How to squash morning depression

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Are you really a Peacekeeper or a Prey to Emotional Abuse?

Mind-boggling, isn't it?

How a simple act of keeping peace can turn you into a target of emotional abuse.

Your energy draining due to an unending stream of others' negativity...

And your self-worth plummeting, no matter how much you try to shield yourself?

Does that sound familiar?

And like many, you may be asking yourself the questions...

Am I really a peacekeeper or just a magnet for emotional abuse?


What can I do to maintain harmony without putting my own emotional well-being at risk?

Well, you're in the right place...

In today's article, we're going to explore how the act of continuous peacekeeping can actually make you vulnerable to emotional abuse, and what you can do about it.

But before we dive in, let's set the stage...

The Price of Enduring Negativity: An Unsustainable Balancing Act

Mr. Jones was like sandpaper, his words scraping away at Jasmine's patience day in, day out. Her role? The office peacekeeper, enduring his toxic negativity, all for the sake of avoiding conflict. His words were sharp, constant, impossible to ignore.

Her energy was draining. Each sarcastic comment, each belittling remark was a weight added to her already heavy load. There was no reprieve. Even at home, Mr. Jones' words echoed in her head, turning dreams into nightmares.

Her workday was a battlefield, filled with snide comments and disgruntled whispers. Her duty was to absorb it all, to keep the peace, but the cost was becoming too great. Her joy and energy were fading, her spirit broken.

Her tolerance became her weakness. Her lack of confrontation made her an easy target for office politics. The more she absorbed, the more she was exploited, becoming the dumping ground for others' negativity.

Her sacrifice came with a high price. Jasmine, once full of life, was now just a hollow version of herself. The negativity she constantly endured was transforming her, mirroring the very hostility she sought to mitigate. The office peacekeeper was losing herself in the very peace she fought to maintain.

What trap is Jasmine falling for in this story?

Trap 1: Misunderstanding Peace - Surprisingly, taking on all the bad moods doesn't keep the peace. We may think that by tolerating negativity, we can keep things calm. However, the story shows that we risk becoming as negative as the moods we absorb.

Trap 2: Becoming the Mood - We often become what we are around most. If we're always around negativity, we may start to reflect it. The idea of defusing tension might actually make us more negative. This makes us rethink how we deal with negative emotions.

Trap 3: Losing Ourselves - Giving up too much of ourselves can actually hurt us. When we spend all our energy avoiding arguments, we lose our joy and energy. This teaches us to think again about the idea of self-sacrifice in the face of constant negativity.

Ultimately, our instinct to continuously endure negativity, rather than fostering peace, risks becoming a self-eroding endeavor that shreds our vitality, morphs our emotional landscape, and replicates the very unpleasantness we aim to contain.

But did you know that the origins of this phenomenon can be traced back to a psychological concept known as a 'schema'.

Unlocking Your Mind: The Power of Understanding Schemas

A "schema" in psychology is a cognitive framework or concept that helps us organize and interpret information.

Schemas encompass our beliefs, ideas, and perceptions about the world and ourselves, and they guide our responses and behavior.

Once formed, schemas are often hard to change and can influence our thoughts and actions in powerful ways, both positive and negative.

The strengths we develop to cope with challenging circumstances - like dealing with other people's unpleasantness and negative moods - are built within our schema. These coping mechanisms, over time, become automatic responses.

For instance, if we repeatedly encounter negativity, we may develop a schema that includes being overly tolerant of others' negativity to keep the peace, avoid confrontations, or be seen as strong.

The problem arises when these strengths, or coping mechanisms, stop serving us effectively or even start to work against us.

When our schema becomes inflexible or maladaptive, these coping mechanisms can become self-sabotaging behaviors.

For instance, constantly putting up with others' negativity, a strategy initially meant to keep peace, can lead to emotional exhaustion, vulnerability to emotional abuse, and even a retriggering of past traumas.

So, while the strengths we develop are initially protective and serve a valuable purpose, they can become problematic if they don't adapt to changing circumstances or if they lead to unintended negative consequences.

Our schemas, meant to help us navigate the world, can sometimes keep us stuck in unhelpful patterns, turning our strengths into self-sabotage. Recognizing this is the first step towards evolving our schemas and developing healthier coping strategies.

Crucial Side Note:

When we overlook dysfunctional schemas - i.e. our mind's unhelpful patterns - we trap ourselves in harmful cycles. Our mind twists our experiences to match these patterns, even when they don't fit.

This can make us act in ways that bring about the very things we fear. For example, if we believe people will leave us, we may push them away first. Ignoring these faulty patterns can lead to ongoing stress, sadness, relationship problems, and a life that feels unfulfilled.

It's like wearing broken glasses that distort our view of ourselves and the world, keeping us stuck and preventing growth/

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Moving on...

How to Move Beyond Tolerance: Striking a Healthy Balance in Dealing with People's Negativity

The complexities of this concept can be simplified using the metaphor of a pure white bed linen. 

The White Fabric: Our beliefs about resilience -

Misinterpreted resilience often makes you believe you must endure more negativity. This wrong decision is rooted in misconstruing endurance with strength. 

I'll elaborate...

"The Fabric" in this context, signifies your personal resilience or the mental toughness that allows you to withstand difficult situations and recover from them. It's like the material of your white bedding, which determines how much it can endure before it begins to fray or tear.

It is easy to confuse resilience with the ability to continually absorb or put up with negativity.

Many believe that the stronger their resilience, the more negativity they should be able to handle, likening resilience to a capacity for enduring.

This is a misunderstanding and can lead to emotional exhaustion and burnout.

It's like assuming a high-quality fabric should be able to withstand endless stains and wear.However, resilience is not just about enduring hardship; it's also about being able to recover from it, to bounce back to your original state.

Just like a resilient fabric isn't valued for how much it can endure before tearing, but for how well it can recover and regain its original form after being stressed.This is important because it helps us understand that resilience is not a measure of how much negativity we can endure.

Instead, it's about our ability to recover from negativity, to return to our original, positive state. This realization can help us avoid undue emotional strain and guide us towards healthier ways of dealing with negative situations.

It encourages us to prioritize recovery and bounce back rather than just enduring the negativity, leading to improved emotional wellbeing in the long term.

The Detergent: Coping mechanisms

Relying on one coping mechanism, like using a single detergent repeatedly, can lead to harm. A better strategy? Variety. Just as different detergents are better for different stains, various coping mechanisms work best for different types of negativity.

Let me explain...

"The Detergent" in this metaphor refers to the coping mechanisms or strategies you use to deal with the unpleasantness and negative moods of others.

Many rely on a single coping mechanism, be it avoidance, appeasement, or confrontation.

They may think that if it worked once, it will work every time, much like using the same detergent for every type of stain.

However, this is a misconception and can cause harm, as not every coping mechanism is effective for all types of negativity. It's equivalent to using the same detergent on all stains, which can lead to ineffective cleaning or even damage to the fabric.The importance of this metaphor lies in its call for variety.

Different situations call for different coping strategies.

Just as a delicate fabric stain might require a mild detergent, while a stubborn stain might require a more powerful one, different types of negativity require different coping mechanisms. This understanding is vital as it emphasizes adaptability and flexibility in our response to negativity.

Recognizing the need for a variety of coping strategies helps ensure more effective management of negative situations. It discourages reliance on a one-size-fits-all approach and promotes a more nuanced understanding of how to deal with negativity, ultimately leading to improved emotional health and resilience.

The Stain Removers: Boundaries

Setting weak boundaries, thinking it helps maintain peace, is a common mistake. The alternative? Like stain removers used promptly to prevent a spread, set firm boundaries immediately to stop negativity from affecting all areas of life.

What does that really mean...

"The Stain Removers" metaphor refers to the boundaries we set with the people around us.

People often set weak or permeable boundaries in the name of maintaining peace.

They may allow others' negativity to encroach upon their own space, thinking that tolerating it will keep the peace.

This is like letting a stain set into the fabric without treating it, believing it won't spread.

But just as an untreated stain can spread and ruin a fabric, unchecked negativity can seep into different aspects of your life and taint your overall mood and well-being.

The importance of this metaphor lies in recognizing the need for firm, promptly set boundaries, akin to using a stain remover immediately. Setting boundaries isn't about pushing people away; it's about defining your personal space and emotional limits.

It's an essential part of self-preservation, just as stain removers are essential for maintaining the cleanliness and integrity of your bedding.By setting clear, firm boundaries, you can prevent negativity from seeping into other areas of your life, much like using a stain remover can keep a stain from spreading.

This not only helps maintain your peace and positivity but also respects your personal space and emotional energy, promoting healthier interpersonal dynamics.

The Wash Frequency: interaction with negativity

Assuming constant interaction with negativity without breaks shows strength is a common error. However, like washing frequency for a bedding, having regular negativity-free intervals is crucial to retain your emotional strength.

To elaborate...

"The Wash Frequency" metaphorically represents how frequently you interact with negativity or the periods during which you are exposed to others' unpleasantness and negative moods.

It is common to believe that they should constantly be interacting with or exposed to negativity, thinking this shows their strength or resilience.

It's like believing that washing your bedding more frequently means it's more robust or of better quality.

This, however, is a misconception and can lead to emotional exhaustion, just as over-washing can wear out your bedding.The importance of this metaphor is to emphasize the need for regular negativity-free intervals, much like the bedding needs time to rest between washes.

These are periods when you are not being exposed to others' negativity and can recharge your emotional energy.Negativity-free intervals are essential because they allow you to rejuvenate and restore your emotional strength.

Just as bedding needs time between washes to maintain its integrity and quality, you need breaks from negativity to maintain your emotional health.

Understanding this can encourage healthier habits and practices in dealing with others' negativity.

The Sunlight: Comfort zone

Sticking to a comfort zone, like keeping a bedding in the shade to prevent color fading, restricts growth. On the contrary, exposing ourselves to diverse experiences, like sunlight for the bedding, can help maintain emotional health despite the exposure to negativity.


"The Sunlight" in this metaphor represents exposure to diverse experiences and challenges.

Many people, to avoid discomfort or potential harm, limit themselves to what's familiar and comfortable, much like keeping bedding in the shade to prevent color fading.

This may seem like a safe strategy, but just as constant shade can make bedding go musty, sticking to the comfort zone can limit personal growth and emotional resilience.The importance of this metaphor is in underlining the benefits of stepping out of our comfort zones.

Just as sunlight, despite its potential to fade color, is essential for keeping the bedding fresh and bacteria-free, exposing ourselves to a variety of experiences - even those that are challenging or uncomfortable - can enhance our emotional health and resilience.

By doing so, we gain new perspectives, learn to adapt to different situations, and develop a more robust emotional toolkit to handle negativity.

It teaches us that while it's natural to seek comfort, growth often happens when we challenge ourselves.

Just like the bedding needs both shade and sunlight, we need a balance of comfort and challenge to maintain emotional health.

Can you see what all these steps have in common?

At the heart of all these strategies lies a critical principle - challenging the status quo and adopting an alternative approach to coping.

The essence of these strategies is a shift in perspective, a conscious decision to move away from ingrained, but unproductive, coping mechanisms, and adopting more constructive ways to handle negativity and unpleasantness.

Each strategy suggests an alternative approach, a distinct contrast to the initial coping mechanisms. They challenge the familiar and comfortable and encourage a journey into the less-traveled path, providing new perspectives to consider and new ways to deal with others' unpleasantness and negative moods. 

Finding Real Peace, Not Just Putting Up With Negativity

Looking at everything we've talked about, it seems clear that trying to keep everyone happy all the time isn't as great as we thought. Sure, it might keep things quiet, but it can also wear us out, leave us open to being taken advantage of, and even start to bring us down.

The crazy thing is that when we constantly try to keep the peace, we can end up just reflecting the negativity we're trying to avoid.

That's a pretty big shock and makes us question the whole idea of always trying to be the peacemaker.

When you boil it down, putting up with other people's bad moods non-stop doesn't actually create a peaceful environment. Instead, it can twist who we are, drain our energy, and create even more of the negative vibes we're trying to control.

That's a wake-up call to rethink how we deal with other people's negativity and find a better way to keep things positive and peaceful.


Written by Adewale Ademuyiwa


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