Sometimes all you need to do is “Just Keep Going.”
You shouldn’t stop to analyze the negativity surrounding you. You shouldn’t try to catch the darts that are being thrown your way. You shouldn’t meet with or call anyone who is attacking you to get a better understanding of their complaints. Nor should you offer to pray unless you’ve cleared the building in which the attackers stand.
Perhaps, you’ve been misunderstood. Or perhaps you did, in fact, act improperly. Whatever the case may be, arrows are bouncing off of your chest like it’s hanging on a dart board. Verbal attacks are being slung like sand on the beach. Disparagement is happening, fast and furiously.
Recently, I found myself in such a dark hole, and rather than fight back, like I was taught to do in a tough high school in Detroit, Michigan, I decided to retreat and let it all slide off my back. When a few good relationships started to sour, my first inclination was to hold on, stop and analyze the heck out of what was going on, or just stop like the car that I was following on a Los Angeles freeway stopped a few days ago.
My husband and I were driving along a Los Angeles freeway when suddenly we noticed a ton of smoke billowing from a fire on the side of the road. It was coming straight for us, and we were quickly engulfed by it. We were in the fast lane and couldn’t easily exit the freeway. So, we inched forward, praying for the best, like everyone else was doing.
Suddenly, the car in front of us stopped in the thickest part of the smoke, and I started to panic, as we could barely see past the windshield. But, deep in my gut, I knew that we needed to hold on. I knew that we should not get out and that stopping was not the answer. After my husband laid on the horn, the driver moved forward, and it turned out that we were, literally, two seconds away from clear, blue skies. I’m not sure why the driver froze in his tracks.
In a red alert situation, do not freeze like the driver described above. Do not stand still.
Instead, look for the four signs outlined below as evidence that you should carry on:
- Those who are leveling the attacks are new to your world. I don’t value the opinions of those who haven’t known me for some time. If those who are leveling attacks against you, barely know you, run away from them as fast as you can.
- There are signs that the attackers are dealing with their own demons, stress, insecurities, and difficulties. Life is tough. Many are living in stressful environments and sometimes the stress erupts. First, do a self-check to make sure your own behavior was not out of bounds. Secondly, learn as much as you can from your self-check. Then run away from the negativity as fast as you can. Whatever you do, do not stop!
- The attacks come after a season of joy, freedom, and positivity. Some people aren’t comfortable with joy and love. Being in the midst of it can bring out the worst in them. If this is the case, there’s nothing that you can do but let them be.
- The attackers have made it clear that they don’t respect you or measure success in the same way in which you do. When advice isn’t given with love and respect, it can be worthless.
I’m a writer in Los Angeles, and success in Hollywood is measured by whether or not one has sold a script or what television show one works on. Although I’ve optioned a script, I’ve fallen short of the final sell. But, still, I’m a dedicated and passionate artist who inspires and loves others with the written word. And over the years, I’ve had to let go of the form that this takes. I’ve had to stay engaged in my calling and give the rest to God.
Yesterday, I listened to a great sermon by Dr. John Howard Wesley, entitled “It’s Above Me Now.” The gist of the sermon was that after we’ve been called to do something, and we’ve prayed, meditated, and decided to accept the calling, we must release it to God and not continue to worry about the outcome of our work. So, from now on when someone asks me if I sold a script, I will answer with four words: “It’s Above Me Now.”
I will stay on the path and continue to follow the calling. If I don’t stop to analyze negativity, eventually I will feel calm and peace from cruising with purpose. If I don’t become overly critical of myself or others, eventually I’ll start to understand why a negative encounter occurred and how or if I contributed to it.
In the calm, I’ll be able to engage in soothing activities to take me through the storm. Below are three positive things you should do instead of stopping and analyzing a negative situation:
- Call on people whom, at the very least, like you and have been in your life for a long time. Spend time with them when negativity surrounds you.
- Read and listen to uplifting material.
- Continue on your path, even if you’re doing small tasks. I completed my second short film and started pre-production on my third. I scheduled a positive event to share my work. Art+Activism+Love!
I hope this piece helps you maneuver through negative circumstances. Best of luck to you.