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We all have it. We choose what we wear in the morning. We choose what we eat and how we eat it. We choose our friends. We choose our jobs. 

But more than anything, we have the ability to choose how we react.

We all have two switches inside of us. A positive and a negative. 

Negative. Noun :: a word or statement that expresses denial, disagreement, or refusal. Verb :: reject; refuse to accept; veto. Adjective :: attitude, or situation that is not desirable or optimistic. Similar words :: pessimistic, defeatist, gloomy, cynical, bleak, fatalistic, unenthusiastic, cold, apathetic, unfortunate.

WOAH!!!!! After reading all of those descriptions, why would we ever choose negative. 

Well, unfortunately, we do. 

As a type 7 on the Enneagram, my innermost desire is to choose joy.  Even in the midst of the most dire situations, my mind automatically goes to the positive first, but I struggle, just like everyone else. 

I bump against that negative switch and it turns on without me even realizing it sometimes. 

Thankfully, it gets pretty dark and the need to turn on the positive light is pretty strong.

On the other side of the coin, though, we have all encountered those individuals whose negative perspective switch is stuck in place. Their first gut reaction to everything is no. They wear it like a badge. They have their defense up, locked and loaded. On the defense as if they are continually being attacked by others. 

These humans are smart people. They have the uncanny ability to twist words, phrases, sentences spoken by others into personal attacks and negative connotations. 

It actually astounds me! Think about it. Every word that is spoken can be taken two ways. “Hi there. I haven’t seen you around lately. How are you?” For a person whose negative switch is stuck, they may feel like you are accusing them of being lazy. Of not being present. 

As a coach, I see this a lot with spouses. One seemingly innocent gesture, can be spun around and weaved into a self-serving statement of negativity. They serve up a huge plate of pessimistic thoughts. They feed on it. Ravenously. Spinmeisters to the nth degree. My youngest daughter calls them energy vampires.

It’s an exhausting way to live.  Not just for the person who lives in a constant state of dire negative, but for the people that have to live life with them. 

This can come from either a life-time of trauma or a learned behavior. It may be used as a defense mechanism and or a way for an individual to cope with their own sense of defeatism.

Believe it or not, it may also be choice. Being in the dark. Seeing people squirm. Bullying. Wanting continuous control. Some people choose this. 

Now don’t get me wrong, please, there are times when we need to allow the ‘negative’ things in life to happen and to acknowledge and work through them, not just staying there and looking for the positive to weigh it all out. Sometimes we need to sit in it, but not stay there. Therein lies the balance.

So what do we do about it? Well, as in all areas of life, awareness is our first step. Reflecting on your thoughts, behaviors, and overall outlook on life can help you determine if you tend to lean towards a negative perspective. Take a look at these 12 questions. Answer them out loud.

1. Do I often focus on the negative aspects of situations?

2. How do I react to the success and happiness of others?

3. Is complaining a common part of my communication?

4. Do I find it challenging to see the silver lining in tough situations?

5. Are my conversations generally more focused on problems than solutions?

6. How do I handle setbacks or failures?

7. Do I often engage in self-criticism or negative self-talk?

8. What is my general attitude towards change?

9. How do I perceive feedback or constructive criticism?

10. Am I generally grateful for what I have, or do I focus on what I lack?

11. How do I influence the energy of the people around me?

12. What is my overall outlook on the future?

Self-awareness is the first step toward positive change. If you find that you lean towards negativity, it's never too late to work on cultivating a more positive mindset and outlook. 

Let’s look at the other side of the coin.

Positive. Noun :: good, affirmative, or constructive quality or attribute. Adjective :: constructive, optimistic, or confident. Similar words :: affirmative, favorable, approving, good, constructive, enthusiastic, supportive, reassuring, encouraging, corroborative.

Ahhh…Don’t those feel better? 

With Vizion,



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