We have all fallen into the pattern: we wake up feeling groggy, weighed down and discouraged. Heaviness fills the air and we drudge through the day. We turn on the news, which magnifies and highlights all the negative things going on in the world. If there is nothing negative going on, they will make up something to draw us in. we then flip through our social media, newspapers or email, to read posts that fuel our negativity and overall discontentment. We then go to our work places and chat with others about how annoying the weather is, how dysfunctional our bosses are or how terrible the company is that we work for.
Seems that we have become comfortable with a very negative way of living. It shows in our faces, our words and what we spend our day focusing on. Seems we are so filled with negativity, we don’t even realize how thick it has become. Mention the weather on any day and you will find someone complaining about it. Our complaints show how negative really are inside. We complain about our spouses, our church, our friends, our job. We focus on what we do not have and what we have to deal with.
It has been my observation that some of the most effective people know how to keep negativity out their life. They don’t deny problems–they condition themselves to look to solutions and how to grow in every circumstance. The problem is that it is so much easier to be negative. It has become most people’s default setting. Negative people are exhausting to be around. But before you start nodding in condescending judgment of others, you may be the negative one people are drained by.
Negative people carry a misery and it becomes a real downer. But they often don’t admit they are negative in the first place.
Are you a negative person? Do you need to make changes? We want to talk about the effects of negativity?
Getting The Negativity Out of Your Life
Mark: The real negative ones, they often don’t realize they’re negative. I often find we don’t realize we’re negative until we are put in a position where we need to be positive or we say, “I’m going to start being more hope filled,” then we realize, wow. It’s like when you go on a fast. You realize how much you need food when you go on a food fast. I think we need to tackle this. It may spawn into other things that we talk about in other episodes, but are you negative? Those of you that are listening and watching, do you need to make some serious changes because of how your negativity is influencing your life? What are your opening thoughts, before we delve into this?
Melissa: Well, I think the first thing is that I think people will often go to, is that women are so negative because we can be the gossipers.
Mark: Do you think women can be more prone to being negative than men?
Melissa: Well, it’s an interesting question. I think, like I was just stating, that women can tend to find things negative to talk about. I think there’s almost two different things. There’s someone who can be in a very moody, miserable state or you can have people that aren’t necessarily unhappy people, but they like to talk about, oh, did you see that going on? Oh, the weather, oh boy, that’s happening. They’re not necessarily unhappy people, okay, but they find the bad to talk about. Do you know what I’m saying? I feel like there’s almost two different things.
Melissa: I feel like women can go towards talking negatively. Now, there are Debbie Downers and more victim people, but you and I have talked about this a lot, men can be more miserable. Don’t everybody jump through the thing at me when I say that.
Mark:I would agree. Men can be more silently miserable.
Mark: Sons of a gun, man. Yeah, I recognize that in my own life. I was not a very hope filled, optimistic, positive person from the jump. My default setting, generationally, is critical, negative, everything is awful.
Melissa: Did you speak that out?
Melissa: Or did you just carry that internally?
Mark: You’re right, I carried it and then when the opportunity came to speak, it was just this …
Melissa: Grumpy, curmudgeon kind of thing?
Mark: Good word.
Melissa: Thank you. Yeah, do you know what I mean? I feel like women have a good way of processing out, which sometimes can be too much. We have, what I feel can be a good thing in processing out that sucks, or something is bad, or that’s an issue there, and where men just more internalize it and just become miserable.
Mark: It leaks out.
Melissa: Then you infect … I was going to say you infect more people.
Mark: We’re more viral.
Melissa: Women will, at least, talk about it. Men will just go into a room of 20 people, sit there and be miserable, and put fear in everybody. This is like a man versus women today.
Mark: Women are more like weapons of mass destruction of machine gun missiles, whereas men are like lethal drugs that get inserted in a needle into your body. You don’t know you’re dying yet, but it’s slowly eating at you.
Mark: Just thinking, my perception see that men carry, for the most part, they do, and they’re not even aware of it.
Mark: I think that you’ve really had to make me aware of this. My face, how I look, how I come across, constantly like Mark, you look mad. I’ve been in this long journey of trying to tell my face what I’m really feeling inside.
Melissa: Here’s the thing that I would say, too, about the church world. I don’t know a lot of happy pastors. Now, if you’re a pastor and you’re listening and you really try to be outgoing- Genuinely.
Melissa: Genuinely happy. There’s probably some watching that are laughing. Seriously not putting on a performance show, really happy. I do not know a lot of them. I don’t.
Mark: I would agree.
Melissa: They’re very uncomfortable to be around in personal, private settings. If they have to drop that off … Okay, they’re in church doing their thing and then you get into a private setting with them, it’s very uncomfortable. It’s like all the stuff that they’re thinking about swirling about. I know you and I have to deal with this, you’ve had to deal with this. Being in ministry, you’re so busy and you’re so consumed with what’s going on in church and what people are doing, then you get alone and you relax. A lot of you don’t even know what to do with yourselves.
Mark: Correct. It’s true. I had to learn to start over with my identity, start over with what makes me happy, what makes me joyful.
Melissa: Yeah, so all you people that want to hang out with pastors and have them over for dinner, don’t even do it. I can say this now, because we know pastors.
Mark: Here’s the thing, the pastor genuinely probably doesn’t want to come over.
Mark: He’s going … It’s like Max at the dinner table when I go, “Max, stop doing TV talk. I want you to talk to your sister.”
Melissa: Or eat a vegetable.
Mark: He goes …
Melissa: Right, like it’s exhausting.
Mark: How was your day?
Melissa: Sorry, I didn’t mean to make this all about pastors but it’s true. We find this a lot, I feel like, in the church community. I don’t find a lot of men who are just happy men. Am I wrong? People can write me comments if they want.
Mark: I think this is an equal opportunity employer.
Mark: Negativity, I could find just as many women that are negative.
Mark: I think the difference we’re getting to here is females process more externally, typically, and men more internally.
Mark: Men have a more pent up, toxic negativity, hate filled, contempt, bitterness.
Melissa: You could just keep going and going.
Mark: This is the thing I try to help guys to understand. Most men have a strong hold of self hatred in their lives. They don’t realize it because they’re very driven to work hard, or they put that anger in areas that they think are useful, but there’s still that hostility that you could be around them and you could be like, “Is he mad at me?”
Melissa: Right. I have a lot of people I get around … You and I have had to work through this with each other, where because you’re just thinking about so much and you think, does that person hate me? Do they not want to be around me? Maybe they don’t, but it’s just like wafting off of them and you’re like get, get me out of here, this is uncomfortable.
Mark: Yeah, it takes work to move out of, and when we say negativity, it’s just all those toxic ways of thinking, all those self hating, self rejecting, those bitter things that we carry and we don’t realize.
Melissa: Then we’re like, “Hey, want to know the lord?”
Mark: Yeah, and doesn’t it come out in politics? It comes out in political discussions. My goodness, the misery where the cutting of comments is like, oh, this is painful to watch. I pulled up this article real quick, and what we could do is talk through this.
Mark: I’ll link it in the show notes. It’s just a life hack article, lifehack.org, I’ll link to it. It’s 15 signs of negative people. We can maybe define it, so I thought we’d just use a playful way to look at this.
Mark: We’ll go through them maybe somewhat quickly. The first one on the list, because some of you are going to be like, “Well, I’m not negative,” and you’re going to listen to this and go, “Okay, I guess I am,” They worry a lot. That’s the first one, is that they have an unhealthy diet of constant worry. It’s interesting because I talked to the kids this morning at breakfast and I said, “Hey guys, Mom and Dad are doing our show today and here’s what it’s about. It’s about negativity, getting negativity out of your life. What do you guys think about it?” Abby didn’t really understand it, she made a random comment that had nothing to do with it. Then I looked at Max and said, “Max, what do you think negativity is?” You don’t know what you’re going to get when he talks and shares, but he said, “Being in fear.”
Mark: Well, that’s interesting because that’s a part of what continually fuels negative perspectives is that you thinking is fear-based. I wrote a book on fear, I have an online free trainings and resources, and people tend to write comments that, I don’t have fear.
Melissa: People don’t think they do, yeah.
Mark: I’m like, you don’t have to face a fear in your life right now? You’re living in a cave, because we don’t. We don’t see worry as fear. We see that as I’m just concerned, but that worry fuels …
Melissa: I think when people hear the word fear, they’re like, oh, fear is not justified, my fear is justified.
Mark: Correct, correct.
Melissa:Do you know what I’m saying?
Melissa: I think people look at the things that they worry about and they’re like, that could happen, so it’s okay.
Mark: Yeah, even though God says, “Don’t be afraid of anything. I’ve not called you to be afraid.”
Mark: Anyway, number two, they try to tell you what to do. When people start to tell you what you should do with your life, what house to buy, they do not realize it’s because it’s a sure sign they’ve not sorted out their own issues. That’s interesting that you’re constantly externally judging people in a not so nice way, and then you’re pushing them in the direction that you think they should go in.
Melissa: Yeah, fear and manipulative.
Mark: They live in the default position, which meaning that the default position being our fight or flight mechanism.
Mark: I would say a default sin position of looking at things … I don’t know if I’d say default sin position, but there’s a great deal of Christianity that looks at life through a very unredemptive lens, through a lens of God’s judgement. I’m not against recognizing God’s judgment, it’s a biblical principle, but I think it’s harsh. There’s a harshness that we box God into this, like he’s grumpy.
Melissa: There’s nothing we can do to change it, the world’s falling apart, it just is what it is, there’s no redemption in it, there’s nothing.
Mark: Yeah. I think that you can tell a lot about a God someone serves by what they manifest.
Mark: If they’re always manifesting yeah, you know because God is judging this nation, like that’s their God. My frustration with most people on how they describe God is it’s usually one-sided. He’s either really happy and always in a good mood or he is ready to push this country off a cliff. There is no balance of … Don’t you and I have happiness, joy, a myriad of emotions that we experience? God is an emotional God. He made us in his image.
Mark: We have seen those kind of things. I think that is a good point, in understanding what people default to. They enjoy secrecy. A negative person, fearful of revealing too much about themselves. They live in fear that doing so will be used against them.
Melissa: I feel like that this goes on a lot, but you know what? Can we pause on this one for a second?
Melissa: Okay, so I’ll just read what it says here. They enjoy secrecy, so if you meet a negative person at a party, you may find the conversation rather tedious. Fearful of revealing too much information about themselves, they live in fear that doing so would be used against them in some way. Why would somebody be like that? I think that this goes on a lot. I feel like a lot of people I connect with, I don’t really know them.
Melissa: I don’t know that we trust people very well.
Mark: Yep, it’s true.
Melissa: I don’t know that people are trustworthy. I feel like this is a big one for people to work through, because it’s tough. Relationships, it’s really the core of what we are doing on this show, relationships are tough. This one, I find, is a hard one.
Mark: Yeah, yeah.
Melissa: I think we all can do that. You don’t want to let too much of yourself … I know I don’t because I’ve been burned. I’ve been burned a lot of times by people, sharing what I’ve told them or using it in a conversation passive aggressively towards me.
Mark: I think they don’t want to deal with their life, and they want to deflect that.
Melissa: Okay, so we’re coming from that perspective. I get it, okay.
Mark: What do you mean?
Melissa: No, no, I’m saying that’s a better way to look at it. You’re right.
Mark: Yeah, I’m responding to what you’re asking.
Melissa: Maybe I have this problem? I guess I have this problem, maybe. I don’t know.
Mark: No, I think that people that live negative, they’re often victim-oriented.
Mark: They’re often, my life is bad and has a lot of bad things, and it has nothing to do with my choices.
Melissa: Right, okay.
Mark: It has nothing to do with what I’ve decided on. In the conversation, I’m going to push into a lot of negative things, but I’m not really going to talk about a lot of things of my life because eventually the trail is going to lead the other person to go, “So, what are you going to do about it?”
Melissa: Yeah, you’re right.
Mark: If she shares, well, my husband has got abusive behaviors and things like this and he’s done this for 10 years, and he does this, it’s going to lead to, so what are you going to do about this?
Mark: Not necessarily going to confront that, so let’s talk about all those peoples’ marriages that aren’t working out.
Mark: Let’s do the People magazine thing, where we-
Melissa: Are voyeurs, yeah.
Mark: Look at Brad Pitt’s marriage and his issues, rather than dealing with our own. If we deal with our own, then when we look at Brad Pitt, for example, we will say hey, I understand. That guy’s got a lot of pressure. I wouldn’t want to be Brad Pitt. If I was Brad Pitt, I couldn’t go anywhere.
Mark: I couldn’t leave this office and go for a walk. I couldn’t go to McDonald’s, not that I go to McDonald’s anyway. I couldn’t go to the grocery store, I couldn’t go anywhere without all the people flocking.
Mark: Anyway, I think that’s a big part of how the perspective is number five, it says they’re pessimists.
Mark: Which that, I think, goes without saying. When you bring up a subject, this is what I think is a big sign of a negative person. Take a subject, throw it into the room, and just let it happen.
Mark: Sometimes in a group of people I’ll go, “So how about that election?” Boom, just see what happens. You just see what people’s perspectives are.
Mark: Or the weather, or how was church today?
Melissa: Right, right. Yeah, I love how this person here wrote, negative people rarely see a happy outcome or a great result. They always imagine that the worst will go wrong. I have found myself, many times, doing that.
Mark: Yeah, because people with that mindset, that mindset serves them. You’re able to anticipate everything that can go wrong so you prepare for it and if you do well, that feels successful.
Melissa: I will say, too, I think some of that comes out of … I know in certain times of my own life, that I will do that if I’m needing to feel a greater sense of safety.
Melissa: Then I’ll look and go, it’s almost like I can’t take another bad thing happening, so let me prepare and avoid that pain and say, you know what? This could happen, let’s stay home and avoid. I think that’s where a lot of that comes out of, if I’m to be taking a serious trail on it.
Mark: Let me ask you a blunt question, then.
Mark: Why is it that you feel that you can’t take another bad thing happening? What’s the list of bad things happening and what’s feeding that? She’s like, you want to go there? You want to do this?
Melissa: Like, what? As Suri would say, we are talking about everything else, not you. Well, okay, so we’ve had a lot of things … Those of you that have listened to the show, we’ve had a lot of things in this journey together, we’ve had to grow in, work through. Being in the church environment and world is not easy. Being in ministry is just not easy.
Melissa: I love everybody who is like, “Oh, I want to be in full-time ministry,” and then you ask them and they’re not really sure. There’s this inner voice inside of me that’s like, you don’t even know what you’re getting into, so stay where you’re at because you don’t know what you’re getting into. There’s been a lot of things that we’ve had to deal with that I’ve been disappointed in, hurt in, I myself was very naïve and had to grow in. I think that whether you’re in the church or just in your normal life, we always have issues that we’re butting up against. Growing up, I didn’t have the best coping skills with these things. There was a quite a season and a time where I went, “Well of course that’s happening, it happens to me. This is what happens to me, this is what happens in my family.”
It’s taking me a lot to unwind from that. I think, too, you hit a point in your life where you go, I can’t take anymore. I can’t take anymore, can I just get a rest? I think we all can relate to that statement, I can’t take anymore. I noticed at certain times that if things were heightened, we had something going on and we would plan an outing, or we would plan something, and maybe there was a forecast of rain or maybe a certain person was going to be there, whatever, I was immediate with, no, it’s going to bed bad, this is what’s going to happen, let’s just not engage it, as a way of protecting myself.
Mark: You prepared for the worst. Right. Rather than jumping in and experiencing disappointment of saying hey, the weather looks like it’s going to bed good, it’s going to be a great day, and then be disappointed by a number of factors that pull away from it being as good as it could be.
Melissa: Right, right.
Mark: It’s true. Here’s another one, they never move outside their comfort zone. I think that’s a good observation. They have their comfortable life, and to move out of it, I’d have to stretch. They love the word but, and I think this is very good because they will say, “It looks like a great restaurant, but I wonder why you didn’t book a table outside. It’s a lovely beach, but there’s always too many people around.” My favorite is, “I love you, but …”
Melissa: Oh, no.
Mark: When people say that, it’s like just cancel the first statement and just get to what you’re saying.
Melissa: I do that a lot. I say it in a funny way. I’m like-
Mark: Can I do it?
Melissa: Yeah, go ahead.
Mark: You’ll go, “Honey, I love you with all the depths of my heart, but really? You’re going to leave the plate in the sink looking like this?”
Melissa: It’s my way of trying to soften the blow of my irritation.
Mark: Yeah, you want to the lethal injection mode, versus the weapon of mass destruction.
Melissa: That’s what women do, right? They try to … and then men will just …
Mark: Just kill them softly and quietly. Negative people are underachievers, and I think this is true. They don’t stretch, they don’t push themselves to higher levels. They never get excited about future projects. That’s a clear sign of that. I agree. They become energy vampires, I mentioned this earlier, sucking the fun and funny out of the room. They drag other people into it. Negativity is very contagious. It’s probably one of the most contagious, viral components of life that if you really carry it, you’ll find it hooks easily in people, you’ll pull them into it. Next thing you know, everyone’s like yeah, this place is awful.
Mark: I’m not having a great time.
Melissa: Wait a second, that’s right. This is why I feel horrible.
Mark: Therefore, they miss all the good things in life and that’s the saddest part about being a negative person is you miss out on the great experiences. Those great experiences become embedded in your system, and you remember them forever as good moments. Unfortunately, they miss out because they have a lens that’s toxic.
Mark: Even if there’s something good, they find a way to put a negative spin on it. I find I can do that, and I can do that way more than I would really like to admit. I will take something and go, “Yeah, but … ” or I’ll turn it into, “Yeah, but you don’t understand, there’s this going on,” and then the negativity is like a tractor beam, a magnetic pull of unbelief. That’s the saddest thing that it does, is it cultivates a mindset of unbelief that we just don’t believe. It’s one of our greatest assets in the kingdom of God, is being able to believe, being able to hope. I want to say this before we go further. I do not believe, as Christians, that the opposite of being negative is being positive.
Melissa: That’s a good point, babe.
Mark: Positive thinking has its limitations, because if somebody died, the response to not being negative is not, “Well, I guess it was a good time for God to take them away, right?”
Mark: That’s ridiculous. No, it’s a time to weep, and that’s not being negative. I think the opposite of negativity is being a hope filled person. Hope is, as I define it with people that I teach and train, is hope is your vision, it’s your divine perspective. It’s the spiritual lens by which you see yourself, your world, and your future by. We live by our hope every day. I’m not talking about I hope I can, I hope I can, I hope I get something for Christmas. That’s a very shallow definition of hope. Hope is where I’m headed, what I’m seeing, and for many people their hope is very weak, it’s very limited, and it’s a muscle that has to be fed. I believe that really growing out of my negative perspectives, I’ve learned to improve my hope of how I see life, through a redemptive lens of what God can do in any circumstance and any situation. As we emphasize this subject, I’m not trying to say you just need to be positive in every situation.
Mark: I think people that are super duper positive, they are often … They have trouble with very difficult conversations. I appreciate Jesus when his friend Lazarus was dead, and he’s standing in front of the tomb and he showed up a few days late to the funeral, which cracks me up, that he took his time to get there. He was going to raise him from the dead, and I think he knew that, going into it. I don’t think it was sudden. He still cried, he still wept. I appreciate our lord doing that, I appreciate that being documented, because it helps us realize we’re not talking about just white washing everything with positive talk. I think it’s actually a call to depth, of going deeper in our journey. Life is deeper than, let’s keep it positive. That’s annoying. The Truman Show’s wife, where she was always, “Well, I guess it’s going to be a better day and how about we buy some hot cocoa from the hills of Columbia?” He just looks at her, remember in the movie? He’s like, “Who are you talking to?”
Mark: That’s how I feel sometimes with Christians. It seems like it’s too much one or the other.
Melissa: I agree with that.
Mark: There isn’t enough okay, so something is negative,`let’s debrief, let’s download, let’s process through it.
Mark: Then let’s have conversation that leads us, and that takes time, it takes investment.
Melissa: It takes skill. It takes practice to be able to do that. We’ve talked about this a lot in the past, even in having our political conversations and all those things, a volley of understanding where the other person is coming from. Even if the person has a negative view or they’ve had something horrible happen to them, throwing Jesus juice on it and throwing those things does not help the other person.
Melissa: Having a listening ear and heart, compassion for somebody, even if you don’t agree with them.
Mark: Yep. You can be a very hope filled person.
Melissa: We don’t know how to do this. I’m sorry, we just do not, or you get the dead stare. That makes me even more crazy than happy juice.
Mark: Say something.
Melissa: Say something to me.
Mark: Do you have an example? Don’t mention a name, but do you have an example of someone who you see exemplifying what we’re trying to encourage people to lead into?
Melissa: Wow. You mean a positive?
Mark: No, because remember we’re not talking about the opposite being positive, meaning they have the ability to connect to the good, the bad, the ugly. They have an ability to process it and hope, and have conversation that I would say is edifying, encouraging, and leads more towards solutions rather than just-
Melissa: You. You are really good at that.
Mark: I would have never guessed that. I would have never guessed that.
Melissa: You really are. I will say this, because we’ve had to grow in this and you and I are each other’s best friends. You are excellent at having compassion and then, how can I help you? That was really hard. You are really, really good at that. Even I watch you and we sit here and we’re helping people and counseling with them and helping them, you are really great at acknowledging somebody’s pain, but then saying how can I walk beside you, and then speaking into it? It never feels like you’re trying to tell somebody what to do. It’s always acknowledging their pain, how can I help you, and this is my suggestion. You are so good at it.
Mark: I need to acknowledge that more.
Melissa: Is there a beam of light coming down right now? You have had to grow in this, because we have had to stumble through things. We’ve done dumb things with people, and we’ve not responded properly. We’ve had to learn.
Mark: We’ve done dumb things people. That’s great.
Melissa: No, I mean, come on. We all have. I don’t know if you remember, I’m sure you do remember this story. We had a gentleman that had come to our church. I think we’ve told this story before. We had a gentleman that had come to our church, and he was going through a crisis in his life and we were just about to go on a sabbatical.
Mark: I think we did.
Melissa: We did go on a sabbatical, and he was trying to contact us. He was new to the church. He wanted to meet with us, and we were burnt out. We left some people in charge, he did not want to deal with them. It just ended up being … We understand his side, and we had our own side. We needed to go on sabbatical, take time off. He was very upset with us, rightly so, the way that it was handled. We sat down with him, and we had to grow from that and say, listen, yeah. Even if we said to him, “Look, this is the excuse.”
Melissa: We needed to reconcile with him and not have there be that wound. We’ve had to grow in a lot of things in those areas.
Melissa: I think that from all of that, the culmination of all of that, is that you are really good at doing that. I don’t know a lot of other people that can.
Mark: I don’t even know if this is where the show needs to go, in this direction I’m about to take it, but I think that was one of the learning lessons for me, is that if I do that though, I actually learned being in a pastoral role was not the best fit for me to do that. In that situation it’s like okay, we need to set up our time and our structure and that’s why I’m doing what I’m doing now, because I’m not a 911 service. Too many churches have that culture, even though we tried to fight that. It’s like listen, we have family, we have lives, we can’t build a culture around answering every …
Melissa: It’s very true.
Mark: I would tell people, “If you have an emergency, call 911.” I’ve said that before, and some people laugh and some of the listeners tell me that was hilarious, they loved that. I wasn’t trying to be funny, that’s something I was being serious about. I had to learn to that time to then land in who I am and learn how to connect.
Mark: I actually would never have thought you would have said me in that. That’s encouraging to know. It’s something I have had to work incredibly hard at, because there is a spirit at work in my generation. It’s critical, son of a … You know, put the swear word in there. That’s what I’d call it. That’s what it is. I’ve had to work very hard and I know a lot of guys that are in this same boat. You have to work very hard at conditioning yourself that I will land in the hope of God, and I will see a solution, I will look for a solution, I will let God work in me, I will weep, I will grieve. I have a friend in particular that does this very well, and him and I, it’s why we have a great friendship. We can go as deep as we need to in pain.
Mark: You want to touch the bottom of the barrel? Just go ahead and touch it. That’s how bad it is. He’s secure enough, I’m secure enough to go, depending on who is going through what, to then … It’s not like, how quickly can we get to positive? That’s not it. It’s like, what’s God saying? What’s God saying? In the tears and the pain, what is it? Is it just simply, hey, you’re going to be okay and stay where you’re at, keep going where you’re going, or whatever.
Mark: I think that it is causing our relationships to … We need to go deeper. I think that’s what I’m learning about getting out of negativity is I need to become, not just more positive, but go deeper in as I’m mowing through when I wake up every morning, I go, oh man. Why am I doing that? It leads me to go, okay, well, here’s how I go to sleep at night. There’s cares and things I’m not giving over to God, and I have this stuff that’s residue that’s left over that I’m not dealing with. Oh, I’ve got that disappointment from somebody. I’m still carrying toxicity of that and I don’t even realize it. Now I’ve got to deal with my life.
Melissa: That’s a big deal. A lot of people are not self aware enough to do that. That’s a big problem today. We’ve talked about it before. People, they don’t have the ability to look and go, how do I need to grow? If everybody else would just change, then things will get better for me. It takes a lot, man, to say … Like you were just saying, why am I miserable in the morning? What do I have to change? Who am I not casting my cares to?
Melissa: It takes a lot to do that, Mark. A lot of people don’t know how to do it, and I think that’s one of the major problems we’re carrying all of this negativity all the time. People are not self aware of even what they’re going through. It’s everybody else. It’s the weather, it’s the school, it’s my family, it’s everyone else but me.
Mark: Self awareness is one of the biggest things we’re learning and seeing that people need to have. It is vital. I don’t even know that you can have discernment, the way the bible talks about it, if you’re not self aware. I’m not talking about self focus, self aware. I have a solution to that. You and I have had conversations where we’re very honest, very uncomfortable. You have, at times, looked at me and go, “You know what? You’re kind of miserable to be around right now and it’s not fun.” I’ve said the same thing to you.
Mark: Sometimes I find maybe more effective ways to say it, like I’ll use the Dwight line from The Office, you’re sucking the funny out of the room right now.
Mark: Just to try to lighten it up and not be so accusatory, but I recommend people get a 360 observation of their life. What that means is get the key people in your life, and I encourage our listeners to do this. Start with your spouse, and allow them to be honest, and you don’t have the room to respond or defend or go on tangents. Take it like a man-
Melissa: And woman.
Mark: Take it like a woman.
Melissa: Your marriage will grow too, because then you can start being honest with each other.
Mark: Yeah. For once in your life, put your stinking paddle down and listen to the other person and stop playing these ping pong matches. Get an evaluation, ask them from your friends. Say simply, “Hey, I want to ask you a question. Overall, do you think I’m a negative person, or do I have a lot of negativity that I live in my life?” Ask the question and get an overall assessment. If the ratio is high, then you need to make some drastic changes. I think all of us would recognize that we have these areas that influence us that make us look at things through a negative eye. I have a lot of thoughts we could go through, a lot of things that we could talk about. We may do that in a different episode. I also will be posting some blog posts this month on this subject, because I want to invite people for this next month that is coming up, I love doing 30 day themes in my life.
Whenever I’m trying to change an area, I like to go okay, for 30 days, here’s what I’m going to do. I observe, after 30 days, what I do. I’ve done this with exercises, habits, supplements, foods, certain things, activities. I’m going to do this for 30 days straight. You can do anything for 30 days. You can. I don’t care what anybody says. You can do something for just 30 days, and then you evaluate. How do I feel? What do I notice that changes? I want to invite our listeners to do something that will help show if you’re a negative person, and will help detox you from the negativity. That is to do a negativity fast.
I want to put a challenge out there to our listeners and to our observers, those that watch the live feed and the videos, is jump in and for 30 days, do a negativity fast. I will put notes in our show notes once we finish this episode and compile all the information that we put on the post for this episode. We’re going to put a link there, and I’m also going to be posting other blog posts. You can actually go on my website, if you can’t wait for that and you want it now, just go to markdejesus.com and in the search bar at the top, just type in negativity fast. If you type that in, there is a post I wrote awhile back. It’s gotten a lot of feedback, I’ve had people all over the world write to me.
Melissa: It’s true, we have.
Mark: I’m like, how did you even know about this? They’ve written to me saying, “I’m doing it. I’m doing the negativity fast.” I believe the title of the blog post is, The Fast We Should Do, a Negativity Fast, or something like that. Just type in negativity fast in the search bar on my website, it will come up, you’ll see there, and it gives an outline. What I’m going to do is I’m going to enhance that. I’m going to enhance that, I’m to create a .pdf and stuff like that, that you can download and use for your small group, for your church, for your business, for your family. Take 30 days and say we are eliminating negative input and negative output, we are going to fast. I’ve found people will say to me, “Can I just do a food fast, because this is too hard.”
Mark: Food fasting is difficult, it’s challenging because food is everywhere in America. People are like, “I’d rather just do a food fast because I am so negative and I didn’t realize how negative I was.” I would agree, it’s everywhere. There is ways you can do this though, without being a jerk. If you’re at somebody’s house and they happen to have the TV on, like no that’s negative, I’m not watching that, that’s not what we’re talking about here. We’re mainly talking about what you’re talking about and focusing on first. What you may need to do is really address the input you have. What are you reading, what are you feeding on? It will be a lot harder to output hope, faith, and love if you’re inputting discouragement, despair, anger, depression, and the world is going to end.
Melissa: Is it good to do that a month before the elections?
Mark: That is exactly why I’m doing this. It’s one of the reasons, you detox from the negativity-
Melissa: You’re right, you’re right.
Mark: Let’s look at any issue that you’re upset about, politically. Let’s say you hate whatever candidate … I shouldn’t say hate.
Melissa: Just think love removed, right. Hate is love removed.
Mark: You’re not in favor of a person who is running for office. If you detox negativity in your heart, just pray for that person and have compassion and understand maybe where they’re coming from, rather than they’re bringing down the country, all these things that we fall into. I think that if the country is going to fall apart, it’s going to be on the church’s watch and we need to take responsibility for who we need to be at a higher level.
Mark: That involves looking at God, we call upon you. Individually, corporately, shifting our focus and breathing life into the arena. Listen, if darkness is increasing, shine your light that much brighter. Breathe life. Be more intentional about it. I’ll outline that, you can check that out, but take 30 days and do a negativity fast. Do it with your friends, do it with your family, do it with your cubicle area with people. Even people that are not like Christians, you can just tell them hey, I was thinking about this, I want to make some changes in my life, I want to do a negativity fast. Just make it basic, and let’s all try it out.
Melissa: You can do it at your job.
Mark: Or do something like, hey listen, if we do something negative or emphasize something negative, we have to put a dollar in the jar. Make it a fun thing, make it something that is enjoyable. This doesn’t have to be only in a Christian arena. Do it with a group of people, and see what happens. See what the 30 days show, and see what God does with it. I believe we’re going to start chipping away. I see so much great reports coming back of people after they’ve finished this. We want to help and we want to support, so send us your questions, send us your feedback, and we’d love to help you in that. Any closing thoughts?
Melissa: I think you summed it up.
Mark: Are you going to do the 30 days with me?
Melissa: Gosh, did he really just ask that?
Mark: She’s like, I’ve got to think about it.
Melissa: Do this, so that it’s on recording. You know what? I need to. I will say, my issue right now is the election. Those who follow me, I am outspoken, to a point, I could go further but I don’t. I need, because then my thoughts … I’m doing the dishes and my thoughts are going crazy. It’s not good.
Mark: Well, the next month begins in two days so you have today and tomorrow. You could just …
Melissa: Let loose on Facebook, and then …
Mark: You could do the equivalent of eating at McDonald’s all day, with negativity.
Melissa: That’s all right. It’s crazy, you would think I would have more conservative friends on Facebook, I actually have a lot of liberal friends and they probably are like, she’s crazy. It’s good, I probably need to just stop.
Mark: Well, if you’re crazy, you’re my crazy and I love you.
Melissa: Thank you, babe.
Mark: I think you’re awesome, wouldn’t change a thing. Anyway, send us your questions, your comments, and we love you guys out there. We love talking about this stuff, and we want to see real change happen in your life. We’re tired of just people doing merry-go-rounds in life.
Let’s really change our lives and our families, rather than just talking about it.
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