Because your self-image is wired to your short-term emotional appetite, you will hardly ever feel like acting in a manner inconsistent with this self-image set point. However, there is a solution: You can override past negative programming by deliberately choosing new behaviors that line up with your God-given potential, whether or not you feel like it.

What can you do to override your negative programming today?

Negativity starts with a choice. Maybe not a conscious choice and certainly not a wise choice, but always a choice. As you repeat that choice, negativity becomes an entrenched and conditioned reflex—a reaction to your circumstances and the people in your environment. The result is a toxic atmosphere that’s fatal to your spirit and quite possibly could gradually be poisoning you and those around you.

As you reflect, you may not be able to pinpoint a specific time that the negativity began. Maybe it started with your upbringing? Maybe it has grown from the books you’ve chosen to read, the shows you’ve chosen to watch, conversations you’ve chosen to engage, or from thoughts you’ve chosen to entertain repeatedly? Perhaps it took hold in a certain relationship. Positivity is not an accident and neither is negativity.

For negaholics, as time wears on, it’s easy to over-identify with this pessimism and cynicism and weakly accept it as being a part of who you are. When someone points this out, you will be likely to just shrug it off and say “It’s who I am. If you can’t love me for who I am, then I don’t need you around.”

Related: 8 Things All Mentally Strong People Do

But you do need these people around.

To stay positive, you need positive thoughts, positive people and positive exposures of every kind. The people who encourage us and sharpen us with constructive feedback move us another step closer to fulfilling our God-given potential. Those who leave us alone to rehearse and replay our grievances enable us to settle for less than our best. What kind of friends do you really want?

The friends who challenge us and patiently stick with us but insist that we make changes, that we upgrade our lives, will ultimately be considered the greatest of all friends. These are the people we might be tempted to push away because they tell us things we don’t like to hear.

Being negative is like voluntarily swimming in a stagnant pond of toxic water. If you continue to hold negative thoughts, participate in negative conversations, and feed yourself negative mental nutrition, the inevitable result is terminal negativity. But no one every arrives in this predicament by chance. Along the way, negative people reject the positive people in their lives and the ideas and habits they possess.

Who would ever knowingly choose to swim in a contaminated pond when their was a neighboring pool of crystal clear water available? Each day of our lives is filled with similar choices, where we can shape our future with very obvious decisions.

Sign up for my blog's weekly digest below and stay connected.

We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe.

You have Successfully Subscribed!