today is the day to be positive
happiness doesn't just happen

don't let the bad ruin the good

 

focus on the good 
 
"You can't let one bad moment spoil a bunch of good ones."

Dale Earnhardt

 

When bad things happen, it's easy to forget the good things, isn't it? For me, sometimes I feel like I focus on whatever that one bad thing is and forget to put everything in perspective. For example, lately I've had a bad online experience. For the first time since I've started my blog, I've been contacted in ways that are unpleasant. Immediately I've panicked, thinking to myself, "Maybe I should stop writing. Maybe I should just get rid of the blog." My heart pounding with the thought of bad things happening, thoughts of getting rid of the blogs, closing down my Twitter account, and canceling my email address raced through my mind. Maybe the blog wasn't worth it. Maybe the feeling of fear was stronger than the benefits of blogging.

And then I realized: I was focusing on one bad thing and ignoring all the good things. What about all of the emails people have sent me telling me how much they love my blog? What about all of the great comments and feedback via Twitter? What about all of the people who have told me that reading my blog really helps them? All of those things fell into the background when I focused on the one negative thing that's happened to me since I started blogging. I was letting the negative take over and I wasn't focusing on the positive, which, seriously, is so silly because isn't that the point of the blog? Perhaps I need Positively Present more than anyone!

As I'm sure you know well, it's easy to think about the one bad thing when it happens to you. It takes over, pushing the other, positive things to the back burner. And that is not a good thing. After all, because of one bad thing I almost decided to stop blogging, one of my favorite things in the world to do. (This also speaks to the idea of letting the actions of others influence you, a topic I'll save for another day...) To give up on something I love because of a single bad experience would be wrong, right? I think so! But how often do we think to do that? For me, it's more often than it should be. One bad thing happens and I'm tempted to give up. But not this time. I'm not going to give up on all of the good things because of one bad thing.

Though you might not be able to relate to this situation personally, I'm sure there are other things in life in which one bad thing has made you think about only that, ignoring all of the good things. For example, a fight with a loved one can really do this for me. I have a wonderful time with that person, really love and care about that person, but when we have a fight all I can think about is what happened, what was said, what is bad. Of course, when I think about that logically, I realize how ridiculous that is. I'm focusing on the negative rather than the positive. Yes, sometimes negative conversations have to be had and things that aren't super positive have to be dealt with, but that shouldn't dominate the interactions with someone (and, if it does, something should be done about that relationship!). One bad thing doesn't need to stick out of all of the good things.

What we choose to focus on is all up to us. We can focus on the negative (as I have been lately when it comes to the blog) or we can focus on the positive. It's all up to us. So what's my advice for turning the focus from the one negative to all the positive? I've had some personal experience with this lately because not only have I been thinking about the negative but I've had it reinforced by those around me who have, in so many words, made it clear that they think the internet is a dangerous place that would be better left alone. Lately I've had a lot of thinking to do and it's taken a lot to convince me that what I'm doing on this site is worth more than one bad experience. Here are my tips for making sure the one bad thing doesn't ruin the many good things.

 

3 Steps To Stop the Bad From Ruining the Good


Step 1: Don't forget about the good.
When the bad seems overwhelming and it's taking over your thoughts, it's not always easy to remember what is good about a situation. Take a moment to think about what the good things are. What do you love about the person you're fighting with? What makes you happy about the situation you're in? How many times have you found joy in doing what is causing your current unhappiness? For me, in my situation, I thought about all of the wonderful, supportive emails I've received from readers. I thought about all of the great comments I've received on my blog, reinforcing the idea that this is a good thing, that I'm bringing good into the world. I thought about all of the ways my family members and friends have supported my blog. When I thought about these things, the one bad thing seemed a lot less important. It was upsetting still, yes, but not nearly enough to counteract all of the positive emotions.


Step 2: Remember who you are.
No matter what the situation or what happens, that thing or action or thought or arrangement of words is not you. You are you. Whatever the bad thing may be, no matter how it feels, it doesn't have to take away from the person you are. Bad things happen to everyone, but it's our reactions to them that can really bring us down, that can totally transform our world. For example, in my case, I nearly let one bad thing stop me from doing what I love -- writing on this blog. This blog is an extension of who I am. That bad thing is not. It is not about me. It is completely about someone else and I have to remember that who I am, what I do, is what's important. What others do is their business. I had to remind myself of who I was in order to realize that doing what I love is what I should be doing. I am who I am and what others do cannot and will not change that.


Step 3: Look for the lessons in the bad.
This, for me, is the most important step. When something bad happens it's so easy to want to give up, to throw in the towel, and say, "This is just too much work!" But don't do that. Realize first all of the good things in the situation and then see what you can learn from the bad things. There is always a lesson and if we don't look for it we're missing out. No matter what the situation -- an argument, a negative thought, a terrible event -- we can gain knowledge from that and move forward with that knowledge in hand. Finding the lesson in the bad makes it seem less pointless. I've learned from the bad things and it's helping me make the good things even better. This entire post is an explanation of what I've learned from my situation. The one bad thing has led me to learn more about myself and how I plan to deal with bad things in the future.

 


Bad things happen all the time. Whether you have a dream job, a perfect relationship, or a fulfilling blog, something bad is going to happen to it at one time or another. You'll mess up a big project, you'll get into a fight with your spouse, you'll have to deal with people who make you unhappy. It happens. That doesn't mean that the situation is any less wonderful. One bad thing doesn't have to take away from all of the good things. One bad thing doesn't have to be the focus. Remember, you have the power to choose what you focus on. You can choose to let that one negative thing take over, or, like I'm doing, you can center your thoughts on the positive and look for all of the good in the situation. This specific situation for me has taught me a lot, but the most important thing I've learned is that, no matter what, I'm not giving up on what I love. And you shouldn't either. Don't let the one bad ruin all of the good.

Do you ever let one bad thing become the focus? How do you stop doing that?
Fellow bloggers, has any one thing ever made you want to give up and stop writing?

Comments

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Oh I was so guilty of this 1 negative ruling idea, but I have found with lots of successes and experience under my feet the worry goes away and I can see the whole.

I used the word ab__tion in one of my earlier posts, referring to the title of an article written by a candidate. My blog was flooded with some kind of machine commenting devise calling me a murder and other very awful things...but it brought my blog to a halt and it took days to clean it up and start again. I was sure it was a sign that I should quit until I discovered it was some kind of computer program.

I was just patient and it paid off - now people actually read what I write and that feels so wonderful
Nice writing thank you

Thanks for a wonderful post! I can totally relate to letting a negative experience take over and shortchange us of basking in the benefits and rewards of our positive. Your post reminded me of a post that I wrote back in March when a couple interactions with difficult parents made me question my value as a teacher. http://puttingpositivityintopractice.blogspot.com/2009/03/it-can-be-tough-to-stay-positive.html
I am inspired and uplifted by your thoughtful posts. Thank you so much and I think you have all the answers you need about how to stay positive; you just have to be quiet enough to listen to that voice and not let others drown it out. It is wonderful, though, to get support and input here.. I just think sometimes we underestimate our own power and resilience. Thanks again for sharing.

I'm a regular reader and am glad you've decided not to let one unpleasant person's drama it stop you! Some people live to be negative, pay them no mind.

It is difficult to remember the good depending on the negative that happens. I like to stop, take a deep breath, and find things for which I am thankful. It is just something little I can do to remind myself that one negative doens't take the joy from life.

Patricia - That's wonderful that you can now see the whole and not focusing on the one negative thing. I cannot believe what happened when you wrote about that topic on your site. That is crazy! I'm so glad you didn't quit. Your story is inspiring. Thanks so much for sharing it and helping me to realize that I'm not alone.

Joan - I agree that I definitely underestimate my own power at times. Your comment has reminded me that I have the ability to be positive within me. I'm going to check out your post now. Thanks for including the link!

Sarah - Thanks for the support! I appreciate it and you're totally right. It would be wrong to let one thing affect all of the joy I receive from writing my blog.

The Exception - That's a great idea. Thinking about the things we're thankful for can really help us put things into perspective. It's not always easy to do, but it's so worth it to take a deep breath and think about the things we're grateful for.

This is a great lesson. I've recently received my first negative comment from a guest post. Like you, I panicked a bit. I thought maybe people didn't like it. Then I got more comments supporting my post and I began to realize that the good comments are not what I should write for. I write so I can share what I like and hear people's opinions. Whether or not those comments are good shouldn't effect me.

When you have any sort of opinion be prepared for feedback, good or bad.

I have experienced this as well and it has been almost enough to make me throw in the towel.
In regards to blogging, I have wanted to quit a few times, or at the very least, edit what I was writing about as to not offend people. Then I remembered that this is MY blog, a record of MY thoughts. If I started catering to all the different people who visited it then it wouldn't be mine anymore. You can't please everyone. To thine own self be true...to quote some guy ;)

Unfortunately tv often talks about bad things like wars. while it's useful to receive the information for them, we also make the habit to listen to bad things and then in turn we complain about bad things forgetting all the awesomeness we have around.

I agree! We can easily talk ourselves into any or out of most of our moods. As psychologist Albert Ellis asserted, and I'm paraphrasing; No emotional outburst can last without us continuously feeding it negative thoughts.

Sorry for your problem Dani, but that's life. Truly without some bad things happening, you wouldn't appreciate the good. The fact that something bad happened will make you treasure the good all that much more! It will actually enhance those experiences. Live on!

Pessimism is a mental disorder, and it is one that has to be taught, because most people start out as optimists. I remember, as a child, the sickening feeling that I got when I was exposed to negative people, and for a while, I let them turn me into one of them. I become a vampire just like them when they bit me and sucked my blood. Now I am working on introducing optimism back into my life, and it is much easier to become a pessimist, then it is to become an optimist.

This is human nature. The bad parts in life have a tendency to create deep holes that we can fall into. This is why a person can experience true happiness and bliss one day, and decide to kill themselves the next day. The bad can easily overpower the good, which is why we have to make a conscious effort to not let it.

Terrific!

This is such good advice, and so important to remember, especially when starting out something new.

When I used to wait tables, I always remarked at how you could have wonderful customers all night long, but it only took one bad one to ruin everything. Bleh! It's unfortunate, but so so true.

Hi Dani .. I'd wondered why you'd been slightly quiet recently - and I'm so glad you haven't stopped writing - you have such a good perspective about things that are going on and it's uplifting to read about. I can absolutely relate to your comments about brooding on the one negative that's going on .. and I'm so pleased I'm on a journey of enlightenment from all our wonderful friends.

It's one of the maxims of social media .. it is social .. if you don't like it tough - but frankly it's not yours, so move on. Some people can't be polite and thoughtful in normal life - I feel sorry for them.

Keep writing, keep blogging, we're here for you and we benefit from your words, and we learn from others comments ..

Enjoy the day and keep your head up ..
all the best and many thoughts -
Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters

Don't let one bad incident take you away from what you enjoy doing! There are different kinds of people trawling the web. He or she may also be having a bad day.

It's a good idea not to be too bothered by the comments of others. If there is no truth in them, it serves us well to not add more energy to the thoughts. If there is, I tend to take the opportunity to reflect on the feedback.

In any case, Dani, you have nothing to worry about. You've got a wonderful blog and amazing insights. You're doing great work :-)

oooooooooooo Dani,
am SO pleased you moved past even considering letting that one bad thing be the deciding factor. YAY YOU.
can be tough though. i've tried to eliminate the word BUT from my vocabulary. no matter what - anything that follows that word seems to negate anything/everything positive before it.

as for letting one thing make me want to stop blogging/ creating. sure. thankfully that's only lasted a few seconds though. i just try to remember my favorite of the posters i make "What others think of me is none of my business." ha!

WRITE ON, Dani!

I can totally relate to this, Dani. I've always wondered if I'm more sensitive than others, because I really take things to heart. I don't know if my feelings get more easily hurt, or if others just shrug *it* off more easily.

I do think that this *weakness* can also be a *strength.* (Please don't think I'm saying you're weak...that's not what I mean...) How can I explain this properly? I think that because I'm overly-sensitive, that makes me more empathetic towards others. I may be more sensitive than others, but I might also be more caring than others...(I don't know if this is all true. It's just something I'm working through in my mind and in my journey.)

Dani, I don't know if I've answered your question at all. I'm glad you've persevered, though. Do you know how many of us LOVE your blog?!

Joan - I completely agree. We should take whatever feedback we get. If it had just been the case of a negative comment I think I could have handled it well (at least I like to hope I could) but it's more than that. With the good comes the bad and it's important to accept things for what they are.

Shannanigans - It's definitely important to remember that this is my blog and my life and I should live it how I want to live it (regardless of what others do) but when it crosses a line that's unacceptable that's when things become a little different. Luckily I've never really had negative comments on the blog so I'm fortunate in that respect!

Oscar - Good point. The way the world is it seems that the negative gets more attention than the positive so it's no surprise that we do the same things in our everyday lives. It's important to remember that we can control what we focus on and I'm going to choose to focus on the awesome!

Bakari - Excellent idea you've brought up in your comment. We have the power to control what we think about and focus on which is why I need to take my focus off of the negative and put it back on the positive!

Stephen - Very true. That's life indeed! The bad things definitely make us appreciate the good that much more and without them the good wouldn't really be that good.

Trey - You're right. We're not born pessimists. We become that way as we learn more about the world and are influenced by those around us. I'm glad that you're (like me!) choosing to find more optimism in your life. It's very possible to let the bad overcome what is good, but we do have a choice about what we focus our attention on. I'm choosing to focus on the many good things instead of this one bad thing!

TherapyDoc - Thank you! It was actually really great for me to write this because it was something I was battling with and I feel a lot better getting it out there and hearing others' responses.

Tiffany - That's a great example of waiting tables. I'm sure there are many good customers but one bad one can probably ruin your mood. Thanks for sharing that with us!

Hilary - Thank you for your support. It means a lot! :) I'm so glad to know that others benefit from my words and want me to keep writing. You've made a really good point about social media and how being involved with it means being exposed to all sorts of people. It's unfortunate but it's reality and I must remember to keep it all in perspective.

Evelyn - You're right. There are all kinds of people on the internet and I have to keep that in mind when I'm putting myself out there like I am with this blog. If it were just a comment, I think I would be okay with that, but it's more than that. I do think it's important to keep a perspective on the whole thing and keep doing what I love to do! Thanks so much for the compliments! :)

Lisa - "What others think of me is none of my business" - I love that! I'm pretty sure I'd be able to handle negative comments on my blog (thankfully it hasn't come to that!) but I don't deal as well with boundaries being crossed. It's definitely tough to deal with, but I'm going to keep on writing. Thanks for your support!

Kirwin - Thanks so much! I'm so glad you love the blog! :) I'm pretty good about not being overly sensitive, though I haven't had to deal with too much negativity relating to the blog. As I noted to Lisa, it's the issues with boundaries that get me and it's something that I was struggling with. To put yourself out on the internet is risky, but I'm so glad that others are benefiting from what I'm doing! :)

Heh, that's funny, I just received the first anonymous hater comment on my blog too, telling me "all" my articles were nothing but a ripoff of Eckhart Tolle. I felt sorry for the person who left the comment if they were really reading through the 100+ articles on my site comparing them all with Eckhart's work. But I doubt that they did. :)

PP, to answer your questions;

Do you ever let one bad thing become the focus? Yes, too much but we are human and it does happen to everyone sometimes.

How do you stop doing that? Writing. I find writing down how the one bad thing made me feel, what evidence do I have to support it (or more importantly to NOT support it) and then the positives/lessons the one bad thing has given me.

Fellow bloggers, has any one thing ever made you want to give up and stop writing? Yes, self doubt has made me want to give up. It seems at this stage that I'm my own worst critic!

PP, I'm SO glad you didn't give up. Your blog is a beautiful, inspiring and POSITIVE force for the world. Don't ever let anyone tell you otherwise. Whilst they are entitled to their opinion, you don't have to take in on board and your evidence is in your readership. We love what you have to say and you have helped many, many people in a whole lot of different ways through this space, including me.

This was one of my favorite posts of the weekend - I've felt the same way about many things lately, even my blog at times! You gave some great perspective and thank you for sharing it. You never know who you might be reaching who is going through the same things at the same time. :)

Chris - If I were you, I'd take that as a compliment! :) But I know what you're saying. It's not a good feeling to have someone criticize you in that way, but it's important not to worry about what other people say.

Sami - Thanks for your great responses to the questions! I agree that everyone does focus on the negative things sometimes and that writing is a great way to deal with negative situations. Thank you so much for your support of PP. It means a lot to me that I'm putting out a positive message to the world and it's great to know that others are benefiting from me doing what I love most -- writing!

Laura - I'm so happy that you were able to relate to this post and that it spoke to you. It hasn't been the easiest for me to deal with this situation but it's been great to write about it and get great feedback on it. I'm glad you enjoyed the post!

Hi Dani,
I am late this week getting to my reader.This article is so true to the core.
I don't know all the answers but I do know negativity uses up more energy than positive energy.When something goes wrong I try to fight off the negative of course that is after the shock.
My strategy is turning it into something positive that you learn from.
So no matter how big the disappointment, it was inevitable, it was meant to be or wasn't meant to be. BUT - it will open up new doors and opportunities in the long run.

Hi Dani
Great post. I love the message of this post and the 3 steps are spot on. A must read for everybody.
Thanks for sharing.
Giovanna Garcia
Imperfect Action is better than No Action

Focus and perspective really do make all the difference. For example, if I walk into a room and ask what's wrong with this picture, I remind myself to ask what's right with this picture.

It's not like one perspective is better than the other ... it depends on what you want to accomplish. Instead, I like to survey multiple perspectives, get a holistic view, then make a better choice from a better vantage point. This is similar to Edward de Bono's Six Thinking Hats or PMI approach.

Feedback is another great example. We're trained to focus on the negative as an improvement opportunity. That's cool and all, but it's out of balance. Whenever I give or get feedback, I frame it very simply -- 3 things going well and 3 things to improve. This helps balance out the picture. Otherwise, it's easy to amplify the bad and overshadow the good.

Hi Dani. Those people are focusing their energy on Positively Present... that IS a good thing; whether negative or positive, they are focusing on your blog; it is challenging their own beliefs. I agree that we choose what we focus on. I have a tendency to focus on the one bad thing, but what I've learned about that in my experience, is that I just want to bring it into focus. To understand it better and try to see it a better way (not that I always come to that conclusion mind you), but as a perfectionist I get caught up in the cycle of trying to make everything better.

Bunny - Great point. Negativity definitely uses up more energy than positivity does. It's draining! Turning the negative into the positive isn't always easy, but it's the best way to make the most of a bad situation.

Giovanna - Thank you! I appreciate your comment and your support on the blog. :)

J.D. - Thanks for sharing some great insights. I agree that putting everything in perspective is so important and choosing what we focus on (negative or positive) is equally as important. Keeping everything in perspective and focusing on the good will definitely make any situation seem manageable!

Davina - Good point! I never thought about it like that, but you're right. Even though the issue was more about me and less about the blog, I do get what you're saying. Thanks for the great feedback!

Please do not ever let anything stop you from doing this blog. It is wonderful.

You will always get haters.
It just means you're doing something good and by staying true to yourself the haters will either convert to loving you or they will fade away over time. Just ignore them:)

Losing track is easy to do, but you gotta stand strooooong :)

Keep well Dani
Ciao bella;)
Diggy

Jan - Thank you so much! :) I'll keep it up!

Diggy - You're right. Things aren't always going to be perfect, but I have to stay strong and keep doing what I love.

I think lesson #3 is definitely the most prominent. Instead of viewing the past as "problematic" or hurtful, I try and view it as a training ground for life. Maybe it wasn't always enjoyable or friendly, but it transformed me into the individual that I am today, and for that I have it to thank.

Travis - I think that's a great way to think about a problem, as a training ground for life. Everything that happens to us can be transformed into a lesson.

"I've been contacted in ways that are unpleasant."

Wow, I can only imagine what they said that was so upsetting. The thing to remember is that everyone is entitled to their own opinion and you are entitled to not give a shit. Do I sound harsh? YES. It is so true, however, that the older you get, the less you care about what people think. I mean, you care; you just don't CARE.

Anyway, don't even engage them in private. The only time I do is if I do it on my blog when all of my ubersupportive readers are 'there' to back me up. Sometimes they are just trolls; mean and ugly, trying to instigate drama!

Hayden - Yeah, it was definitely unsettling to say the least, but I think you're on to something. It's important not to care what others think. Even though this went further than just a negative comment on the blog, I do think the same principle applies. The only thing I can really worry about is what I think and do. I can't focus on the actions or words of others.

Dani, thanks for this post. I have dealt with a lot of negativity with my wife and alcoholism. But I find that it isn't about me. It isn't mine to own. I am thankful to be a positive person. Occasionally I do get sidetracked by someone else's negativism. But I have the tools to get back on track.

Syd - Negativity is a big part of alcoholism. It's very hard when you are dealing with alcoholic family members not to have a negative outlook on life, but it's great to hear that you have the tools to get back on track when you need to.

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