Do the people you live with, work with, or coach cling to negativity? If so, there may be a few reasons they do. Consider these possibilities:
Payoffs: What are the payoffs of negativity in someone’s life? Perhaps it’s a sense of martyrdom, or maybe the person enjoys being the center of attention because of the drama associated with negativity.
Perceptions: The perception that they won’t receive the empathy or relationship we need from others to feel heard, supported, or significant.
Comfort zones: If negative emotions are the norm, shifting to positive can be uncomfortable and scary. Emotions are part of our human nature, both positive and negative. But elongating negative emotions is a learned behavior, which, thankfully, can be unlearned!
Confusion: We may be confused about how long it’s “acceptable” to experience negative emotions—the bigger the trauma/loss, the longer it can take to recover.
If negative emotions are hanging on too long, be reflective and curious about whether any of the above may be at play. Negative emotions should never be cuddled, cherished, or treasured because they end up draining us of our ability to think clearly, feel good, and take strategic action.