Being inspired requires avoiding negativity. If we focus on the things we are unhappy about, those things will multiply in our lives and squeeze inspiration out. My post, Choose Your Attitude – Choose Your Life discusses how we can learn from Victor Frankl on how to change our focus and enjoy life when conditions are not desirable. But, what happens when we choose to be positive, but the people around us do not?
What happens when someone we are close to sees every inconvenience as a crisis? What happens when we try to share our inspiration and joy with another person and they respond by blowing us off and complaining about life? What happens when we look at the world with optimism and can only find stories of doom and gloom on TV? How do you get above the negativity without seeming arrogant or apathetic?
7 Ways to Maintain Inspiration in a Negative Environment
- Pretend. A co-worker asked me yesterday, “How do you find inspiration when there’s so much negativity around you?” Jokingly, I said, “I don’t, I just pretend.” Though this is an exaggeration, sometimes, when we’re bombarded with negativity, complaints and whining, it wears us down, and the best thing we can do is to remember that deep down, we know that life is good, even if we don’t feel that way inside at that moment.
- Offer sympathy. By definition, sympathy is empathy with an offer to help. Say something like, “I’m sorry that you are so unhappy, is there anything I can do to help.” If you can help turn a negative mood around, it will boost your inspiration. If you can not help, you know that you have done what you can, and the person you tried to help knows you are available to help.
- Practice patience and tolerance. Every one of us has suffered from negativity at some point in our lives. We all know what it is like to feel as if we are stuck or that we can never be happy. Some of us experience this at deeper levels than others, but we all experience it. Remember that our unique personalities and life experiences shape our attitude. Be grateful that, today, you have found inspiration, and pray that others in your life will too.
- Use a mantra. Choose a short phrase to repeat to yourself over and over again. It could be, “I choose to enjoy my life”, “I want to be happy”, “I am focusing on the good things”, or anything that makes sense to you. I find it most effective to repeat a mantra during meditation and to use that same mantra to refocus myself when it becomes a struggle.
- Avoid negativity when possible. When dealing with family, very close friends and co-workers, sometimes it’s not possible to turn away when they are stuck in negativity. But, we can choose to end friendships with people who are disrespectful to us. We can choose to avoid violent or otherwise negative television or music and social circles which center on gossip or complaints about politics. And, we can choose not to participate in group gossip or complaining. These things can make inspiration difficult and we can choose what to expose ourselves to. We will find that as we become more positive, we will attract like minded people into our lives, and over time, our exposure to negativity will decrease.
- Be an example. The most effective way to help others find inspiration is to find it ourselves. When others see that we are feeling good, that we treat others well and that the world is changing around us, many of them will ask questions. It is only then that your answers will have any meaning. If you were not looking for inspiration or did not believe in the possibility, the words on this page would mean nothing to you.
- Take a deep breath. Principles from yesterday’s post, Quiet Moments For a Better Life, can also be practiced in short spurts at any time during the day. It is not always necessary or possible to completely remove yourself from an activity in order to practice self-reflection. Sometimes, just taking a deep, slow breath, closing your eyes and clearing your mind for a few seconds can help you refocus yourself on your desire to be inspired.
Do you have anything to add to the list? Are you struggling in a negative world? Do you have an experience to share? If so, please feel free to leave a comment or send me an email at danny(at)inssoftdesign(dot)com.
To continue reading about dealing with negativity, see How to be Inspired When Filled With Negativity where I talk about dealing with negativity inside of us.