"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced." - Vincent Van Gogh

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Banish Negativity.... Feed the Positive

I've hit you pretty hard the past few days with positive thinking. The truth is that many of us are pretty negative.... at least I have been. Here are a few reasons we may tend toward the negative.

Our society if fueled by FEAR. The news reports all the BAD things going on. We learn about people who kill, fires, wars, natural disasters and disease. Speaking of disease... how many of you have watched the reports over and over and over again about needing to get a flu shot because the flu is killing people! But then they tell us that the flu shots aren't effective against the current flu but get it anyway. Fear....

We are always waiting for the other shoe to drop. Live can seem out of our control. Jobs seem less secure than they did in former days. The economy is shaky and it is increasingly harder to make a buck. We recently witnessed innocent children and teachers getting gunned down while minding their own business doing what they were supposed to be doing. In the light of these atrocities... it's easy to get negative.

Then there is the political climate. No matter which way you lean it can be scary and there are plenty of "reports" out there and media to hype you up one way or another. If you aren't careful, you become a mouthpiece for their filth and you continue the negativity.

Then there is personal negativity. Maybe you are discouraged, deeply disturbed by the way your life has turned out. You have a job that leaves you wanting, your marriage is troubled or didn't turn out at all and you are divorced. Maybe you have a child with disabilities or are worried about the health of a family member. Maybe you or someone you love suffers with a chronic condition. Maybe your finances are in the dumpster and every time you take a step to correct it, you are set back. We ALL have these areas of our lives that just don't seem to work for us. So what do we do.... complain... grumble and reinforce what we perceive as our reality that God has it in for us.... we are cursed... we have bad luck.... life sucks.... Oh to be us, the pathetic souls that we are and live our pathetic lifestyles.

Unfortunately, we get no relief when we are negative do we? It may feel good to cry and express our emotions, but moving past it seems to elude us. We continue to rehearse the unfairness of life in our minds and if we aren't careful it can become our identities. We all know those people don't we? The poor souls that call you up to complain about their lives for hours on end who don't ever seem to do something to change and move on. The negativity slimes us and soon we are drained in their presence. Imagine what it would be like to BE them.

The truth is that even if we think negativity is our reality and that we are speaking the truth... IT STILL DOESN'T SERVE US! Negativity does not serve you. It is needless and destructive and worse than that.... if you are at all spiritual you will understand that negativity is the opposite of gratitude. We cannot live in both thanksgiving and whining. One makes us feel good and edifies others around us, the other makes us want to crawl into a hole and die. One glorifies God by acknowledging His blessings in your life and the other raises its fist at the Most Holy One in defiance and rebellion. One is a mature expression of acceptance and love and the other is an immature pity party.

"Well... I only grumble about how rotten I am" you say. "When I forget my keys I tell myself what a stupid idiot I am." So, maybe your negativity is more a form of self-punishment? If you punish yourself then no one else will have to. You think that God will know that you are truly sorry for being so pathetic and will back off?

I have news for you.... God already knows you are dust but he certainly doesn't want you punishing something that he has made beautiful. Embrace your mistakes as part of your humanity. Laugh at your foibles and move on. A healthy person can laugh at themselves. You are no more or less perfect than anyone else. It's called being flesh and blood. Life is really like an obstacle course or that show "Knock out" where you run through your course and then out of the blue a big shoe comes out and knocks you off course. Laugh, brush off the dirt or soap suds and get back up and go again. Don't sit and cry about it or belittle yourself because you got broadsided. Half the time it might not even be your fault - you were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. It's alright....

I can't think of ONE thing that a negative attitude is good for... not one. General negativity should just be struck off our list of life options. It's an exaggeration of a decisive action. For instance.... sometimes we feel a "no" to proceed on something. That's not negativity, that's making an informed decision. Negativity takes it to the next level by brooding and focusing on it. Negativity takes all our pain, misery and fear and magnifies it to the point that it can be nearly impossible to see around it.

So today.... make a promise to yourself to strike out negativity from your life. When you catch yourself saying and thinking negative things.... stop yourself mid track and turn every thought into a positive. Forgive yourself for being human and rejoice that there are always options for joy. The good news is that it's a learned behavior and the more you do it, the easier it will become (just like eating vegan style). Soon your natural attitude will be one of being happy and light. This will make you and your family happier and the world will enjoy your presence a bit more. Best of all.... you are bringing sunshine into your world all the time... even on the cloudy days and that my dear... is good for the soul!

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