Have you given any thoughts on your New Year resolution? Yes, I know that Christmas is right around the corner and it won’t be long until New Year’s Day. However, it is never too early to give thoughts to what you’d like to change about yourself. One popular idea to steer away from negativity.
It sounds easy; however, it is a lot harder than one may think. The truth is, you can’t avoid negativity. It is all over social media, in our home, on television. There is simply no escaping the negativity of other people.
Yet, you can do something about your own negativity. I would like to offer some insights into dealing with personal negativity. You don’t have to live with it. First, it would help to have a healthy perspective on negativity.
No negativity should never mean a fear of telling the truth. In saying this, I need to give a caution. There is a difference between layering the truth with kindness and bluntly whacking people over the head. Here is a perfect illustration.
In my area, people are taking advantage of switching over to natural gas. For many people, their electric bill is quite high. I have a very poor sense of smell. Let’s say I am considering the switch over to natural gas and I talked about it, with a friend. I’m saying that I’d love to do it. Did you catch my hint about my sense of smell?
If my friends say that it would be a bad idea for me and points to my sense of smell then my friend is not being negative. He is telling the truth and he honestly cares about me. You see, if there is a gas leak then I won’t be able to smell it. I could run the risk dying due to the leak.
Do you get my point? It is better, to tell the truth; even if it seems negative. It is better an open rebuke than hidden love. I’d rather someone says the switch over to gas is a bad idea then blindly go along because he is afraid of being negative.
Does this mean I get to confront people with a baseball bat? No, there is a world of difference between a rebuke delivered in anger than a rebuke that employs honey. Have you not heard? Proverbs 16:21-24 tells of the value of using kindness when dispensing medicine.
21 The wise in heart will be called understanding,
And sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness.
22 Understanding is a fountain of life to one who has it,
But the discipline of fools is folly.
23 The heart of the wise instructs his mouth
And adds persuasiveness to his lips.
24 Pleasant words are a honeycomb,
Sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.
Let’s take the above statements, a step further. Do you know the difference between a constructive criticism and a destructive criticism? Destructive criticisms only serve to tear people down and they help no one. Some people may think they are being helpful; however, they are not helpful.
Some time ago, I had an interest in joining IHOP in Kansas City, MO. No, I am not talking about International House Of Pancake; rather it is International House of Prayer. There is just one catch. Last I recall, they employ the use of music and singing in their prayer session. Guess who is not a singer? A good friend pointed this out and persuaded me, not to go. My friend kindly spoke the truth.
It is true that I enjoy singing; however, I am not a singer. This type of treatment is way different from someone saying I sing like a cat swallowed a canary. She may have been joking; however, it has never been received as a joke. My friend did not model negativity; however, the other person is being quite negative.
If you are going to follow the path of “no negativity” then I will encourage you to keep in mind the differences between the two types of criticisms. Don’t be afraid to say something in the spirit of love and kindness. It would help to offer alternative solutions.
It is time to deal with the next issue in overcoming negativity. What issue is that? It is the natural tendency to be critical of other people. It happens when someone does not measure up to our opinions or expectations. For some people, they are unusually tuned into the flaws of other people and they fail to see their own shortcomings.
Take care that you don’t fall into that trap. For it is how one starts down the path of negativity. It helps to understand that a person who is critical of other people; they are sometimes critical of themselves. How can you counter this tendency in yourself?
You could practice the art of encouraging others. Ask God to give you, a new set of lens to see people. Don’t be afraid to ask Jesus for help. Better yet, you could ask these questions. “How do you see this person, Jesus? What can I say that would be of help?”
This tactic requires humility and a willingness to listen. It will require practice in distinguishing the three types of voices in your head. There is a distinct difference between the accusing voice of Satan and the gentle quiet voice of the Holy Spirit. Jesus is in the business of redeeming broken humanity and not destroying people, with accusations. Don’t be afraid to ask Jesus for help.
Here are my final thoughts on “no negativity”. For some, no negativity is centered on saying positive things and avoiding corrupt words. It sounds good; however, it is quite false.
It is not hard to mask our words and feign a positive attitude towards other people. I have seen it, too many time. Here is the key point. It is not the words you speak; rather it is the content of your heart. If your heart is filled with good treasure then it will be easier to speak gracious words.
How can you fill your heart with good treasures; so you can speak sincere words of encouragement? You can begin by asking the Holy Spirit to fill your heart with the fruits of the Spirit. What are these fruits? You can read all about it in Galatians 5:22-23:
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
As the Holy Spirit cultivate these fruits in your heart, it will become easier to see other people, as God sees them. Just so you will know. It will take time and continue to grow in these fruits. It’s not a one time deal.
I hope this article proves to be a blessing and helps you with fulfilling your own resolution to say no to negativity. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!