Negativity is an invisible toxin that slowly moves in, becoming a part of our daily lives before we even realize it. The worst part is, it seems to be contagious. The more we’re surrounded by negativity, the more negative we ourselves become.
In Chapter 2 of his new book, Think Like a Monk, Jay Shetty recalls how his time living as a monk made him very sensitive to gossip and negativity. Instead of allowing himself to become gradually desensitized to it, he tried steering the gossip towards something positive. It worked! Gradually, people around him recognized his dislike for gossip and changed their behavior.
Complaining, comparison, and criticism are other examples of the negativity we’re assaulted with every day. It’s so easy to walk into a negativity trap, especially when our circumstances feel uncertain or challenging.
“We have three core emotional needs, which I like to think of as peace, love, and understanding,” writes Jay Shetty. “Negativity – in conversations, emotions, and actions – often springs from a threat to one of the three needs: a fear that bad things are going to happen, a fear of not being loved, or a fear of being disrespected.”
These negative feelings then come out in the form of complaints, comparisons, and criticism. All three are dangerous traps to fall into because they cause us to forget the blessings we have in our own lives.
We all have that one friend who can turn a quick call into a venting session about anything and everything under the sun. How do you avoid getting dragged down by someone else’s negativity?
“We are social creatures who get most of what we want in life–peace, love, and understanding–from the group that surrounds us,” Jay Shetty writes. He continues, “We like to be surrounded by other people and have people close to us. Our brains are capable of adjusting and acclimating to both harmony and disagreement. We will always unconsciously try to please others and agree with others.”
Negativity can find us in many forms. In Chapter 2 of Think Like a Monk, Jay Shetty stated that it’s important to be aware of the many forms of negativity. This helps us better deal with negativity when it appears. Here is a list of common forms of negativity:
- Complainers. Complainers find something wrong with anything. Nothing will ever be good enough or right for them.
- Cancellers. Cancellers spin compliments into a negative and do not allow the positivity of the original complement to sink in.
- Casualties. Casualties will feel that the world is against them and nothing they do will change that.
- Critics. Critics find fault with everyone they come across and will judge them incessantly.
- Commanders. Commanders know their limits, but they pressure others and presume they can meet near-impossible demands.
- Competitors. Competitors are constantly complaining and comparing themselves to others.
- Controllers. Controllers set out to control everyone they can and shape their world for themselves.
Negativity can come in many forms. Sometimes, we don’t even realize it at first when negativity comes at us. When we know the different types of negativity we are commonly faced with, we can better prepare ourselves to handle them. Grab your copy of Think Like a Monk to finish Chapter 2 and learn how Jay Shetty handles external and internal negativity so it doesn’t begin to affect his mindset.