Why Am I Always Negative — Judging Is What the Mind Does
And it’s probably never going to stop.
It requires judgment even to tell the difference between hot and cold. This is just natural role of the mind to observe and evaluate.
But there’s a difference between judgment and negativity. Negativity starts when the judgment becomes personal, “I hate cold. This shouldn’t be happening to me.”
It’s the “happening to me” that makes it personal. Seen from this point of view, I quickly become a victim of what is happening. And that’s when the suffering begins. That’s when it feels negative.
Being Negative Is a Reaction
For me, it’s often my attempt to compensate for something I didn’t do. When I don’t take responsibility for my actions, then all I can manage to do is to complain, to be negative.
If someone invites me to do something and I don’t want to do it, and I say yes when I really mean no, I have not been true to myself. But instead of owning my mistake and asking myself what I can do about it, I end up complaining and nit picking instead.
In other words, being negative can end up being a feeble attempt at saying no—in a passive, complaining way. And at no point am I actually taking responsibility for myself or looking at options to change my situation. I’m still just a victim being kicked along.
How Can I Turn this Around?
Noticing the thought, “Why am I always negative?” is a good starting point. It is the wake up call letting me know something is off. It’s time to take a closer look.
My favorite way of taking a closer look is The Work of Byron Katie. This simple process of self-inquiry helps me notice what I’m doing.
To do The Work when I’m feeling negative, all I need to do is pick one of the negative, complaining thoughts in my mind and write it down. What exactly am I complaining about? Or, if there are several things, I can write them all down.
Then Pick One Stressful Thought to Question
Maybe the thought is, “It’s too cold.” Or maybe you feel like a victim of your partner, “He didn’t listen to my no (about moving here).” Identifying the stressful thoughts that lead to being negative is a big part of doing The Work. Once you have them on paper, pick one to start questioning.
By taking your time and meditating as you consider the questions of The Work, you may start to find some surprising answers. You may find that you actually do like the cold, but were using it as a weapon against your partner for not listening. You may even find that he was listening to you, but you never made your point clearly, or emphatically enough.
The more you drop into the questions and turnarounds of The Work, and find examples of the opposite of what you believe, the more freeing it becomes, and the more empowered you start to feel.
For me, The Work Is How I Take Back Control
When I’m a victim, I give my power over to someone or something else. That leaves me with no options other than being negative. But when I do The Work, I start to naturally find that I am the one who makes me suffer or not. It’s all up to me.
And when I step back into my own power, the whole situations shifts.
But this is a meditation. You have to actually do The Work, not just understand it in principle. You have to allow yourself to complain in an uncensored way on paper. And then you have to go through the four questions and turnarounds slowly and gently so that your whole heart moves with your inquiry.
Otherwise, it’s just philosophy, which is not so helpful when it comes to shifting awareness in every day life.
Negativity is a Temple Bell
The next time you think, “Why am I always negative?” notice what’s going on. And try doing The Work on the complaints that are freshest in your mind.
It could be the beginning of a homecoming.
If you want to see The Work in action, join us for the free Open Sessions every week.
Have a great weekend,
“When something hurts in your relationship and it’s not obvious why, you can do the same thing. Sit down and put your thoughts on paper. Concentrate on your complaints about your partner. Don’t be kind. If anything, exaggerate the faults you find. Using the Worksheet here as your guide, write down how you’ve been wronged, what they should and shouldn’t do, what you want and need from them, what you refuse to put up with any longer. And when you have it down on paper, question what you believe. Ask the four questions and turn it around.” Byron Katie, I Need Your Love, Is It True?