Let’s get into a chemistry mindset for a minute (and don’t worry, we’ll keep it simple; I’m challenged by chemistry too). Imagine we have one gram of H2O at 0.5℃. All it takes to raise the temperature of that water by one degree is about 4 joules (units of heat energy), and then we’re at 1.5℃.
But let’s imagine we start with our one gram of H2O at -0.5℃. Now that H2O is ice; it’s in a solid state. How many units of heat energy will it take to raise the temperature of the H2O by one degree? Well, to change it from a solid to a liquid state takes a lot more energy than it takes to just raise the temperature. To change from ice to liquid takes about 334 joules (on top of those 4 joules to raise the temperature by one degree).
Isn’t that crazy? We’ve still only raised temperature of the H2O by one degree, yet it took 338 joules to get the -0.5℃ ice to 0.5℃ water.
Now think of the positive and negative degrees as the good wolf and the bad wolf or positive and negative attitudes. If someone’s in that bad wolf/negative attitude state, they’re emotionally frozen. It takes way more energy to get things to go well.
So we want to start in the already positive range. That’s why it’s so key to start with a safe environment; it’s so much easier to create a good, serious conversation when you’re not in such an icy, cold state; it takes way less energy to openly discuss something.
Now this probably feels overwhelming. Yes, it takes way more energy to get someone from a negative to a positive state, mindset, or attitude. But also, consider this opposite, true principle: Small changes can make a big difference.
Imagine a tug-of-war with 5 equally strong people on each side. If you move only one person over, not only does one side only have 4 people now, but the other side now has 6. They’re definitely going to win! Sometimes we just think, “My move won’t make a difference.” But sometimes we don’t realize how much our small participation impacts the whole system.
So even though it can take lots of energy to change a mindset, your influence makes a big difference. You’re not any less vital. Just remember it’ll take time and patience.
Negative people need friends too. And negative people in relationships can’t just be abandoned! But if they’re negativity is bringing you down, and they’re not letting you bring them up, then give them whatever space you need to stay warm. In other words, when others are cold, stay cool😎—but not cold.
Rodney Limb has always enjoyed listening to people and helping them work out problems and struggles. As a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC), Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, and a Nationally Licensed Hypnotherapist for over 20 years, he has helped hundreds of couples create a happy and thriving marriage out of disaster. He also provides counseling for anxiety, depression, stress, PTSD and overcoming various behavioral addictions.
A Deeper Look into Spiritual Truths
“The joy we feel has little to do with the circumstances of our lives and everything to do with the focus of our lives.” — President Russell M. Nelson
As we focus on the Savior and other joyful things, we feel more joy. The same principle applies for those around us. Help them focus on those positive things. And if they continue to be negative, don’t let that distract your focus!