I hope by now you’re cruising along working on those positive thoughts and becoming a more positive and creative person overall. I’m sure you’re getting lots of encouragement and support from the people around you, and you’re well on your way towards reaching your various goals in life. You’re grabbing life by the horns and having a great time.
There’s something I need to prepare you for and that’s critics and nay-Sayers. They are all around us, and they love to bring us down. It can be a bit of a challenge to keep up your positive thinking and good attitude when someone else is actively trying to tear you down. Believe you me this is what I grew up around and I wish I had this advice.
The most important thing you need to realize when you encounter these critics is that more often than not, it isn’t really about you. It’s more about them, their insecurities, and their resistance to change. Positive thinking is a good change and a big improvement to you, but it’s a problem for them. By watching you make those changes and share your positive thoughts and energy, you’re simply making them look bad. And, they really don't like that.
When comparing themselves to you, they fall short. It’s easier to lash out and criticize you, than to step up and embrace positivity for themselves. The easy way out is to stop you. But you’re not going to let that happen, are you? No, you are not.
The first step is to realize and remind yourself of the fact that this isn’t about you as much as it is about them. For example, if you’re taking steps to change the culture of your workplace and make it an environment that fosters positive and creative thinking, you may be met with some resistance. You may find people on your team or even above you, resist and even ridicule the idea. Remember that it’s about resisting change on their part and not really about you.
Don’t empower these nay-Sayers. Don’t let what they say bother you. Keep doing your thing and prove to them through actions and results that they are wrong. Don’t get into arguments. Nod, smile, and keep doing what you’re doing. Practice long, slow, deep breathing through your nose. It helps to calm down your nervous system.
Find a cheerleader that you can turn to for encouragement and advice on those days when it’s hard to tune out the critics and nay-Sayers (I did have the intuitive knowledge about this and was an actual cheerleader from 6th grade all the way through my senior year of high school). Tip the scales back in your favor and feel good about what you’re doing by getting support and encouragement. Grab your journal and prove to yourself how far you’ve come and how much you’ve changed for the better. Do whatever you need to do to get over the harsh words, and get back to what you were doing.
In the worst case scenario, it may be time to cut your worst critics out of your life. It isn’t always possible; it isn’t easy, but sometimes, it’s your best option. You may not be able to completely cut out your co-worker or a fellow department head, but you can limit your contact with them and do what you can to stay out of their toxic circle of influence. There is a lot to be said about loving someone from arm's length.
A big part of positive thinking is taking ownership of your thoughts and actions. Don’t give that away. Keep control and don’t let those negative people bring you down. I promise it gets easier with practice.