in the old tapes is not who I am, and doesn’t align with my identity.” So get rid of those old tapes.
This is something we all wrestle with. We all want to be liked. We all want to be commended. Here’s the danger: if you’re waiting for everyone to like you, it’s not gonna happen. If you’re thinking everyone’s going to approve, it’s not going to happen. You can do the right thing and people will throw so much shade at you, even though you’re doing the right thing.
Like you’re loving people, you’re faithful, you’re kind. They’ll twist it. They’ll raise questions and criticize your motives, even though they know your motives. Right? They will come up with something, but it’s not about you. It’s often about them and where they’re at. It’s their worldview. It’s their hurt. It’s what they’re trying to project on you.
So when you get rid of the desire to keep everyone happy, where everyone likes you, everyone approves. Now you can live out and you can have freedom because you’re no longer bound by those expectations. And you’re not playing that game anymore. You’re jumping off, there’s something better. There’s something you can step into.
If you’re in a trap right now, where you’re trying to please everybody you’re going to carry resentment. You’re not going to be authentic. You’re not going to be who you are. You’re not going to go for it with the mission. And instead, you’re gonna get those people too much power because you’re trying to play the game of keeping them happy. And it’s holding you back from all that God has designed you to be. So drop the approval ratings.
When people criticize you or critique you or they bring some comments that feel negative, you’ve got to sort through that and be honest. I try to walk through it in a way that I can ask the question: is there any truth in their comment?
If there’s truth in that comment, it is valuable. It might hurt. Ouch. That helps. It doesn’t feel good at first. It feels like maybe they were too harsh. But then push aside your sensitivity and just think through, is there any truth? Maybe I have a blind spot. Maybe it’s something I didn’t realize I’m doing unintentionally, but there’s a lot of learning and growth that can happen through negative comments. Sometimes there’s some truth in the middle of the hate that they’re thrown at you. Take that truth as valuable. Learn from it, grow from it, and make some shifts and changes in your life. It’s actually a gift when people speak truth.
The negativity can actually fuel you and bring new motivation. It can forge a character in different ways. And you can have the determination to move forward that grows stronger. Sometimes when there’s opposition and negativity. It reminds me that you know, there’s a great purpose here and we’re not going to stop because of a couple of comments or opinions. In fact, it can just fuel you towards the next level, towards moving forward, towards being closer to God. Towards loving people, more towards a character that has integrity, whatever drives you forward, that’s good. That’s okay to use it as motivation.
It’s so important in life to identify your purpose. Connect purpose and passion. You have a purpose. You are designed by a maker, you’re made in God’s image. He’s given you a good purpose. He’s given you resources and abilities. And when you identify that purpose, then you can start to walk in that purpose.
Guard that purpose. People are going to build you up in that purpose. They’re going to notice it and they’re going to bring comments to confirm and affirm the purpose in your life. It’s your why and your why is greater than the negativity that’s coming.
So even though it hurts when criticism comes, you return to your purpose and your why. It’s helpful to write it down. I like to write mine down. This is why I think I’m on Earth. This is why or how I can make a difference. And when I locked into that. It doesn’t matter if the obstacles are intense. I’m going to keep moving forward because I know what God’s called me to do and what He’s leading me to do. Identify that purpose, define it, and come back to it often, especially in times when you’re feeling low.
Resentment is a poison. Bitterness is a poison. You shouldn’t be trying to get revenge on anyone. When you have unforgiveness. If you carry hatred, you’re going to bring the very negativity you’re trying to step away from. It’s easy to imitate. It’s easy to bring negativity in the same way that people bring it to you.
If someone gossips and slanders about you, don’t go gossip and slander about that. That’s not gonna move you towards health. Dropping resentment doesn’t mean that what they’re doing is okay. But it means that I know I’m secure in God’s love. God forgives me, I’m gonna forgive other people. I’m just gonna trust God with the final say and with justice. I’m going to trust God.
And the whole topic of revenge is all God’s. It’s not mine. It’s not my role. So I’m gonna let go of that. My burdens are gonna flee and I’m gonna walk a little lighter. I’m not gonna carry those burdens. I’m gonna give it to God. And let go of resentment. And that’s the key in negativity.
I’ll tell you that’s why Jesus is so important because when he forgives your sin, then you know you can forgive everyone else and you should fully forgive them. Jesus prayed on the cross “forgive them for they know not what they do.” And when you receive His grace in your life, now you’re gonna be empowered to forgive other people in a fresh way.
These seven steps: overcoming negativity. Here’s the good news. In the Bible, it says “even though they meant it for evil, God turned that around for good.” In those moments when someone’s just vicious and cruel towards you, God’s grace is going to show up and he’s going to be with you. And he’ll use it in some positive ways. Even though it’s tragic, it’s wrong. He’ll still redeem it.
And I’ve seen God do it in my life. I was sick for a year fighting for my life. 10 years to fully recover and that’s what I grew the most. Even though it was a negative time, God did a deep work on the inside.
Ultimately it’s displayed by Jesus. He died on the cross for our sins. He’s risen three days later. The negativity, the murder, the injustice, He turned it into salvation for the world. And God has a way of taking what starts out so negative, and because of his goodness and power and His love for you, he’s gonna bring positive things. Thank God for what he does.
When the negativity comes in. Let’s be faithful to walk through these practical steps. It’ll make a difference in your life and daily living by overcoming negativity.
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