Tackle negativity before it overtakes you

  • Rekha Murali
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Does every other week day feel like Monday? Are you dragging your feet to office every morning with aches and pains which disappear during the weekend? Do you go through the day at work with irritation and anger wanting to chuck it all out?

If you have answered ‘yes’ to the above questions, one major concern would be the negativity you are harbouring towards your company and co-workers! It is time to change!

Negativity creeps into your mind like slow poison before you are even aware of it. It affects everyone you interact with at work.

Negativity in an individual can be due to both internal and external causes.

A person may have some deeply embedded negative traits that spring to the surface through negative behaviour. These traits may have formed due to ‘conditioned thinking’ that takes place in early childhood in the family environment.

The perception of such a person is negative and he/she often tends to paint a gloomy picture of everything. This can also affect one’s communication style in an adverse way. Besides these, personal worries and stressors can also play havoc with people’s lives, pulling them down.

Sometimes, even if a person is positive by nature, external circumstances at the workplace such as heavy stressful workload and poor communication skills could affect him/her negatively. There may be a need to put in extra effort at work, which may be beyond his/her capacity.

Sometimes, the individual could be a misfit at the job or the job itself may not be challenging enough. Lack of appreciation and recognition is also another cause for a person’s dejection affecting his/her performance.

Whatever the cause, negativity can be chronic or temporary. Chronic negativity has to be dealt with seriously while temporary negativity could just be there ‘one of those days’!

Either way, as an individual, how can you keep yourself way from pessimism and negative attitude? First of all, learn to separate your personal life and professional life.

Leave all the personal negative issues at the door when you enter the office, looking at your work environment as a new chapter every day! Similarly, work and work-related issues should not be carried back home to the family.

Nothing seems to work well, when there is negativity! You carry with you a feeling of foreboding and despair. Check if the cause is a situation, a person or if it is within you.

If it is a situation, make a conscious effort to convert your complaints into positive and constructive criticism without whining and harping on the negative aspects with your co-worker or boss. For instance, you may face a situation where a client rejects your report and wants it to be approached in a different way.

Instead of getting upset and defensive, you could think of how best you can bring in the changes and view the entire experience as a learning process. This will improve your skills on the job leading to better performance.

Also, bear in mind that you should not try to mend things based on your perception (which could be negative) of the situation. Sometimes, you may wonder what the other person is thinking and feeling, assuming the worst. Instead, focus only on what truly needs repair without judgement and negative assumptions.

Sometimes, you feel the office environment is promoting negativity in you. For instance, if you have a whining colleague, you can give him/her a patient hearing, check if he/she needs help in resolving an issue and provide ideas on how to deal with it. Sometimes, your friend may only want to vent his/her feelings, so just lend your ears.

But, ensure that the whining doesn’t pull you into a whirlpool of negativity.

If it is a situation that affects you as a person or if you are yourself feeling negative, look for reasons within you. Negativity can be tackled using self-talk and self-enquiry. Question yourself on why you are feeling negative?

What is it in a situation that gives rise to feelings of negativity? Look for answers within. Deep enquiry may reveal that somewhere in the past you witnessed and nurtured negativity that has not healed.

There may be some imbalance within you because of some wounds of the past. As Michael LeBoeuf, a speaker and author says, “The world is your mirror and your mind is a magnet. What you perceive in this world is largely a reflection of your own attitudes and beliefs.”

Sometimes, things don’t seem to align with what you are truly feeling inside. This is because all the negativity you see outside is a reflection of an inner battle inside you.

Remember that negativity breeds negativity.

Hence, the power to tackle it and change yourself is in your hands. Accept gratefully what life offers you and face it with a positive attitude.

Rekha Murali




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