What to do with negativity?

I can handle people who are discouraged. I know what to do. I encourage them. I build them up. I remind them of truths they know but don’t feel. I help them. I brighten their day.

I have trouble with negative people.

Negative people don’t want to be encouraged, they want to complain. Nothing I say to them makes any difference and they just want to bask in the unfairness of life. I can’t do anything to help them and instead I find myself retreating with a white flag.

People who give up. People who are apathetic. People who show up and only do the bare minimum and make it known that is ALL they are willing to do.

What can I do with that?

I want to be encouraging and bring their day up, but I will not participate in their negativity. Yes, life stinks and things are unfair. I guess I’ve just learned to get over it. Or have I?

Surely, I have days when I’m stuck in a negative rut. There’s usually a reason. I have a headache, my morning started off wrong, all of my students checked their brains in at the door. I’m premenstrual.

These may seem like no big deal to other people, but they are all a big deal to me at that moment.  Even worse, I am aware that my bad mood makes me less than likeable to others, which only makes me feel worse.

What do I want from others when I am stuck in that downward spiral?

I want forgiveness. I want grace. I want people to remember my true self, and not hold this ugly monster I have become against me. I want someone to make it better and help me out, even though I know I’m being unreasonable.

“Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:1-2

This is SOOO hard, yet it’s the very thing we want (if not expect) others to do for us, though we know it’s ridiculous to even ask such a thing. Restore the person caught in a transgression (in this case, negativity). In a spirit of gentleness, no less! What if that person is not gentle?

Doesn’t matter.

“Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.”

You cannot restore them if you get caught in the same downward spiral. Take the necessary precautions: Pray to God, retreat and regroup, read some scriptures, talk to someone who can encourage you. Do whatever it takes to take care of yourself….

“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”

…and then go help them carry whatever weight it is that is making them cranky. Pray for them. Ask for insight to understand. Go out of your way to do something kind for them. They’ll snap out of it eventually.

Whether you are struggling with negativity yourself, or a person who is negative, this is my prayer for you: That you will remember God loves you.

“That according to the riches of His glory, he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith – that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.  
Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”  
Ephesians 3:16-21

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