Why is it that when someone says something negative to us, it tends to stick? We can hear 500 compliments, followed by one negative statement and that negative statement just hangs over our heads like a dark cloud for the rest of the day, week, month, or even year. I can recall negative things that were said about me years ago, but can I recall the positives?
Unfortunately, our brains are hardwired to think like this. We’re wired to focus on the negatives, as if we can come up with a solution to fix the things that are “wrong” with us according to other people. Well, I have news for ya. The only opinion that matters is yours. Chances are when someone is speaking negatively about you (either to you or behind your back), it’s a reflection of what’s going on in their own lives. The things that people are the most insecure about are the SAME things they bash others for.
For example, I know that when I used to be super self conscious about my own body, I noticed the imperfections in others. I never really spoke about them, but the thoughts did arise in my mind. But it’s because I was dealing with my OWN issues about my body. Now that I have chosen to accept myself for who I am rather than what size I wear, I never even think about the way others look. Everyone has a story, everyone has a journey, and NONE of us have the right to judge. The old saying is true: you never know what someone else is going through.
So how can we hardwire our brains to think differently: to focus on the positive things instead of the negative?
It’s easy, it just requires effort and practice. Next time someone pays you a compliment, write it down. Remember it. Let it sink it. Next time someone says something negative about you, redirect your thoughts to something positive — something you’re looking forward to, a positive affirmation about your self worth, or another compliment that you’ve received in the past. It all starts with recognizing that we’re paying attention more to the negative. Once we realize we’re doing it, it’s much easier to correct.
Remember, ultimately it’s not about what anyone else says about you. It’s how you feel about yourself. You’re the ONLY person with power over your emotions.
Instead of dwelling on criticism, let’s dwell on compliments. One of my favorite compliments I’ve ever received is from my dad:
Sure, I appreciate comments about my looks, but it’s when someone compliments my heart that really touches me. I really do genuinely care for others and I’m always happy to be reassured that it comes across that way 🙂
What’s one of the best compliments you’ve ever received? Share the love below. Let’s spread the positive thoughts!
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