10 Ways To Fight Against Negativity
Or maybe it’s your own attitude that stays in the negative zone. Everything is difficult, no one cares and something terrible is probably about to happen. What is there to be positive about? No one understands, anyway.
We live in a world that fosters negativity. We can grouse on the phone, complain in person and pour anger and frustration into almost-anonymous social media platforms. There are so many avenues to vent our negativity into the world, and many of us do so without even thinking.
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Philippians 4:8
If we follow Paul’s guidelines here for what to think about, we shouldn’t have negativity festering in our minds and hearts to begin with. What starts in the mind quickly moves to the heart, then to the mouth and typing fingers, and then into the world. What does this negativity say about our testimony in Christ, when we can be just as angry and frustrated as the rest of the world, the people who don’t have a relationship with Him?
Now that our actively searching our hearts and minds for any traces of negativity, let’s look at a few ways to fight back and rid our lives of all that junk.
1. Think before you speak. There’s enough negativity in the world without adding to it. Make sure the words you use are powerful and life-giving.
2. Remove all grouse-ing words from your vocabulary for one whole day, or hour, or the next few minutes. If you’re in the habit of focusing on the bad, this may be incredibly difficult, but my prayer is that we will all give those attitudes to the Lord and receive His strength when we need it most.
3. Step back from a less-than-perfect situation before you get all worked up inside. We can’t always just leave the room when we feel a rant coming on, but we can walk away from the conversation mentally and emotionally before negativity gets in the way.
4. Keep a running list of everything you’re grateful for. Use the Notes program on your phone or carry a small notebook in your purse. When you’re tempted to add fuel to the negativity fire, write down three things that you’re thankful for. Focus on God and His faithfulness instead of what is lacking in you, the people around you or in your life.
5. Immerse yourself in the word of God so you’re wearing His full armor in these negative times. We can’t fight the enemy on our own, but we can be prepared and protected for the battle. Read through Ephesians 6:10-18 and see how many pieces of spiritual armor you have in place.
But what about if the negativity is coming from someone else? We may not always be the source of anger, frustration and even hatred. We can’t control other people’s emotions and attitudes, but we can change our reactions and input in the heat of the moment.
1. Respond to negative words with positive words. Go back to that list in Philippians 4:8 and reread all the things we’re supposed to be thinking about. If we’re in the habit of thinking and learning uplifting words and encouragement, we have some spiritual ammunition when negativity strikes.
2. Pray specifically for negative people, asking for a change of heart or a state of conviction, whichever is needed most. We’ve all seen God work miracles in hearts and lives, so use the power of prayer to make a real difference in your home, your workplace and the world around you.
3. Help wherever you can, but understand that you cannot change someone else’s negative attitude - only the Holy Spirit can do that. It’s hard to admit we can’t do something, but this one just isn’t in our wheelhouse. What we can do is be salt and light in a world that is desperate for it.
4. If possible, point out the negative words and actions to the other person. There are some situations where this isn’t a good idea (times when it wouldn’t be seen in a positive way by that person), so pray that the Holy Spirit will give you boldness and opportunity to stand firm in those negative situations.
5. Be consistent in your own spiritual life. If you’re not giving in to the negativity and poor attitudes, people will notice. They’ll see that you’re not grousing on social media, gossiping at the water cooler or telling your friends every tiny thing that goes wrong. The biggest difference you can make happens when you stand firm in your beliefs, and God will bless you for that faithfulness.
What situations will you be in today where negativity tends to pop up? At home? At work? At lunch with friends? When you’re alone? Fight back with the word of God. Read Philippians 4:8 again. Commit it to memory. Share your battle plan over negativity with God and with someone who can help you pray about this hindrance. Then you’ll be ready to start the week in a positive and uplifting way.