Negativity: Lacking positive or constructive features; unpleasant; disagreeable, gloomy; pessimistic outlook, unfavorable, detrimental, hostile, disparaging; malicious. Something that lacks positive, affirmative, or encouraging features.

Our shadow side can be subtle, laying snares and traps for us on our path to our best self. The more we work on our personal and professional growth, the more nuanced the traps may be. As I wrote on negativity, I chose to look inward and wonder what weeds of negativity might still be growing, perhaps flourishing, in my personal, inner garden? The stronger emotions of negativity: hate, guilt, shame, blame, and even anger are more obvious and clear cut and thus easier to deal with. The more subtle ones: doubt, regrets, resentment, excessive expectations, frustration, second guessing, majoring in minor things: These often require balancing, for just as a vaccine is simply the disease in a small dose, so do some otherwise “negative” emotions serve a purpose in small amounts. Or perhaps a “good” emotion/thought train carried to excess or extreme can morph into the negative.

Questions of Balance:

When does a sincere desire to analyze and learn from experience turn into second guessing and regret?

Where does a strong desire for growth and progress cross over into excessive expectations, perhaps even frustration and resentment?

When do love of excellence and high standards of performance become debilitating judgment? Nit picking? Major in minor things? Letting ones pet peeves become priorities?

When does planning ahead and “saving for a rainy day” become yielding to one’s doubts?

Where lies the boundary between intelligent prudence and living in fear?

I have no generalized answer; the answer is always personal and perhaps changes for each individual, even a different answer at different points in life’s journey. And perhaps the answer lies as much in the process, in the willingness to ask the question and listen to what rises up from within your soul.

Closing Image Quotes:

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