Negativity Can Be Positive, It’s Not Always So Bad
In the midst of the social media age, the stakes for keeping up with the Jones has never been higher. Accomplishments are immediately shared. Vacations you dream of taking are spread across your digital screen as you scroll away at home, at your dreaded 9 to 5 job, or most likely — on the toilet.
A bit grim? Maybe so — and I admit, few people have sincerely called me an optimist. However, negativity gets an unfair shake, probably because there is confusion about what negativity actually means.
Which brings us to this, the literal definition:
negativity, noun, is the expression of criticism of or pessimism about something.
There is a distinction between negativity and being a serial complainer or Debbie-Downer. Expressing negativity does not automatically make you a horribly depressing person.
In moderation, it is in line with skepticism. It just means you have doubts, and that you recognize that things do not always go according to plan. Circumstances and situations change, and you need to be able to adjust accordingly.
Negativity, in this lens, can be seen as a form of adaptability and even independence. While it is easy to complain internally or mope around, it is harder to express thoughtful criticism in the context where it matters. Perhaps you are working on a team to complete a project, here, expressing negativity can create dialogue and lead to more analytical and rigorous decision-making.
Negativity is also distinct from toxicity.
Toxic, adjective, causing unpleasant feelings; harmful or malicious.
You should absolutely avoid toxicity. When you see toxic people, Run.Seriously, I learned this mistake when I hung on to a toxic relationship with an ex-romantic partner, thinking that our conversations were helping both of us. In reality, it was just draining for everyone and eventually, turned into cyberstalking where law enforcement had to get involved.
While some toxic people can and do express negativity, people can also express negativity without being toxic. This distinction is important, as negativity is far too often linked to things that are actually annoying or harmful.