How to Change a Negative Mindset

No matter how positive we want to appear,
others can easily see through our negative attitude.
Pink Rose-Black Spots

Photo by Alexis Bracamontes

Negativity is a pattern, a learned behavior, that unleashes something painful on the world. After several severe car accidents, I didn’t realize that my chronic pain turned me into a chronic complainer, and as a victim of childhood sexual abuse, I didn’t see how I turned into a constant blamer and whiner. But when the physical pain ended, and before therapy began, I still didn’t see the impact of my negative mindset on myself and others.

Negative MindsetSharing without malice is merely clearing one’s plate, often a form of resolution of some sort. However, those who act upon their ill thoughts and add in bitterness, vindictiveness, or rage create a feast on which negativity feeds.

Even without acting on or voicing it, negativity has an adverse effect on the negative thinker and their unwilling victims.

Most often negative criticism is based on jealously and insecurity. I used to easily Ugly Reflectioncondemn the happiness, appearance, possessions, or talents of others based on my own feelings of inferiority and disillusionment. I had a tendency to paint over the goodness of others so I didn’t have to see the qualities or accomplishments that mirrored what I lacked. My plague of negative thoughts weren’t worth it, especially because they were a waste of energy and only gave me brief gratification.

As an abused child in a constant state of hopelessness, I carried the pattern of negative thoughts into adulthood. Looking on the dark side had become a habitual part of my behavior and served as a form of self-sabotage–a way to talk myself out of doing things I had been obliged to do. My perennial bad moods kept me from experiencing failure with my ‘what’s the use’ attitude, so if I didn’t do something, I couldn’t fail at it. Negativity kept me from attending social events so I didn’t suffer failed relationships.

Pensive Girl

Photo by Kristen Stokes Photography

Long term trauma caused immense stress and a host of effects which I prolonged by focusing on intrusive negative thoughts and unhealthy behavior patterns. I brought my negative state of mind into adulthood because I had yet to accept the reality of my past, was unable to clearly define who I was, and I was frightened of who I would become rather than positively working on the woman I could become.

End the Negative Mindset

  • The moment you recognize a negative thought, clear it by inwardly saying, “I choose to only think positive, and I replace it with this thought.” Then envision what you really want to do or say. Give it some emotion to help your positive thought manifest into reality.
  • Learn to verbally share your feelings in a non-violent manner and confront the object of your negativity. I admit that it would have been far more constructive to simply express my hurt or disappointment with a person, but I couldn’t stand the hit my pride and ego might take.Angry Person in Balloon
  • See the person or situation in your unhealthy thoughts or feelings in a new light. You don’t have to stress yourself by holding negative thoughts because someone is mean or abusive. Visualize them in a pink balloon representing love, and see them float up into the cosmos, far away from you. One of my favorite borrowed affirmations is, “I only see people with eyes of love, and only people with eyes of love see me.”
  • What do you fear the most? When you successfully define what you fear and move beyond it, you get a natural high that helps to keep you in a healthier, more powerful mindset, bringing you out of depression and into a more proactive life.

Someone will always be more accomplished, better looking, or well-liked, and it took me a long time to realize that even with a positive attitude this would still apply. My low self-image didn’t allow for change, but as I appreciated my own self-worth, I began to experience my thoughts in a different light. Anyone can create a world of amazing possibility with a new and positive mindset.

Flourish [3]

This article is the first post based on my forthcoming book, The Long Term Effects of Sexual Abuse for adult survivors who have yet to end abuse patterns. Future posts may not be based on my book or written by me, but will be relevant to abuse survivors.



About Carole Avila

Carole Avila is an award winning author in short fiction, memoirs, and poetry. Eve's Amulet, Book 1 and Death House are both published by Black Opal Books. Her non-fiction work, The Long Term Effects of Sexual Abuse, is under contract. When Carole isn't writing, she loves reading, walking, visiting her daughters and grandsons, and enjoys a hot cup of chai tea with a spot of cream.
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