We have scorpions in the forests of southern Oregon where I live, so I am going to use them in an illustrative way to make my point about emotional health. These nasty little critters can slip through the smallest of cracks and have lightning fast stingers. They are bad news on several levels.
The sting of most scorpions is not deadly, but the poison they inject is extremely painful and can cause a number of complications. But from time to time they show up inside our house and seeing one walk across your living room carpet is not a comfortable feeling.
The emotional poison of negativity
Negative talk and conversations that lean in a negative direction are a lot like scorpions, but instead of physical poison they inject us with emotional poison. Negativity can easily slip through the cracks when our guard is down and seep into our consciousness. Then that insidious verbal poison goes to work changing the direction of our thoughts and words.
I’m not sure why, but when we get around conversations that are harsh or judgmental it can pull us in like quicksand. Before we even realize it, the effects of this emotional poison can cause us to say and feel things that are completely contrary to our generally positive nature.
Limit exposure to corrupting emotional influences
If we want to maintain a happy, positive, and grateful attitude, it is absolutely vital that we avoid exposing ourselves to poisonous influences. If you picture negative speech an emotional scorpion, what will you do when someone tries to hand it to you? You are going to avoid it like the plague, right? You’ll refuse to have anything to do with it. In fact, you will automatically move in the opposite direction to protect yourself.
I invite you to anchor this image of negative talk as a poisonous scorpion. Train your reflexes to avoid it like the dangerous, corrupting emotional influence that it is. Doing so will make it much easier to focus on things that are positive and support emotional health. You will find it much easier to maintain a positive frame of mind and a positive, optimistic tone in your speech.
Choose your influencers carefully
It’s an undeniable fact that we are all susceptible to the emotional influence of those around us, both positive and negative. Why not use that knowledge in a beneficial way by putting ourselves in the company of those whose primary focus is positive and encouraging?
Have you ever met somebody who never has a bad word to say about anyone? How do you feel about that person, do you like being around them? Not only is it refreshing, it is also contagious. It rubs off on us!
On the other hand, have you ever been around people who like to put down others and constantly focus on negative things? The next thing you know, you find yourself right in the middle of their conversation. Later on, you look back on the whole experience and wonder how you let yourself slip into that.
Cultivate association with positive people
In a world with an abundance of negative noise, we all need to take steps to protect our emotional health. Avoiding the negative influences can go a long way toward maintaining a positive attitude. Being in the company of those who have a positive outlook also helps us to recognize our own blessings and to appreciate them even more.
Don’t keep company with people who dwell on negative things, don’t let them corrupt your emotions by handing you a verbal scorpion. If you make it a point to associate with those who are positive and encouraging, you’ll find that your whole world takes on a completely different feeling.
Good association builds positive emotional health
It’s really a matter of training. If you can train yourself to view negative talk as emotional poison then your instant reaction will be to move away from it, and to avoid it. I’m not just talking about live speech here. This also applies to entertainment including the music you listen to, television programs you watch, and the movies you see.
All of these things should be considered association. It’s all input and your mind doesn’t know the difference between a conversation on the television and a conversation with a live person.
There is incredible power in association and we can benefit ourselves by making wise choices in this area. It is extremely important that we avoid exposing ourselves to those who have a negative bent and who use their speech in a defamatory or judgmental way. Hang around with people who are happy, positive upbeat and grateful and you’ll find yourself cultivating those same empowering qualities.
Are you thinking about the people you associate with?
Have you ever been pulled into a negative conversation?
Do you have friends that help you maintain a positive outlook?
The Lines are open!