How To Find Balance Between Positivity And Negativity
Living a life of balance comes from understanding concepts and yourself.
Balance is something that we all want to achieve in life. Balancing work and play, stress and calmness, relationships and obligations. Balance seems to be that keyword that makes us feel our life is “optimized” and that we can push forward knowing everything is going to be alright.
This way of thinking may very well be why people are thinking these days are more chaotic than they ever have been.
That or maybe they realize it really is when you take a look around right now.
Regardless, finding some balance between positivity and negativity could restore some sanity into our lives and help us weather the storm that is COVID-19. After all, whether we are positive or negative can help us parse through information and help us decide how to act during these times.
Understand How And Why You Gravitate Towards Either Side
The first step is to understand why we gravitate towards being negative or positive in the first place. From my own experiences, our emotions tend to follow similar pathways to habits or sequence of activities. There is often a common instance that causes us to think a certain way.
For example, I tend to be overly negative when I receive flashes of past memories that left negative impressions. For me, it’s things that I wish I did differently like say something different or stood up for someone or something.
Broadly speaking, we all have a tendency to lean more towards the negative side of our lives more than anything. Even now with all of the doom and gloom, it’s easy for us to cling to those ideals and indulge in further negativity without doubting anything.
Why is that?
It comes down to how we are wired. We all have negative biases in our lives.
This bias is the reason for us feeling the sting of insults or criticisms more than compliments or praise.
It’s the reason for us recalling past traumas more often than warm memories.
And why we’re faster to respond to negative events than positive ones.
By understanding this bias, it makes sense why people act the way they act.
We recall the bullies in our lives or the ‘terrible manager’ who never gives credit and points out all our faults.
We remember the losses in our lives better than past memories or experiences we’ve had with them.
A black American gets murdered by white cops. There are several peaceful protests that are out on the streets despite a pandemic wracking the country. Once they were shown violence, people have gone to screaming and yelling and eventually jumped to “Defund the police”.
It is so easy for us to cling to all those negative events and why the media these days is so effective. After all, many use the tactics of fear-mongering to keep people in check and to keep watching. Because negativity is sexy.
On the other side, positivity is something we have to train ourselves to lean towards. It’s not something we automatically move to as we love bad news, gossip, and other negative triggers more than any other positive trigger.
But I feel that by understanding generally why we move to those sorts of things can help us. After all, we can then build a system to help us move to the other side whenever we choose.
There Is No Good Or Bad Side
The system that I use to get to that positive side is the realization that there is no good or bad side to begin with. This is something that I’ve reminded myself over and over again and it’s been something that I’ve personally explored.
Negativity isn’t as bad as we think it is. On the flip side, not all positivity is great as we think it is either.
Negativity could easily be attributed to why I’m going to the gym on a regular basis or why I even started this personal journey to begin with. It all started 10 years ago when I hopped onto a plane and travelled to the other side of Canada.
The reason? I was sick and tired of being a shy boy who struggled to hold even a simple conversation.
One of my reasons for going to the gym is to dull down the inner voice that body-shamed me for years when I was a teenager. It’s a way for me to go back and tell my inner self “Ha. Proved you wrong.”
I find negativity to be a powerful force when you know how to handle it.
On the other side, I know that positivity isn’t all great either. People have used positivity to shame those who struggle with depression, anxiety, or even had the occasional negative thought or feelings. It’s terrible considering we know negative feelings are natural and things like depression and anxiety are complex mental processes that can’t be fixed by simply “thinking positive all the time.”
I’ve seen people use positivity to manipulate those around them. There are such things as toxic positivity. A way of positive thinking where you are denying the existence of all negative aspects.
The sooner that you understand all of this, the more that you can look at these two aspects and figure out the best kind of approach for you to be taking.
Give Each Side A Role
Having a deeper understanding of positivity and negativity will allow us the opportunity to assign roles to these sides of our lives. This is the foundation that I use to strike a balance between positivity and negativity.
For me, I treat positivity as an elevator while negativity is my anchor attached to said elevator. This helps me to understand their roles in my life and how I use them.
Positivity is allowed to freely go up and down, but I’m constantly aware of where it’s going and I have control over how far up it’ll go. That said, I’ll always a limit as I realize that going up too high can be dangerous.
Negativity is a way to drag myself down and used as a brace. It is my safeguard and it serves as a constant reminder to keep myself in cheque and to not go too high up.
With these kinds of roles, it allows me to keep a positive mind most of the time, but it also lets me realize the negative aspects as well. It teaches me my limits which is a prominent thing when I go to the gym. I try to do more than what I can handle and I quickly back down. Practicality is more important than trying to do something you’re not really capable of doing right now.
How you assign positivity and negativity is up to you, but balance to me is assigning those roles and sticking to them. Of course, there isn’t such a thing as total balance. Even myself, I’m fully aware I’m more positive leaning and that’s due to the roles that I assigned.
Lean Onto Those Sides Constantly
The last thing is to use those sides on a regular basis in your life. Use scenarios and events to flesh out the roles further. Define what they are and how frequently you need to lean on them to have balance.
Regardless, it helps to get into the mindset of leaning on them constantly so you can get an understanding of them. Once you feel it’s enough, let the emotion go and work to move past it. In some cases, it’s not something that can be removed. Even to this day I still have negative flashes from events that occurred over a decade ago. They’re not as frequent now, but they are still there.
The whole purpose of this is to not deny these emotions that you feel and to figure out how you can fuel them. Again, I’ve used negativity in my own life to spark a massive change in my life that’s granted me various opportunities. I’ve then used positivity to stay the course, keep me motivated, and give me hope for the future. It’s helped me to smile in the event of a setback and allowed me to look at failures as lessons for deeper growth.
All of this stems from the relationship that I have with both my sides and I don’t try to deny one over the other. My hope is for you to do the same.