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Mental Health Monday – The Negativity Trap


Hey everyone!
I’m not even going to get into another long-winded explanation of how busy and crazy life has been and how blogging hasn’t really been possible and blah blah blah. Instead, we are just going to get right into today’s topic.

The negativity trap.

This post is one that I have wanted to write for almost a month now. However, due to life and emotional stuff and all that nonsense, it just hasn’t happened. Needless to say, I am super stoked to finally be able to sit down and write about this close to my heart topic.

So, this “negativity trap.” What exactly is it?

In a nutshell, the negativity trap is the phenomena that occurs when you surround yourself with others who have a negative attitude about a particular topic, or just life in general.

For example, say that you are talking to a friend and they are going on about a certain professor/teacher/employer that they just can’t stand. You are also a student/employee of this particular person, but you don’t have the same extreme opinion about them that your friend does. Heck, you may really even like this person.

So your friend is going on about how horrible this person is, how much they hate them, the whole nine yards. At first, you just let your friend vent without interjecting with your own personal opinion. However, this only works until you realize that your friend is actually expecting you to have an opinion as well.

Realizing this, you try to respond appropriately, while still not agreeing with the hateful views of your friend. Eventually, as your friend continues to go on, you find yourself agreeing more and more. In fact, you find yourself complaining about this particular person as well.

It’s strange, and it is something that I notice very frequently. It’s a bit like peer pressure… When you surround yourself with negativity, eventually you will find yourself giving into it.

So how do you handle this situation?

It’s trickier than you would think. You don’t agree with someone’s negative opinion? Just say so! …Right?

Not necessarily.

Unfortunately, us human beings have the tendency to let our ego control our thoughts an actions. We have some deeply routed need to fit in, to feel validated, supported. That being said, just because the ego wants to control us doesn’t mean that you have no choice but to succumb to it.

The goal of not just avoiding the negativity trap, but of life itself, is to achieve the highest level of self-actualization…. And a huge part of this is to let go of the ego, of the herd need, of the fear (that sometimes you don’t even know is there) that is making you give into the negativity that is attempting to make its way into your mind to alter your thinking.

See, it is so much easier to think in the same way as everyone else… And once you do fall into negativity, it is just a slippery slope. Negativity is infectious. But guess what? So is positivity.

It’s a difficult process, and it takes a lot of mental strength and control to avoid falling into the negativity trap. Going against the popular opinion is  difficult, it’s terrifying and uncomfortable. It takes practice, but I assure you that you will feel so much better if you stay true to your beliefs.

When we allow ourselves to give into negativity and allow others to project their thoughts and opinions (that we don’t actually agree with) on ourselves, we allow ourselves to be lesser than who we actually are.

Think about it for a second. Think of a time where you allowed someone else so put their opinion on you. Think of a time where you said something that you didn’t mean or agree with just to make someone else happy. How did you feel after the conversation ended? Did you feel guilt? Did you think, “Why did I say that?”

It’s not a good feeling.

Also, when we allow ourselves to fall into the negativity trap, we portray ourselves as something that we are not. When we surround ourselves with negativity, even if we are not thinking the same negative thoughts as our peers, we are lumped together with those that we surround ourselves with. When we agree with ideas that we don’t believe in and voice negative opinions that are not even our own, we project an image of being something that we are not. Fall into the negativity trap and you take on the image of being a negative person, and that is not who you are.

As I said earlier, it is definitely not easy to avoid falling into the negativity trap. It requires mental strength and control. It requires not allowing your thoughts and behaviors to be controlled by the ego. It requires a constant awareness and constant analyzations of your thoughts, words an actions.

There are always going to be times when you fall into this negativity trap. There will always be times when you let your guard down and let other’s thoughts and opinions warp your own. No one is perfect. However, in this life, the main mission is to become the greatest and most authentic version of yourself. It is a journey, and staying true to yourself even when you stand alone is just one step on this never-ending journey.

maslows-hierarchy

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