Hi. My name is Amanda, and I am a recovering negativity addict. Maybe you can relate.
You see, negativity really is an addiction. It becomes what we seek out and what we spread. Our entire thought process turns and changes to satisfy the hole that a negativity addiction creates. Negativity is not and never will be fulfilling.
For as long as I can remember, I have been a negative person. Life never went my way. Life existed solely to shit on me. My life and I sucked. We didn’t live up to my expectations. Sound familiar?
In 2006, I met my boyfriend. He is not a negativity addict. Being with him challenged my negative mindset, because he began to challenge my negativity. In turn, I began to open my eyes to negativity and its effects on me. In 2009, I began grad school, where I learned how people code their thoughts and opinions into everything they say. I learned that I’m not the only negativity addict. I learned that many people probably don’t even realize what they are doing.
When I joined social media, it was easy to see how our social networks fuel our negativity addiction. We see other people succeeding where we have not. We have a platform for our complaints to be seen and heard. We have people who justify our feelings. I get that. But the longer I’m on social media, the more I realize that updates steeped in negativity affect everyone.
The defining moment for me was signing onto Twitter one morning. The first tweet to greet me was a complaint about the person’s work. It had nothing to do with me, but it dragged me down. It dragged me down so far that I spent the next few hours of my morning in a foul mood. And THAT is how we affect our followers. You spread what you update.
Whenever I get on social media, I have to school myself on how to update so I don’t unwittingly spread negativity. And that is hard. To show you how I approach updating, I want to share with you signs you may be a negativity addict and not even know it. Each of these signs represents how I monitor my updates and my mindset.
1. The majority of your updates are complaints
No, really. Go look at your public updates and count how many complaints you have. You might be surprised how many there are. If I do complain about something, I usually try to make fun of myself in a way that invites people to laugh at me. I’d rather spread laughter.
2. You get upset when no one responds to you
My way around this? I assume no one will respond. If someone does, I am delighted and respond in kind. Simply posting something does not entitle us to a response, no matter how many followers we have.
3. You constantly compare yourself to others or your compliments to other people involve putting yourself down
“You’re so organized! I suck at organizing.” This leaves the person trying to console you rather than thanking you for the compliment, which makes both of you feel bad.
4. Drama is impossible for you to resist
Whenever drama happens, you have an opinion and you make sure your followers know what it is. You retweet what everyone else is saying. You write a post about it. What this boils down to one thing: you’re spreading the negativity. When the drama blows up my Twitter feed, I log off. It doesn’t matter if I agree with what is being said. It doesn’t matter if I have an opinion. I walk away.
We all have bad days. Everyone is allowed to be negative–on occasion. Sometimes you need to vent. Venting is healthy, in fact. But when you can’t let go of a negative situation, that is when it’s time to reassess. Your absence or silence should not make people happy: they should miss you. Don’t let social media and negativity slow your influence.
If you’re not spreading positivity, what are you spreading?