Turning a Negative into a Positive

Negatives seem to pour out of the woodwork onto us in our times of distress like termites in an unknowingly infested old house. You just went up to clear out the attic of your recently deceased Great Aunt Mildred, and the next thing you know, you’re being chased down the ladder by a demon horde of disgusting termites agitated by you poking around in places that haven’t been touched in several decades.

Positives, on the other hand, are harder to come by. They’re elusive like unicorns or puppies that don’t pee all over the carpet and chew off all the corners in your apartment. This might be manageable if negatives weren’t so much more devastating than positives are encouraging. However, a single negative thing can feel like a bomb going off in the middle of your world. While a single positive thing is like a butterfly alighting on your shoulder for a moment—awe-inspiring for a brief second, but gone before you can fully comprehend its specialness.

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I recently dealt with a deluge of negatives. Actually, 2016 has mostly been a monsoon of negatives if I think about it (but I try not to for fear of crying hysterically or wanting to burrow into the ground and disappear). So I spent a lot of time recently bemoaning my existence and my general awful luck, but of course, that doesn’t help anyone does it? So instead, I started to formulate ideas that would turn some of the super negatives I’d been experiencing into positives.

Now it’s hard to turn a negative into a positive. It’s not like in math where you learn that if you just add a large enough positive number to that negative number, you find yourself back in positive territory. You have to work hard for it and be creative. What I started thinking recently though, is that the best way to turn a negative into a positive is to simply turn it on its head. If someone’s beating you down, take the exact thing that they’re criticizing you about and invest the most time and energy into it. Make it better. Make it work. Make it so no one can say anything about you in that particular area. Or maybe just boost your confidence so much that you don’t care if they say anything one way or the other.

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I’m not talking about “Turn your bad situation into a lesson!” (Though I’ve done my fair share of that too.) Instead, I’m suggesting you turn it into motivation. Maybe there isn’t anything to be learned from it. It’s a sucky thing that happened to you so you can either cry about it or us it to propel you into the future. For me, it’s easy to get stuck in the past, replaying the same old negatives in my head like I can change them just by imagining them differently. But that’s not how life works. Instead, take the negatives that life gives you, turn them into motivation, and blast out a positive outlook for the future. Lemons to lemonade!

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