I have found one highly negative pattern within myself: Every time I failed in any kind of way, I would use this very failure to fuel my self-hate. Why would anyone do that? It seemingly makes no sense. Seemingly.
Humans can get used to almost anything. Including hating ourselves. And humans also do not particularly like change. So once we have gotten used to hating ourselves, we do not want to stop hating ourselves anymore. So we start finding reasons to hate ourselves and we end up in a negative cycle.
The important thing here is that we act as if we wanted the reason for hate to vanish but not actually taking any steps towards it. While this may seem very hypocritical it is actually not something we consciously do. And even if we know we have that problem, it may be almost impossible, to get rid of it, because to do so, we need to catch this negative behavior in the moment.
This ties in with general negativity. If we are able to eliminate negativity from our lives, we also get rid of our self-hate. So how can we catch this behavior? It is important to acknowledge our flaws, but it is not an excuse to go down the road of self-hate. We need to acknowledge our flaws, in order to improve. This is work. I am sorry. But the only sensible thing to do, when we catch ourselves talking to ourselves negatively and pointing out everything we did wrong, is to figure out ways to make it better next time. Sometimes our minds are too clouded by self-hatred, then it makes sense to write this down. This is productive and it gives us a better chance of breaking the cycle of negativity.
Here are some other things I like to keep in mind to break negativity:
Watching what I say. (I talk to myself a lot.) Especially watch out for whining and complaining. These are often just ways to give voice to negativity, without changing anything for the better. The goal is to become a more positive person, so yes, we need to acknowledge the things going wrong, but if we cannot change it, there is no point to get emotionally invested in it, since it will only drain our energy and make us more negative. This especially applies to talking about other people. If it is not something nice or at least very interesting we want to say, it would be wise to refrain from saying anything at all. Complaining, whining and bad-mouthing other people does not only make us more negative, but it also makes us a lot less pleasant to be around. Of course sometimes we just need to vent. It is perfectly human. But remember: there is ALWAYS something we could vent about. And it is one of the easiest negative traits to catch and correct.
Don’t seek out distraction when I feel crappy. This sounds a little counter-intuitive. But hear me out: I am not talking about taking a break or finishing the day off with a little bit of a nice TV series. I am talking about spending hours in front of the TV procrastinating. This can have all sorts of causes. My favorite ones are “I am tired” and “I am feeling nauseous”. The problem is: After I have wasted a few hours I will feel just as tired and in addition to that I will also not have done anything productive and that will have me feel even worse than where I was at the beginning.
Focus on improvement. This one is probably the most trivial one. But it is very important to remember that it is okay not only make small steps into the right direction. I once tried to talk myself down because I was sore after a workout, because it meant, that I was weak, even if that was true, me being sore was a sign I was on the right path. It is normal to have setbacks, but then it makes much more sense to focus on the long way we have come than on “how far we’ve fallen”. The first has a better chance at getting us up on our feet again.
Monitor what I think. This is very similar to watching what I say, just a lot more subtle. It is about training ourselves to be mindful of our thoughts and to alternate negative thoughts with something more nice and positive.
Take care of my physical self: Sleep, Exercise, Hydrate! This is pretty self-explanatory. It is all about feeling good in our bodies. If we feel good, it is easier to focus on how good we feel, than on how life is unfair and not worth being lived. It is also about being kind to ourselves and taking care of ourselves. Because that is inherently positive. It is consciously taking action to shower our bodies in positivity and that is a perfect first step to more positivity.
This list is not complete, there are countless other little things, that have us become more positive. And in the end it is a very individual journey, but for me breaking out of negativity was long overdue and these tips come straight out of my personal journal. I know that negativity is the one thing that if I do not get rid of, I don’t even have a single shot a happiness.