A New Look at the Word "Negative"

Our society has become a little obsessed with the word negative when we refer to it in terms of emotions and/or feelings and somewhere along the way the word has gotten a bad wrap.

When we look up the word negative in the dictionary, these are the top definitions for the word in its use as a noun, verb and adjective:

  • consisting in or characterized by the absence rather than the presence of distinguishing features.
  • less than zero; to be subtracted from others or from zero.
  • containing, producing, or denoting the kind of electric charge carried by electrons. a photographic image made on film or specially prepared glass that shows the light and shade or color values reversed from the original, and from which positive prints can be made. no (or opposite of affirmative)
  • render ineffective; neutralize
  • the part of an electric circuit that is at a lower electrical potential than another part designated as having zero electrical potential.
  • a word or statement that expresses denial, disagreement, or refusal.

When we read this list we remember our elementary school lessons on negative numbers. -1 is less than +1. It doesn't mean that -1 is a jerk or angry... it just means that it is less than zero by one unit. If we remember photography class in high school we'd remember that a photographic print is created from the negative (or reversed) image. A car battery has both a negative and positive charge required to run the engine - it doesn't mean the battery has both good days and bad days.

We can't have yes without no. We need the affirmative and the negative. We need to experience both sides of preferences so that we can be really clear about what we care for and what we don't care for. We need to try an olive to see if we'll like them or not. 

I think we can all wrap our heads around these uses of the word negative; where we loose perspective is when it comes to emotions or feelings that feel undesirable. So, I'd like to challenge us to take some of our power back around the word negative.

If you are feeling a feeling that you don't like to feel or feeling a way that is making you feel negatively about yourself or another, don't be tempted to look at it as some awful thing forcing you to run and hide - quite the opposite - it's something needing your attention and/or your action to get back on track.

Let's say that we are having a really hard time in life and we have convinced ourselves that everything sucks because of one or two tough circumstances that hit us back-to-back. Well, this vibrational universe that we live in is going to make sure to bring like-feeling people and situations to us to perpetuate that "life sucks" attitude about life, helping us to confirm that old saying, "Misery loves company." One or two bad circumstances will quickly turn into five or six if we don't stop our negative train of thought screeching out of control, giving us even more evidence to continue with our "whatever - people are stupid" campaign. If this frequency of crap-ola continues unchecked, our tribe is going to agree with us that the boss it a nut-job, parking at that particular mall always stinks and that girl's lipstick is way too red. Our tribes will ruminate with us to gripe about our husbands and complain about how expensive everything has gotten and the next thing we know, we have become a "negative person". Now, I use that term "negative person" on purpose because we say that all the time to one another. I don't buy that one bit. I don't think people are negative, I think people vibrate in a negative space and if they sit there in that negative vibration for too long it can become a bad habit making misery an almost comfortable place to be. That said, frequencies can be changed - we do have control over how we vibrate, how we act and how we react to situations. Keep in mind that when moving from a predominately "life sucks" vibration to a "life is pretty good" vibration, there will be constant checks and balances needed because it can be easy to slip back into the stinkin' thinkin'. But, it can be done and it is absolutely worth it!!!!!  

Encouraging, right? The notion that we can drop the habit of stinkin' thinkin' to vibrate at a higher frequency is great news, right? To that end, I'd like to add one more definition to the list of definitions for the word negative to help us get really clear about what works for us and what doesn't.

  • Negative: Something that doesn't serve me in my journey towards a joyful life. Something that pulls me in the opposite direction of joy.

In our previous scenario, If we could have held this new definition in our awareness at the start of the downward spiral, one or two tough circumstances wouldn't have turned into eight or nine troubling issues because they would have been negated or neutralized very early on. If we were to say on that first bad day, "you know what, I think someone or something bigger than me is trying to tell me something and I need to learn from it. Plus, nothing I want vibrates here..." we would be using these difficult situations as a learning tool instead of demonizing them and folding to its vibration.

Another thing to keep in mind is that one person's negative experience is another person's joyful moment. The Teacups ride as Disneyland puts a great big smile on my husband's face and a big-ol' sourpuss on mine. The Teacups aren't negative or positive themselves, they just don't serve me in my direction of joy where they absolutely serve my husband's direction towards joy. Keeping this in mind will help me to appreciate that the Teacups exist for people like my husband but it's my preference to get an ice cream instead.

So, the next time we find ourselves in a situation that irritates us, let's not take the easy way out and just fold to the "negative moment" or "negative person" and complain by saying, "See, things just suck." Let's take our power back and say "There's a lesson here, let's learn from it and carry on" or "There's an action I need to take here so let's thank this situation for showing me a great big stop sign, grow from it and move on."

-Dawn Marie. © Copyright, 2017, The Zen Room