Have you ever found yourself trying so hard not to sound boastful that you highlight to others what you think your life is lacking?
People often use negativity as a shield to protect themselves from the unkind judgements and jealousies of others.
They sweep their happiness under the rug and hide it like a dirty secret.
Instead of focusing on the pride she feels for providing for her family, the working mother will mourn her lack of time with her kids. If she doesn’t she risks appearing like she doesn’t love her children enough.
The stay at home mum will protest at her lack of identity and financial independence, even if she’s secretly happy.
The travelling salesman will winge about his time on the road, though he may quietly rejoice at the freedom.
The office worker will complain about his time stuck indoors as he quietly revels in the comforts of air conditioning on a cold, winter day.
WHEN YOUR SHIELD BECOMES A WEAPON OF SELF-HARM
They are all just shields – a way to deflect other people’s jealousies by letting them know our life isn’t perfect.
They can become the weapons we fire upon ourselves.
When we give in to the urge to hide our happiness we risk losing it.
Negativity is a thief that steals happiness.
When we are claiming our negativity, we close the doors to positivity and it can have a snowball effect.
I’ve heard conversations where the participants are actually competing for top status in their negative dramas.
It is a form of attention seeking and fishing for sympathy. Or just an urge to fit in.
The fact is those words have power and as you think and speak them they become reality. Your negativity shield has become a weapon for self–harm. It can lead to depression.
To use the words of Joyce Meyer, you can’t live a positive life with a negative mind.
In my post Can Too Much Happy Make You Sad? I ask if you can be guilty of NOT sharing misery.
I had to laugh when re-reading this I as describe an instance where I was doing the very thing I’m saying we shouldn’t – list the negatives in our life to make someone else feel better.
If you cannot be positive, then at least be quiet.
We do not need to justify our happiness. We have a right to it.
A better way of handling this is to allow them their grumble, show empathy and move on to a happier subject.
As I mentioned in When You’re Looking for Love in all the Wrong Places, it is not their job to like me – it is mine.
By the same token, it is not my job to make people happy by downgrading the joy in my life and focusing on the negatives.
BRAVELY OWN YOUR JOY AND IT WILL BE YOUR SHIELD
To be truly happy, fulfilled and satisfied, we must find the confidence to build our shields from positive and grateful thoughts and to proudly own our joy.
This takes confidence because instead of attracting sympathy (as a negative shield does) there will be those who feel threatened by our happiness and will test the strength of our armour.
The negativity shield is a way of justifying our choices, but when we are truly confident we no longer need to explain ourselves to others.
This is why we need to be our own friend first – not relying on others for validation.
Your true support people will rejoice in the choices that lift you up and make you happy and you will never feel the need to protect yourself from them with a negativity shield.
When you stand up and say; “I’m happy, I’m doing what I want. I love life”, without, “BUT, it is hard work, I get tired” – all the add-ons to justify this – you are living an authentic life.
This is not boasting. This is acknowledging the good in your life. If people feel threatened by it that is their issue and it stems from their insecurities.
It’s not always practical to avoid these people. They could be co-workers or family members, but it is a good idea to limit your time around them as they can influence your mood and your thinking and help you bury your joy.
The reverse is true too. If you don’t allow the threat of judgement from others to make to use a negativity shield, you’ll be spreading positive energy which could help to lift them.
It takes but one positive thought when given a chance to survive and thrive to overpower an entire army of negative thoughts.
Robert H. Schuller
Embrace your joy. Own it and own up to it and you will be sharing it with the world.
Wishing you no need for shields and a gleeful week, Tamuria