Sweat & Smiles: Importance of Putting Negativity and the Positive in Your Life onto an Equal Playing Field

By Melissa Romano on July 11, 2020 from Sweat & Smiles via Connect-Bridgeport.com

Negative bias, a psychological phenomenon, explains the bias in negative stimuli having a greater affect on one’s mental state and processes than a positive stimuli of equal intensity. In other words many of us spend our lives emphasizing the negative and discounting the positive experiences.
 
Our society’s fix-it mode tells us to change or fix this psychological phenomenon we should complete flip it; we begin to try to emphasize the positive and discount the negative and it’s just not working. So what do we do instead? Neither. If you don’t see the pattern of emphasizing the negative and discounting the positive.
 
Think about conversations you’ve had with people regarding travel. You’ll hear/say things like ‘it was so nice to get away, we had a great time but we didn’t get into the restaurant we really wanted to go to.” Recall to memory conversations you’ve had with people regarding stress and this may sound familiar: “I have a good life but I don’t feel like I’m getting the help and support I need”. If you remember conversations with first time expecting parents, or as a first time expecting parent, you may recall hearing/saying “we are so excited to be parents but we are terrified”.
 
If you don’t see the pattern of the “fix” with emphasizing the positive and discounting the negative think about these phrases: good vibes only, just be positive, it’ll be/it is okay, everything happens for a reason, you’ll get over it, don’t be so negative, always look on the bright side, think happy thoughts, failure is not an option, it could be worse, just change your mindset.
 
These kind of responses to “negative” emotions, thoughts, and feelings are considered “toxic positivity”. Toxic positivity is the idea that you can cover up anything negative with something positive. You're basically switched off to anything which might be viewed as negative. It's also the idea of encouraging people to always see the bright side, and not open up about anything bad.
 
In both of those cases you would be creating another internal conflict. Speaking for myself, the last thing I need is another internal conflict. Instead how about finding all of the space in the middle. Instead of emphasizing anything and discounting anything you can allow them to cozy up next to one another.
 
Not only do you have the ability to feel and experience many different emotions in doing so you may actually find the peace and balance you’ve been searching for. If you are ready to release the internal conflict, reclaim your power and make space for the negative and the positive. Give the negativity and the positive an equal playing field instead of a hierarchy or pedestal for one of them. You can do this with one simple, yet magical change. Replacing but with and.
 
Let’s look at some of the examples above: It was so nice to get away, we had a great time and we didn’t get into the restaurant we really wanted to go to. Feels a little different, right? I have a good life and I don’t feel like I’m getting the help and support I need. Hits different, yeah? We are so excited to be parents and we are terrified. Honest, real, and relatable.
 
The but in these sentences not only makes the person listening feel differently it is constantly telling your mind and body that everything you said before the but is negated by everything that comes after it. The fear, the truth, the real, honest, real, vulnerable, raw emotions do not negative the emotions that have a tendency to feel a little better and vice versa. Implementing this simple change will have huge, lasting, and profound impact on you and everyone you’re speaking to. Pro tip: don’t expect that you’ll begin to catch yourself before using it. You’re going to use the but. Once you notice it go ahead and give yourself a do-over it will be a refreshing lesson for all parties involved.
 
You were designed and created to feel the broad spectrum of emotions and once you allow the space and ability to do that you just might find that you already have the peace and balance you’ve been striving for. 
 
With love,
 
Melissa
www.melissaromano.com


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