Most of us have that one friend who is the ultimate Negative Nancy — but what if that token downer is actually you? You may think you're optimistic and upbeat, but in reality, you might be exhibiting some surprising signs you're a negative person, even if you don't mean to be. Being negative doesn't always mean being rude or sarcastic, and there could be a number of ways you're bringing down the mood that you might not even realize.
"Negativity is not just bad for your mood, it is bad for your health," says Dorian Crawford, PsyD over email. "Self-defeating or critical/judgmental thoughts and behaviors take their toll by inducing tension and perpetuating anxiety and stress hormone production. These are just the types of behaviors that raise blood pressure, cause cortisol over-production and turn muscles into knots. Besides the toll negativity takes on the contrary person, it can also bleed into social, romantic and vocational endeavors."
No one likes a mood killer, so it's important you're able to look at yourself and accurately gauge what kind of attitude you're giving off, so you can work towards being more upbeat and positive. Here are eight surprising signs you're a negative person.
1. You Say Things Like "It's Too Good To Be True"
"For example, the beginning of a new relationship may be tainted with comments like, 'It's too good to be true. I'm sure it will never last," says Crawford. "This fatalistic view of the world shuts down the possibility of a happy outcome before the opportunity even arises. The problem with this perspective is that it steals the light and joy out of many moments and perpetuates a negative perspective."
2. You Dwell On The Past
The past is an important part of our life, but it doesn't have to determine everything in the future. "Bad things happen," says Crawford. "We need to learn about these things, i.e. how they affected us, what we discovered about others, what healthy boundaries look like, and how to avoid future pitfalls. But, ruminating about old failures without building on your wisdom and sense of self will keep you locked in a cycle of repetition and unhappiness."
3. You Judge Others
You might find your gossiping and comments about others harmless, but this is a sign that you feel negatively about yourself and others. "Negative people tend to be hyper-critical of others," says Crawford. "They judge and gossip and tear people down. Friends may wonder what negative comments or judgmental opinions are being made about them behind their backs. Romantic interests may worry that they will never be good enough to meet the high standards of a super belittling lover. "
4. You Don't Accept Compliments
This is an issue many people experience, and it can take some work to not undercut your own efforts. "Modesty can be internalized into negativity about our own accomplishments and rob the excitement of success out from under a person," says Crawford. "Learning to say, 'Thank you. It was a lot of work, but it payed off!' allows you to share the delight others have for you and build self-esteem."
5. Your Automatic Thoughts Are Negative
Our internal dialogue is just as important as what we consciously decide to feel or say out loud. "[Someone who is a negative person] has 'automatic thoughts' that run through their head that are negative," says Nikki Martinez, Psy.D. over email. "They think negatively about themselves and others, and don't see the positive possibilities very often."
6. You Have Trouble Maintaining Relationships
Trouble maintaining relationships of a friendly or romantic nature could be an indicator that you're more negative than you realize. "You may not understand why you can not form and maintain these relationships," says Martinez. "If you stop and think about how your presented yourself and how you acted, everything might start to make sense."
7. You're Focused On The Problem, Not The Solution
"If you are problem, and not solution-focused, you are likely a negative person," says Martinez. "The negative person is good at pointing out all the problems and failings to a plan, but never brings solutions to them to the table."
8. You're Not Excited About The Future
Worrying about the future or refusing to do anything to change what's ahead of you is a sign that you're pretty pessimistic. "A negative person has a dim view of the future and the world around them," says Martinez. "They do not explore new skills, opportunities, and challenges, because they have already decided they will not be successful."
Sometimes, all you need is a little self-reflection to be able to see what kind of attitude you really posses — it may be more negative than you realize.
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