For the month of April, I’m going on a fast.
A negativity fast.
What does a “negativity fast” mean?
It means that, for 30 days, I will not:
- Complain about things I have no control over
- Complain about things I DO have control over
- Speak negatively about other people
- Speak negatively about myself
- Allow others’ negativity to zap my own good vibes
Why am I doing this?
I’m doing it for a few reasons. The main one is that I’m sick of feeling like I have a big grey rain cloud over my head.
In all honesty, the past six or so months have been really hard on me. Between injuries, the existential crises that are a normal part of running your own business, waves of motivation that seem to come and go as they please, and a low hum of depression and anxiety hovering over me at all times, I’m tired of hearing myself bitch and complain.
I miss my usual zest for life and my gung-ho BRING IT ON attitude. I’ve been feeling all woe-is-me the last few months, and I’m done.
Reclaiming My Positive Vibes
One of the things that makes me really good at what I do is my ability to empathize with others. It helps me put myself in my clients’ shoes. It makes me a really good listener. It helps me see other people as people, regardless of how shitty they can be at times.
But my empathic nature is a double-edged sword.
When I see other people struggling, I take on their struggles. When somebody else complains to me or comes to me because they’re upset, I take on those emotions myself. When I have to have a hard conversation with somebody and stand up for myself, I can feel their discomfort and I immediately get uncomfortable myself.
So a few days ago, after a particularly trying day, I decided to google “how to avoid absorbing other peoples’ negative energy”, thinking I’d get some articles with helpful tips on how to very gently remove negative people from your life.
Did I get those tips?
Everything I found was about taking ownership for your own feelings and emotions. Setting internal boundaries with what you allow in and what you don’t. Choosing to not let others’ emotions get to you.
That last one is a big one. Choice.
We have a choice about whether we allow our co-worker’s shitty attitude get to us or not.
We have a choice about whether we allow that asshole who cut us off to ruin our afternoon or not.
We have a choice about whether we choose to see others’ snide comments about us as a true reflection of ourselves or a true reflection of the person who made the comment.
And for the next 30 days, I’m making a choice to reclaim my positive vibes. I’m making a choice to see the good that I know exists in the world, and to let go of the little bits of negativity that aren’t really that big of a deal.
It’s going to be hard. I like complaining about the asshole who cut me off. I enjoy engaging in discussions with others about how much the weather sucks. And, if we’re being honest here, sometimes I like having the ability to put the responsibility for how I feel on other people. Takes some of the pressure off, ya know?
But I know the things that will come from it – a better outlook, more energy, and my old “go get ’em” gangsta attitude – are way more conducive to a healthy life than complaining about random assholes I encounter in my day.
Want to join me?
A reminder of you DON’T do on a negativity fast:
- Complain about things you have no control over, because what’s the point?
- Complain about things you DO have control over
- Speak negatively about other people
- Speak negatively about yourself
- Allow others’ negativity to zap your good vibes
This isn’t about lying to yourself and pretending life is all rainbows and unicorns all the time. There’s no doubt about it, sometimes life can suck a fat one. And I’ve learned that suppressing emotions of anger, frustration or sadness is just as unhealthy as letting those emotions take over.
But every time we counter something less than awesome, we’ve got a choice – we can either do something about it, or we can let it go.
So, are you with me?