Have you noticed that negative comments and events stick with you much longer, and influence you more than positive ones?
I’m sure you’ve experienced this quite a few times. A positive comment by a teacher for example is appreciated, but the effects wear off quickly. A negative comment on the other hand sticks with you much longer. UGH
Why is that? It’s because our brains have a bias to the negative. It’s measurable and there have been brain scan studies done that show that our brain reacts more strongly to negative stimuli. The big question then is how do we fight against our brain’s bias to negativity?
What we can do to make sure negative remarks and criticism don’t get us down.
The first step is to realize there is such a thing. This allows you to take each piece of negativity with a grain of salt. It can be incredibly helpful to acknowledge that your mind and heart may be overreacting about something negative. On the flip side, this knowledge also allows us to make it a point to savor the positivity. Don’t dismiss a compliment out of hand. Instead, savor it, think about it, and make it a point to remember it, and allow it to lift you up when negativity brings you down.
Of course, all of this is easier said than done. Since this bias to negativity is hard wired in our brains, it takes a lot of time and effort to build new, more positive habits. Remind yourself each morning that your mind is trying to force you to focus on the negative stuff and that it takes a conscious effort to balance it out by being mindful off all the good and happy things in our lives.
Over time this will allow you to grow a thicker skin when it comes to unwarranted criticism. Should you ignore every single comment or suggestion that you don’t like? Of course not. There is such a thing as constructive criticism that helps you grow and get better at what you do. What you need to guard against are the negative words, events, and feelings that make you go hide in a cave. You don’t want to encourage inaction in yourself. Instead, you want to use the positivity around you to lift you up and help you make it through the tough times, get stronger, and get better at what you do.
Reflecting on both the good and the bad on a daily basis can be a great exercise to help you gain a little distance and see everything that’s happening in your life in a better light. Keep a journal or set aside some time for quiet contemplation. Talking things out with a friend, particularly when you’re struggling with something negative that you’ve having a hard time getting past is another great idea.
Above all, do what you can to outweigh the negativity with the good stuff. Keep a box or file with some of the best positive emails and comments you’ve gotten. Peruse through them whenever you need to counteract something negative. As time goes by you’ll grow that that thicker skin that will protect you from your harshest critics.
This is day 11 in the challenge. Start at the beginning and get a daily email reminder by signing up HERE.
Working on our happiness together,
PS – you are worth all of this extra work you are doing 🙂