Deflect Negative Emotions to Bolster Self-Esteem
Your self-esteem begins to develop in early childhood, through seeking the approval of your parents and feeling bad about yourself when they disapprove of what you’ve done. This pattern can continue into adulthood, when you take any negative comments that you hear as though they were directed at you. You then take ownership of them and as they accumulate in your mind, you develop a low sense of self-esteem and self-worth.
There is good news, though. You are the one who is in charge of your self-esteem, and you are the one who is able to take action to improve it. If your self-esteem is low, you have probably grown into a people pleaser; you need to get the approval of others in order to feel good about yourself. When people don’t express approval, you immediately interpret it as a negative reflection on you and internalize it. In effect, you “catch” their bad moods, except that you don’t let go of them, and often believe that you are the cause of them.
Shed Negative Emotions
Try to learn how to shed that cache of negative emotions you’ve stored up, thinking that they all relate to your somehow inappropriate behavior. The next step is to learn how to deflect the new negative comments that will inevitably come your way. They are not the result of your faults and you should not let them into your head.
Identifying just what a negative comment coming from someone else means can go a long way towards deflecting it. Instead of just absorbing the information and blaming yourself, first try to figure out where the negativity is coming from.
Perhaps someone is dealing with an unruly child who is angering them, or they didn’t get that raise they were counting on to help pay the mortgage. That unhappiness comes out in their language, no matter what they are talking about. Try to identify that someone else is feeling those negative emotions, and that they are not necessarily directed at you.
Even Social Media and the News Can Affect You
Today we’re dealing with information overload, which can easily lead to emotion overload. Just by reading Facebook, we take in all the sad and angry comments our friends have posted, and because they are from our friends, we might tend to take them a little more personally than we should.
Reading Twitter posts can suck up your whole day, between reading friends’ posts and all the bad news that seems to take place every 15 minutes all over the world. Sometimes, it’s hard to tear yourself away for fear you might miss something even more important than what you’ve already read.
Then there is the local TV news, which highlights local tragedies that hit home even more so than what you’ve been reading on Facebook and Twitter. Local robberies, shootings, or even the home high school team losing the championship all send a negative message.
Now, you are being bombarded with all kinds of negative emotions from different sources. It’s important to realize that, though you are more than justified in reacting to these events, you are not the source of any piece of negative news that you run across in a day.
Surround Yourself with Positive Things
More people are influencing our lives more every day. You might not be able to deflect all of the negative emotions you encounter, but you can reinforce the positive ones that affect your life. One easy way to do this is to spend more time around positive people, reducing the effort you have to expend deflecting negative emotions. Along that line, staying off social media more, or skipping those negative headlines can contribute to helping you reduce your encounters with negativity.