Cutting Negativity Out of your Life and Why It’s a Bad Idea

We’ve all heard it hundreds of times before. ‘He’s giving you grief? Cut that negativity out of your life.’ ‘Ugh, looking at them just makes me feel awful/angry… Unfollow. Unfriend. Disconnect.’ Whenever we’re presented with negative or challenging thoughts we’re encouraged to cut them out…
Here’s why (in my humble opinion) you shouldn’t.

For me, anxiety is like a light-switch in my head, clicking off in my brain and exposing it suddenly to the dark thoughts that send me into spirals. These triggers can often come from a place of selfishness. Jealousy, self-doubt, comparison games, anger at friends living their lives without you.

“Cut the negativity out of your life” and other phrases like this ring alarm bells in my mind. If you’re consistently cutting things out that cause you issues, how does that leave time for reflection and growth? Ignoring a negative feeling or presence does not make that thing automatically disappear – in fact I’ve found the opposite is true.

Cutting out Ugly Thoughts and Feelings

In the past I have cut things out of my life that bothered me as they made me feel things that are “ugly” and “shouldn’t be felt.” Jealousy boiling in my stomach, anger searing across the back of my neck, embarrassment burning in my cheeks. Cut those things out. Get rid of that emotion ASAP. Get on with your day. Right?

I actually found that cutting these triggers out, only worsened the repetition of anxious episodes. What I could have gotten over in a few short hours with some careful thought, self-care and reasoning, left me with months of anger, resentment and stress. Whenever I saw a reminder of things I’d cut out – cue panic attacks. Whenever I saw someone who I’d cut out of my life in jealous rage – oops, who turned out the lights.

Allow yourself time to process these feelings instead

These feelings of anger and sadness – they’re just as important to accept as the positive feelings. I’ve found too, that the more you’re curious to the cause of the problem, the less of an effect it will have in the long run.

  • Why am I reacting in this way?
  • Why does this person affect me so much?
  • Why do I feel hurt?
  • When did it start?

If you’re feeling jealous – don’t be ashamed of it. If you’re feeling angry, breathe and accept it – Try to reason with it. Question everything. Write it all down. That monster waiting in the dark spaces, could just turn out to be a shadow.

This is entirely drawn on my own experiences, thoughts and findings during my uphill struggles with my mental health over the past few years. If this helps for you, then that’s amazing and I’d love to hear your thoughts, but I would always advise you see a doctor if you’re feeling low.

You might also like to read my post “Getting out of a Self Doubt spiral” here.

3 thoughts on “Cutting Negativity Out of your Life and Why It’s a Bad Idea

  1. I like what you said about jealousy because I agree it’s good to analyze why we feel jealous. However, I do truly believe if someone is causing actually negativity, I don’t have time for that. Sure, it’s good to reflect and learn, but I believe life is too short to keep negative people around

  2. This is why I love mindfulness! 🙂 Mindfulness is all about working through things rather than just tossing things out willy nilly. While you do make changes to get rid of negative things in your life it’s only AFTER you’ve worked through stuff, and answered the questions that you talk about in your post. It’s about focusing on the present, and that is something that I particularly struggle with. I have a LOT of bad memories and having a photographic memory means I relive everything so vividly that I am literally carrying it with me all the time. Mindfulness has helped me learn how to work with that, and focus myself on what is happening in the here and now rather than let my anxiety run off wild.

  3. negative feelings we need, negative people not so much and we can move on. this is kind of similar to using exposure techniques in order to overcome a phobia, that said that isn’t a reason to keep somebody who is causing you problems in your life if you don’t have to. life’s too short for that, so I agree with this post when talking about feelings. Not so much with toxic people. Although you could argue that in some situations like if you don’t care so much for your friends friend but still want to be friends with your friend then this could be helpful! lol x Also Jealousy is something I experience all of the time but if I look at it closer it makes more sense than just superficially being a jealous person, it’s usually about be being unhappy with an aspect of myself not yet fully realised. nice post Amy xx

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