Photo: Author Jeff Emmerson with the first snowfall in October, 2006 (right after starting the book that became Beyond ADHD, though he had no idea at the time). Working many emotionally exhausting labor jobs, he was a man with a dream. Jeff went on to sign his first book deal exactly ten years later!
There Will Always Be Negativity Around (In Many Forms)
This needs to be said first – once we accept and consciously acknowledge this fact, we’ll be better with recognizing it when it rears its head and dealing with it as needed each and every time. The tricky part can be recognizing the differences between constructive criticism, projection of people’s fears and failures put on us and other forms of toxic negativity that exist. Some are more subtle than others, so don’t worry about not “knowing it all.” None of us are perfect. Just be aware and protect your internal sense of self-worth very stubbornly.
The Root of Negativity Can Be From The Inside, Too!
This one can take years to recognize, as it did for me. The inner anger and self-loathing that began in childhood with my mother’s emotional cunning and instability really, REALLY showed up in negative ways as I grew into adulthood, for example. More than once the police were contacted in past relationships, I confess (I’m very open about what happened in those instances, by the way), which made me feel absolutely horrible about myself and the fact that I had something “wrong” with me that desperately needed to be addressed in therapy.
This is just one example of toxic negativity being from the inside, not from others around us. It’s important to be aware of both.
Overcoming Negativity Comes Down To Self-Honesty, Daily Routines, Your Self-Talk and Having a Growth Mindset
Obviously I can’t go into a ton of detail given the fact that blog posts aren’t supposed to be too long, but overall, it really does come down to being consciously aware of your day to day mindset! Nothing changed my life more than a few “light bulb” moments over time – moments like learning what positive self-talk and growth mindset are, learning about a concept called “compassion-focused therapy,” learning to say no when necessary and not try to please everyone and letting go of the need to be “perfect,” whatever the hell that even is.
Each of us are different, so as I always say, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all way that works for all of us, but the key is to keep going, learning and growing! Do it your way and do it with self-compassion, growth mindset (Carol Dweck’s book called Mindset explains this concept beautifully) and an open mind to facing the tough stuff from your past (if you have it, which most of us do to some degree).
The more you invest in facing your past and your current thought and behavior patterns, the more you’re going to be successful in every area of life. Seriously – even after a suicide attempt and feeling like a complete friggin’ failure, I crawled my way to success brick by brick, day by day, year by year. In fact, it took committing myself to the local hospital locked mental health unit at one point, and that was just one of several points where I was at my wits’ end.
KEEP GOING – Don’t make excuses – do the damn work! That said, get help and support if you need it (like I have numerous times throughout my life) to help you do the necessary work to grow. I promise you it works when you work it.
Above all, be gentle on yourself as you go – it isn’t a race. While others choose toxic, habitual negativity and wonder why they’re miserable, lead by example and break the chains in your own life, brick by brick. TAKE ACTION. So many talk the talk but don’t step up (instead they endlessly complain). Don’t be one of them – that’s a shitty way to live.
Yours in fierce purpose,