We live in a negative world.
Maybe it’s always been this way but it seems worse because of social media. I don’t really know. But closer to home, I look back and see that I’ve always been surrounded by negative people. I didn’t know any different as I was growing up, but as an adult, I can see it now.
Remember Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh? He was always expecting and waiting for the worst. He’s cute in the stories, but I don’t think I could hang out with him for long periods of time.
And then I realized… I do have Eeyores in my life. I always have. Maybe you do too.
I think I might have even been Eeyore-like. After all, it’s how I grew up. So, when I encountered negative people, their behavior didn’t seem that out of line. Then, over the years, as I started to really see God’s work in my life, I also began to see everyday life differently. I know bad things happen, but waiting for them seemed pointless. Worrying about what might happen tomorrow means I either worry for no reason when it doesn’t happen, or I’ve spent extra time worrying before it was necessary. Worry for tomorrow takes away from today.
But, let’s face it, we will spend time with people who spend most of their time worrying. So, what can we do when we feel like we’re surrounded by negativity and encounter Eeyores on a regular basis?How do you stay positive when you're surrounded by negativity? Find Laura's answer here… Click To Tweet
4 Ways To Stay Positive
I’ve had to come up with some ways to keep from following others down a pessimistic road. Perhaps they will help you stay positive as well.
It can be really draining to be around negative people. No matter how glass-half-full people we are, the glass-completely-empty-with-a-hole-in-it people can be tiring. Pray for the strength to stand strong against always looking for what’s wrong. Very few days are perfect, but whatever we focus on soon outweighs everything else. If we look only at what’s not going right, it quickly becomes all we can see.
Pray also for the negative person. Maybe it’s a prayer that she’ll begin to see with clear eyes. Or maybe it’s simply a request for God to walk with that person. Only He knows someone’s heart.
2.) Get Some Space
I know this isn’t always easy, or even possible. Family members and coworkers might keep us in close quarters and small offices. If you’re at home, go to a different room for a while, take a walk, or hide in the bathroom if you have to. Negativity feeds on negativity. The more one person can get others grumbling the faster it spreads. Be the one who doesn’t join in the complaints or gossip.
Try to get some space between you and others. There have been times I’ve had to push back against getting dragged into a negative conversation at work. It meant moving away to complete a different task by myself, but it helped to keep my mood from turning sour.
3.) Make Your Own Choice
It’s taken me a long time to realize this… just because one person is in a bad mood or has a lousy attitude doesn’t mean I have to assume that burden. Some people choose to be grumpy because it’s an easy default reaction. That’s their choice, but it doesn’t have to be our choice as well. Fight to stay positive. I don’t mean being fake, but rather not letting someone else drag you down just because that’s where they are.
Sometimes we need to get a little distance, either physical (see above) or mentally and emotionally. I think we quickly learn who likes to rain on our parade and who wants to encourage others. It’s natural to want to share good news or a funny story with someone, but if history has shown that person to consistently try to ruin what you share, refrain from telling her. I know it can be difficult. We want to share, but if we don’t want someone to ruin our good mood, we shouldn’t give her the chance to do so.
4.) Pray Some More
I’m intentionally listing prayer again. Dealing with chronically negative people takes its toll. No matter how hard we fight to not let it affect us, there’ll be days when it will drain us. Stay close to God. Let Jesus be the one you talk to. Pray for strength and energy to keep going despite who or what tries to drag you down.
Remember God’s work in your life and don’t let anyone take that knowledge away from you. When other people can’t see His work in their lives, they will often try to tell you that He’s not at work in yours either. It doesn’t matter what they think. What matters is what you know to be true—God is a work at all times and in all circumstances, even when we’re not sure what He’s doing. We probably won’t be able to convince the Eeyores that God is at work in their lives too, but maybe someday they’ll be able to see it. In the meantime, they can continue to look for the dark rain clouds… while we carry umbrellas and sing in the rain.
How Do You Stay Positive?
So what about you? Do you have any Eeoyres in your life? How do you stay positive?