You can follow all the rules of Feng shui in the world, but sometimes your home or work surroundings can still feel off. You can’t quite put your finger on it, but there are definitely some bad vibes going on. When we’re under an immense amount of pressure or stress, we tend to bring that negativity into our personal space as well.
Think about the last time you came home after a particularly exhausting and upsetting day at work. Chances are, even your favorite reading chair or that special nook in the couch didn’t look as appealing as it usually does. You were in a funk and just ready to go to bed. This type of energy is expected every now and again. Try as we might, we can’t feel like we’re walking on a cloud of euphoria all of the time. Still, if you find that you’re in constantly seeing the glass half empty and lamenting about it to others, this can make it difficult to forge and nurture valuable relationships.
So, what’s your energy like? Do you encourage people to spend time with you or are they put off by your pessimism? Here are a few telltale clues and ways to gently reverse your outlook today.
1. You’re critical to a fault
We’re judgmental creatures by nature. The old adage “Don’t judge a book by its cover” is fun to say and easy to repeat, but difficult to actually put into practice on a daily basis. Yet, if you’re constantly picking apart others and finding fault in every little thing they do, it might be that your attitude is the root of the issue, not them.
Do you find yourself murmuring under your breath every time someone says or does something you don’t agree with? Are you known in your circle of friends as being the gossip or the one quick to put others down? That’s not a favorable reputation to uphold, and it’s likely that you’re feeling the strain of always being quick with a jab.
Instead of highlighting someone’s shortcomings, why not try to focus on the positive parts? Local news stations often have segments where they talk about something good that’s going on in the community, however small it is. It’s a nice, refreshing break from all the negativity that tends to permeate the media. The next time you’re tempted to criticize, try to focus your efforts on praising instead.
2. You’re overwhelmed by work
We all know that person who keeps his cell phone on at all hours of the night, can’t get through a dinner conversation without checking it 10 times and always seems generally distracted. If you’re always thinking about work and your professional responsibilities, it could be that you’re a killjoy when it comes to socializing and letting loose. You might not consciously be putting off negative vibes, but you’re definitely not amping up the fun factor. No one expects you to throw caution to the wind, cancel all of your appointments and clear your calendar for the rest of the month to jet off to Maui.
Yet, when you can, try to leave work at work and allow your time at home and with friends to be personal and meaningful. At the very least, silence your cell phone or set up automated text responses that you can check later.
3. You’re drawn to comparison
There is a quote that says, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” This is absolutely true and something we should repeat to ourselves on a daily basis. While it’s so easy to get wrapped up in the filtered, always-perfect world of social media, it’s important to remember that those little squares are someone’s highlight reel, and comparing them to the entire full-length feature film of your life can leave you feeling pretty crummy.
This is where it can be helpful to do a little digital detox. Instead of scrolling Instagram at midnight, peeking at the perfectly curated homes of influencers, why not turn it off, read a book and take warm bath instead? Most likely, just outside of the frame are the piles of messes that were shoved aside to get that “perfect” shot. From the new intern at the office to the celebrity advertising the latest product on her feed, resist the human tendency to measure your abilities against those of others. You’re the only person who feels, thinks, looks and acts like you do. So embrace that individuality and use it to bring others up along the way!
4. You’re surrounded by negativity yourself
Maybe it’s your roommate. Perhaps it’s the co-worker you share an office with or your family members. Either way, if you’re constantly surrounded by negativity, it won’t be long before that energy transmits itself into your life, even if you’re trying hard to maintain a spirit of positivity.
There’s a process called the law of attraction that explains how we invite into our lives the things we focus on. You know how, if you’re thinking a lot about buying a particular brand of car, you suddenly see them everywhere on the road? It can be a complicated concept, but this happens as we activate a certain system in our brain that, in turn, filters out extraneous information and helps us highlight the things we’re most interested in.
If you’re always around negative people, you can’t help but be focused on their negativity. They pull you into their drama, bring you down with their pessimism and make it difficult to maintain any semblance of positivity. Misery loves company, and being along for the ride will put you in the same mental place they are. It might be time to distance yourself from those who are bent on discouraging and demeaning others.
5. You’re wound more tightly than a spring
You’re stressed to the hilt, never have enough free time, are overwhelmed by the expectations of others, and always rush to get to the next event. You’re stretched thin, your nerves are shot and you’re always ready to snap back when someone suggests you take a self-care day and treat yourself.
Who, you? Who has time to book a massage or get a pedicure? You’ve got a million things to do and not enough time in the day to do them. If this is the rushed, hurried and too-busy vibe you’re giving off, don’t be surprised if it pushes people away. We all have daily stressors that threaten to undermine our determination to savor each day and make the most of it. The key is to schedule in your free time, if you have to. Make plans to take yourself out to coffee, reconnect with a friend, take a long walk outside and give yourself some mental health time.
When you do, you’ll find that you approach even the most difficult circumstances with a renewed sense of clarity and focus. You’re also more likely to treat others with the kindness, gentleness and respect they deserve.
Reclaiming Your Right to a Positive Future
Just because you answered “yes” to the above signs does not mean that you’re destined for a future of gloominess. There is always time to slowly change our outlook, but it has to originate from an internal place of intent. You have to be willing to step outside of the negativity and embrace a more positive attitude before you can begin to truly feel the effects it has on your life and everyone around you.
Of course, this is article is meant to serve as a guide to help you get out of a funk and better enjoy your time with others. If you believe your ongoing negativity might be a more serious sign of depression, there is help available. Reach out and seek the assistance you need. Surround yourself with those who want to build you up and be your biggest cheerleader. Yes, negativity breeds negativity, but the opposite also holds true. If you seek it, you just might find that encouragement and light are everywhere.