3 Ways to Deal with 3 Different Forms of Negativity in the World

“The world is full of a lot of fear and a lot of negativity, and a lot of judgment. I just think people need to start shifting into joy and happiness. As corny as it sounds, we need to make a shift.” ~Ellen DeGeneres

I’ve dealt with a lot of negativity in my life.

When I was only 20, my dad died of ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease. Before that I had to watch him suffer from it for a couple of years as his body slowly lost its functions.

Also, when I was young I was bullied a lot. Because I was taught to never fight back, I had a lot of pent up anger knowing that my wrongdoers “won” and got away with it.

To this day, sometimes I have trouble letting go of both big things and small things.

As such, I tend to develop a train of negative thoughts easily, subsequently affecting my mood.

Do any of you feel overwhelmed by negativity?

The Negativity in the World

The thing about negativity is that it’s rampant.

You’re bound to encounter people who disagree with you or people who seem out to bring you down.Then there’s the negative state of the world, where bad things happen to good people and innocent people suffer for no reason.

As such, the negative thoughts tend to enter your mind.

“Why is life so unfair?”

“What did I do to deserve this?”

“What if bad things happen to me?”

Sounds familiar?

And we’re told to simply accept all the bad stuff.

That, to me, is the biggest problem when it comes to dealing with negativity properly.

A lot of us are often told to simply accept, because that’s just how it is, or like me, I was told to “man up and get over it.”

With more than seven billion people on this planet, there is bound to be conflict.

But we all have a choice in how we deal with negativity. We can’t change the world, but we can certainly change our perception and responses.

Here are 3 ways to deal with 3 different forms of negativity:

Dealing with Negative People

It can be aggravating to face someone who has treated you unfairly, taken advantage you, or seems to just want to attack you.

Don’t think that these people have “won” and managed to have an edge over you. Realize that they are actually very insecure.

Take note of this: Every attack is a cry for help.

That is why negative people act the way they do. They never bother to find healthy ways to deal with their problems, but instead want to take it out on others.

Try to look beyond their actions to understand them and help them; but know that sometimes it’s best to reevaluate your relationship with that person.

You can do yourself a favor by ending toxic friendships. Since my dad died, I’ve realized life is too short to keep getting angry with people. I don’t fight back, but I just stop contacting these ex-friends altogether.

Also, choose to surround yourself with positive people.

Who do you like? Who inspires you? Who do you feel comfortable with? Make the effort to hang out with them more and you’d be surprised how much it can help you.

Dealing with Negative Thoughts

No, I don’t believe it’s as simple as “Stop thinking about it” or “Focus on the positive.”

I think it’s perfectly normal to have a negative thought. The problem only comes when you allow it to change into a train of thought that rides to no end.

For example, a close friend betrayed me some time back. When the incident enters my mind, I somehow cook up a whole scenario of me wanting to challenge him to a fight, and then I think of how I’d end up in jail for breaking the law.

See how dramatic that is?

This can go on for a good few minutes. It’s not healthy at all.

We need to recognize when we cloud our mind in this way so that we don’t let negative thoughts ruin our day.

After you recognize your negative thought patterns, dig deep and find out where they’re coming from so that you can deal with the underlying problem head-on.

As with my own example, part of the negativity comes from the fact that I didn’t do much to “get back at him.” Instead of being angry with myself, I worked on letting go of the instinct for revenge.

When you think a negative thought, recognize it, learn from it if you need to, and let it go. Then replace it with something better.

Dealing with the Negative State of the World

Thinking of the negative state of the world can be a real downer.

It’s also rather demoralizing to know that it’s a huge uphill battle to try to make a positive difference.

The best solution is to simply get out there and start helping others.

That’s not to say to immediately start a movement and try to change the world overnight. Just go do something nice for someone. Help a friend or family member out. Do a random good deed. Do some volunteer work.

When you help others, it automatically makes everything better for yourself. And the world becomes a better place.

Too often people over analyze how or when they should do something positive. Take action now, for your own sake and for those around you. That little action alone will go a long way.

You Always Have a Choice

You may not be able to control the world or the way things unfold, but remember, you always have a choice.

You may deal with people and things that seem bad, but you can choose how you perceive and react to them.

It’ll take some work, but it’ll be worth it.

Photo by Lel4nd

About Alden Tan

Alden Tan writes about honest and real stories at his blog. He's both a passionate writer and Bboy. Check out his free book, 12 Things Happy People Don't Give A **** About!

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  • You have a good heart, Alden. That’s how reading your words on negativity feels. You’re not positive or negative. You’re good-hearted.

    Much of my life I spent either being negative (to say the least) or trying to do something about it in a positive way. Impossible attempts… 🙂

    I have found peace when I stopped trying and gave up on the fight.

    I don’t think there are any rules. Sometimes I embrace a negative experience, thought or action and when I do magic happens. Sometimes I don’t but at least I stay true to myself. And there is magic in that too.

    That’s my choice, anyway. 🙂

  • Fiona C

    Hi Alden
    Thank you for great words.
    I too lost my dad from MND when I was 21 and I know that hurt.
    I am 46 now and last year had to support my own son through the loss of his dad (my ex husband) to cancer. That was painful on so many levels. I have said to him during the last 12 months these words ‘You are too intelligent to deal with your grief in a negative way, when there are so many good ways and people who can help you through this’.
    During the last 25 years I have had so many brilliant experiences and learnt so many fantastic things and made good relationships. There has been other sad things too but I think it was we learn that helps us through them.
    It seems you are on a similar path. You have taken painful and difficult experiences and examined the way you are thinking and dealing with them and challenged yourself For that you deserve a huge pat on the back. Such wise words at what I assume is such a young age.
    The best thing thing in life is to be able to examine ourselves and our reactions and too learn ways of thinking and behaving which ultimately bring us the best results and help us become evolved as a person.
    You are certainly on that path and I wish you every good thing for the future. May you have mostly positive, good experiences and may you know how best to deal with the less than good ones : ).

  • Hi Alden,

    I agree, keeping yourself in a negative state of mind doesn’t help at all. You are much lighter when you just let go.

    It’s a bit puzzling why so many people are negative, as it just doesn’t work. Nobody ever gets ahead (sustainably) via negativity, i.e. via manipulating and via being mean to others, etc. Still, people just do this over and over again.

    Like you suggest, I try to just keep away from negative people and when I meet good, positive people I try to keep them around. It’s so simple, but it works wonders.


  • Ann

    The hardest part isn’t always physically separating from a negative person, but mentally separating. Something I find helpful when a negative person is taking up too much head space is to ask myself if I want to give this person my car keys. If I wouldn’t let them drive my car, why would I let them “drive” my brain? Sometimes it helps to give yourself a visual of making that person get out of the driver’s seat and hand back over the keys. Whether you let them sit in back is up to you. I prefer they find another ride.


    I manage my thoughts by remembering that my mind holds 100% energy.
    I then ask myself “how much of that valuable energy is being taken up by thoughts of this person” – this makes me immediately stop thinking about them. My thought/energy space is too valuable to waste on negatives!

  • Marina Bellini

    Omg, I saw myself saying everything that is written here <3


    What a lovely lady you are! And what a lucky boy your son is to have a mother such as you. You have been through so much and yet have chosen to learn from all of that pain. Well done you on growing a great life for both you and your son despite adversity.


  • Hey Halina,

    Thanks so much for the kind words.

    That’s great. Embrace it. Sides, can’t know what’s hot unless you know cold eh?

    I believe it works that way. At the very least, let the downside of life emphasize your upside.

  • Thanks Fiona! Thanks for sharing your inspiring story.

    You’re a lovely woman yourself.

    I love that quote, “You are too intelligent to deal with your grief in a negative way, when there are so many good ways and people who can help you through this’.

    It was hard for me, but eh, only way is go up eh?

  • Yo man,

    I guess it’s just human nature!

    Keep away from negative media too. Too often people just dive in to read the bizarre headline, the random video or whatever. Then they have a bad day, which doesn’t help at all.

  • That’s deep man, cool!

    Not someone to harness energy here, but I just see it as my moods! I don’t want it bad, so there.

  • Glad it helped!

  • That’s smart 🙂

    Yep! Indeed. Just ignore and dump them. No excuses. Too often people are unhappy due to some half-hearted obligation.

  • MathildaMoon

    Good post. Having been bullied as a child, I had a lot of pent up anger as well. I was fortunate enough to work at a treatment facility for at-risk youth, with both the ‘bullies’ and the ‘bullied’. I found that, almost as a rule, the bullies were created by having been bullied themselves. Essentially the bullies and bullied were one in the same. This realization was very therapeutic for me.

  • Em

    A timely reminder. Thank you Alden for sharing your experiences and putting it plain and simple. Good luck with keeping positive. Keep on keeping on x

  • I need to get a better grip on recognizing the origin of my negative thoughts. I do tend to let them bring me down, and negativity has become a very bad habit for me. My problem is, many times I can understand the source of my angst, but am unsure how to deal with it properly. But one step at a time — let me get a reign on the thoughts as they appear, and I can figure out what to do with them as the situations arise. Or, as I like to say, “I’ll just off that bridge when I get there!”

  • Soliana

    Beautiful story and wisdom. Thank you for sharing. 🙂

  • Shelly Miller

    I like your statement, “train of thoughts that rides to
    no end”. For me, this has been one of the most beneficial practices –
    being aware of the thoughts and noticing if they continue on an endless trail. It’s the “train of thoughts that rides to no end” that causes problems.

    Thanks for your post Alden.

  • Nina

    Aiden, thank you so much for this post. It is exactly how I have tried to live my life for many years now.
    5 weeks ago my husband lost his 18 month battle with bowel cancer. We were joined at the hip for 28 years. Since his passing I have undoubtedly been sad/grieving, but I have chosen to be as positive as I can, in what is a very negative time in our lives.
    I had 28 years with a wonderful person – he was a great husband and a fantastic father. I am so fortunate to have had that. That’s what I hold on to.
    I know there are those around me who don’t understand my thought processes. I had a negative incident yesterday where I was asked by a medical professional if I understood that he was gone and not coming back. It got to me. I questioned myself about the path of grieving i have chosen to take.
    And then I read your blog. Negativity will always present itself to me, I can’t stop that. I just have to remain true to myself.

  • Yes, I totally agree what you wrote. I always have negative thinking also. After read your blog, I found a way to let go negative thinking and get something better to replace it. Thanks for sharing this awesome article.

  • Simple logic eh?

    Every attack is a cry for help to me. Bullies attack to fill up some void inside. They do it wrong. It’s not healthy, but that realization definitely helps in knowing that they’re just suffering too.

  • No prob! Glad it help. Remember, they’re just thoughts! You have all your other bodily senses to create a great life. Don’t let thoughts overtake them all.

  • Sorry to hear that Nina 🙁

    Indeed… The world just never stops turning, especially not exclusively for you or anyone.

    It’s always up to us to let it go.

    But hey, you’re so self-aware of your problems. I’m sure your husband is proud!

  • Yep! Not just thoughts. Thoughts happen. It’s the train that goes wild. Stop it.

  • Yeah getting to the root cause is important.

    But hey… don’t be so hard on yourself. You’re already doing great by not doing shit out there (like getting drunk or getting into fights).

    Don’t sweat it. Take your time.

  • For sure! No prob!

  • tried

    Ive been dealing with a negative ex bf. He claims to have feelings for me and says he loves me but says he’s unhappy with himself. He’s finalizing his divorce. We split about a month ago. Ever since then he’s been a rollercoaster of emotions and hot and cold. Some days I can feel positivity from him but a few days later he’s back to being a dark cloud. Ive distanced myself from him to honor his request that we have this break/split so that he can clean up his divorce and life. But does that mean he needs to act so negatively towards me? I confronted him about his hot and cold as well as his avoidant tendancies. He gets upset when I let him know he’s treating me unfairly. He goes off to sulk and then the next day he’s a ray of sunshine. Its so draining to me.
    I got into a disagreement with him today bc I pointed out how he said something insensitive to me. He got mad and stood up to walk away. It made me feel like the person who was once kind and loving had morphed into this ball of negative energy. Granted he’s stressed over the divorce. …but I guess some people focus so much energy on the negative things in life that they have no room to welcome the positive. This is what I think about him lately or what he’s going thru.
    I have tried to make myself scarce around him as he requested but when I do this, he gets upset. So then I try to engage a little and then he shuts me out. This game is getting old and I NEED to focus and find a way to shine thru and realize that although I care for him, he is not caring properly or respectfully for me right now.
    He’s mad at me now because according to him he didn’t need to a lecture on how I felt his comment to me was insensitive.(nevermind that he may have hurt my feelings) I told him sorry if I burst your ego but I have feelings too.

  • Sas

    I was very lucky to learn this at an early age when the girl who made the 6th grade miserable for me fell apart in public when a boy in our class made a very minor criticism at her. I couldn’t believe she would lose it over one very small thing when I had weathered consistent viciousness from her all year. I actually felt compassion for her and ended up comforting her, and she lost all power over me. I’m so grateful that happened to me because I know most people don’t get to witness first hand the victim side of their tormentors- I will never forget that lesson.

  • I also believe in the way you mentioned under the part “Dealing with the negative state of the world” believing in the words “Do it alone, person to person.”
    Good to know there are people like you who share the same thoughts as mine. 🙂

  • MHR

    Thank you, thank you, thank you Alden. Got abused this morning! Glad I found you. 🙂
    I too am a “Nice Person”, taught to Love all, spread the Love wide and to never fight and of course I got abused too, by some pseudo-Friends!!
    I decided recently that I was DONE! I give Good, I deserve Good.
    Now if I ever react to plain and obvious abuse, i.e. just calling the perpetrator on it on the spot, asking why the perpetrator is being mean or rude, what the motivation is,… I am told I am being rude! Too bad.There is no such thing as “tough love” – Love is Kind and Gentle.

    I actually realized I had no boundaries but it does not excuse People abusing me. Now I have “set” healthy boundaries. I still turn a blind eye a little but not as much and I forgive eventually.
    BTW a couple of times I was told why: I am too happy, too joyful, too enthusiastic, too optimistic! … I have also been told I “laugh too much”!!!
    If you are any of these, I thank you, applaud and congratulate you. Be kind but don’t be dragged down or suppressed.

    Let the LOVE loose!

  • Tzeo Arudaloo

    This is a great article, I’ve actually been using some of those things you mentioned sub-consciously, I pretty much figured things out on my own now that I’m 25 years old. When I was younger I’ve had slight hatred going on sometimes for ridiculously trivial things in life and tend to lead to thoughts of revenge in my mind but I’ve already learned how to deal with that, letting go of the feelings for revenge is not easy, there are different methods depending on the person. To me the best way to let go of negativity is one thing that works for me and probably a lot others and that is “Influence”.

    Influence is a powerful thing and can easily change how you think, Be with people you like, Do something you like, Watch something or someone you like. Influence is ridiculously powerful and if you know where to find it when negativity happens than you know how to handle it.