16 Feb Pop the negativity
The students blew the balloons and put a knot. They wrote all the negative traits that they had observed in themselves and wanted to get rid of it. Next, they chose a friend from their class whom they were comfortable with to pop the negative balloon. Then one by one they were called in front of the class to pop their negative traits. While a friend pops the balloon he or she had to say the following phrase, “I will help you to overcome your negativity”.
The above activity was conducted at Sharanya Narayani International School, one of the best boarding schools in Bangalore, for IB DP Year 1 students. This activity gave an insight into their real self. As they reflect upon themselves they will accept their flaws and work on their persona. The students took great interest and did better than what was expected. They even expressed that the activity allowed them to reveal their negative traits while being non-judgemental.
Most of us are hypocrites at some point in our lives. Take a moment to visually go back to the times where your thoughts or actions were selfish to protect your ego. In a group conversation we say something for effect but we may act exactly opposite in reality. For instance, we talk about saving electricity, and we ourselves keep ignore turning off switches periodically. Don’t you agree with me? This example is to say that we at times talk negatively about others when we ourselves may exhibit similar traits. It is easier to point out at others and say that you are not right. It is harder to accept when others are pointing out our negative traits. Let’s accept the fact that we are not perfect. We do have negative traits and are not superior to anyone but can always improvise our traits to be a better person.
Negative traits may be manipulative nature, greed, dishonesty, being judgemental, pessimistic, aggressive and so on. These will not only affect one’s social circle but also the person’s mental health resulting in various long term psychological issues. Even though some research says that gossiping is one way to release mental stress, it also turns out to be dangerous when it takes control over us. Unfortunately, human nature is such that one will not always have positive traits. Sometimes, circumstances and situations push us to act out negatively. However, we can try to keep our negatives to the minimum, be accountable for our actions and be conscious that our negativity can harm self or others.
Examples of negative behaviour:
- When you cut other’s conversation because you do not like the topic, but you want the other person to listen to you.
- Stopping your friend from socialising because you feel insecure and are possessive.
- Teasing others in the name of making jokes.
- Manipulating other to do your work.
- Always criticising and making someone feel inadequate and spreading rumours about the person.
- Triggering or provoking people and starting a fight between two people.
- Not able to accept another’s success and make negative remarks.
- Faking, hiding and being dishonest.
- Using foul language and being aggressive in your thoughts, words and actions.
- Always being jealous and trying to spoil everything out of jealousy.
It needs a great heart and mind to accept one’s negative traits. Once you accept it, it’s easier to work on it.
How to overcome the negative behaviour?
There is not one specific way to overcome our negative behaviour. If we make few changes in our lifestyle we can control our thoughts, words and actions.
Reflection time – Reflect on your day’s emotions. How was my day? Did I make someone feel bad? Am I feeling good about my words and actions? This will actually put you on the right track and will help you to understand what went wrong and what went well. Penning it down will work better.
Choose your companions wisely – The people with whom we spend most of the time will have a tremendous effect on our personality. Our companions can influence and mould our personality for good or bad. It will be helpful to learn early the signs of negative traits of others and stay away from them.
Implement simple self-management skills like deep breathing exercises, me time, journal writing, talking to the people who will give you good vibes, reading a book, writing a short-story, colouring or craft-making, gardening, cooking a new recipe, DIY activities, taking a walk amidst nature, organising your things, learning a new skill and physical activities like sports, yoga or exercise. Practising a few of these skills on a regular basis will help in rewiring our brain.
We look for beautiful things to happen in our life. How much effort do we take to work on our mental health? Most of the time we act negatively without even realising that we are doing something harmful and it remains like that unless someone or a situation brings it to our notice. Some of us regret and try to work on our flaws. Whereas some of us only keep protecting our ego by not admitting it at all.
“Beautiful things happen when you distance yourself from negativity”.