Negativity and why it hurts
The topic for this post is not really negativity. It is more about the fact that negativity can hold you back. And what does that have to do with blogging? Well, for those of us who have been at it a while, more than I would care to admit. Negativity comes in various shapes and packages, and needless to say, it is never a positive thing. There are so many positives about blogging and the little corner of the internet that we are occupying here, but there is also more negativity than is productive so this post is about addressing that, finding your way through it, and not allowing the negativity to hold you back.
Negative people need drama like oxygen. Stay positive, it will take their breath away.
One of the nice things about blogging is community. We meet others, share our experience and find things in common. This is an amazing feeling and although our own community evolves naturally in terms of our readers, there are other groups and communities out there that we can become part of almost by default. When finding a community or building your own, it makes sense to choose one which seems to align with the things which are important to you. Where there is drama there is usually negativity. While you may be the silent observer of this initially, it will take work not to become drawn in.
If you attach to the negative behavior of others it brings you down to their level.Guru Singh
Remaining positive when you are surrounded by negativity is hard. In the end it can rub off and it can fuel your own fears. Jim Rohn, entrepreneur and motivational speaker once said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” It stands to reason then that if you surround yourself with negative people it will ultimately bring you down rather than boosting yourself up. This is because rather than being positive with you and feeling their own positivity to see things in a negative light becomes the norm.
But how can this affect your blog?
It is for this reason that expressing yourself in a negative way will not draw others to you. If you are blogging about your real life experiences then you want to be authentic and that will mean presenting a balanced view. Life will not always go according to plan and anyone reading will be aware of that. Expressing negative things which happen is fine. What you want to do, however, is also present a positive in terms of how you managed it. You want your readers to nod wisely thinking yes I know this feeling exactly and can relate. Ah ok. So that gives me an idea of what I can do about it.
Part of this outlook is about having a growth mindset. The idea of growth versus fixed mindset was the work of Carol Dweck, a psychologist at Stamford University. Since then Dweck’s theory has been used in many contexts but essentially it was founded around the idea that to see personality, intelligence etc as fixed things leads to achieving less than if you see them as being changeable. I have written about growth mindset before on my own blog, but applied to blogging, it will allow you to grow and your blog to grow with you.
There are loads of great articles on growth mindset and how to retrain yourself to see possibilities and opportunities rather than allowing problems and barriers. Whether this is applied to the content that you use for your blog or the way that you approach making your blog and blogging into whatever you want it to be for you, thinking this way will make a difference in terms of what you are able to achieve. Clearly having a growth mindset won’t mean that you are immediately successful, but it means that you learn from the times that things don’t work and you re-frame that and start again.
How can I have a growth mindset
A lot of our behaviour is learnt and it has been practiced by us for many years. Thought patterns become set and, although we can change our thinking, it is damn hard work to do so. But we have a growth mindset so we can change it, right?
The first thing to do is to change your internal dialogue. Instead of focussing on limitations, think about the opportunities. Be realistic but try to see I can and not I can’t. If you tell yourself that it is worth giving something a go and can work through you fears of getting it wrong or it nor working out, you remove the power from those negative thoughts. Our thoughts determine our feelings, so once our thoughts become more positive, then we will feel more positive too.
Once you have changed your internal dialogue, changing your external dialogue will make a big difference. Instead of telling people that you don’t think you can do it, you are telling them you are giving it a go. They begin to change the way that they view you. They no longer see your limitations and see your possibilities instead and so will be more positive with you. While we tend to be attracted to positive, confident people, we don’t always reflect that back and can be quick to verbalise our own failures, so changing your behaviour will really set you on a more positive path.
At the end of the day, we are who we are but we can all try to be the best version of ourselves. Like so many things in life it end up being circular and if we think, feel and behave in a more positive way, that feed more positivity into our circle and it perpetuates itself. A negative circle will work in the same way. Equally well, a positive internal dialogue will lead to positive language which will draw other people into being more positive with you.
Be a radiator and not a drain
I have always felt that the expression, be a radiator and not a drain was quite apt. I like to surround myself with radiators and try my best to avoid the drains. You know the type? You walk past and like a dementor they seem to suck the very life force from you? On the other hand, being a radiator where you can radiate not just your own positivity but the positivity of others will create a positive space where others want to visit time and time again.