Time out for Negative Thinking
When you are going through trying times in your life, even when you try your best to think positive thoughts, it is still possible to be hiding negative thoughts in your heart and in your mind. Negativity can become ingrained in your thinking, because it can hide out in your internal dialogue. And if you continue to fertilize negative thinking with more and more negative thoughts and expectations, ultimately, negativity will become the overriding theme of your life.
In fact, if you routinely engage in negative internal dialogue/self-talk, you are probably setting yourself up to have negative expectations. And as long as you have negative expectations, you are teaching yourself to accept, without a fight, negative outcomes. When you focus only on the negative aspect of a problem, instead of looking for or expecting to find a positive solution, then you are preparing yourself for a negative outcome to your troubles. Instead of believing that a positive outcome might be possible, you are effectively talking yourself out of becoming involved in the search for a positive outcome.
"Seasons" of Negative Thinking
Everything you go through in life becomes part of who you are. In my own life, I can look back and see “seasons” of negative thinking, or times when I allowed myself to become "chained" to detrimental negative self-talk, much more often than at other times in my life. During what I look back on as my “seasons of negativity,” the power of negative thinking was just as real and just as powerful in my life as positive thinking is today. Whenever I allowed a season of negative thinking to dictate my actions or my behavior, I usually got, as an outcome, exactly what I expected.
If you have times in your life when you seem to be chained to more negative thinking than positive, you are probably practicing negativity with the same vigor and conviction that you practice positive thinking during the times in your life when you’re thinking positively.
Here is a formula for ensuring the longest possible duration of a “negative season” in your life. To remain negative, you must constantly feed your soul with negative self-talk and negative expectations. Instead of encouragement and inspiration, you must train your mind to believe only in the worst possible outcome. You must tell yourself that something negative is bound to happen, and that you should simply prepare for it. In fact, you must become an expert at expecting the worst, and a champion at getting exactly what you expect. If you choose to use this formula, no matter what, you will always find a way to blame either yourself or someone or something else for whatever setback or loss you experience. Get the point?
Learning to focus more on the positive rather than the negative possibilities in your life does not mean only positive things will happen to you as a result. It does mean, however, that no matter what happens, you will look for a positive way to think about it, and you will still choose to think positive thoughts, no matter what is going on in your life. Doing this will then empower you to always find helpful and guiding lights at the end of any and all tunnels.
As you continue to live, you will face all kinds of obstacles and challenges. These things are simply part of being alive. For this reason, just as we have to learn how to eat right to best nourish our physical body, we also have to learn how to feed our mind and our spirit the right things in order to nourish and keep them healthy—for our own good. I’m writing this Hub to be a reminder to always look for positive ways to look at negative situations and circumstances, no matter what you might find coming against you in life.
Rescue Yourself From Negative Thinking: A Light in the Darkness
Even with years of practice, even the most positive of thinkers will sometimes have to struggle hard to remain positive. But the struggle to remain positive, itself, is a positive thing. Choosing not to struggle to remain positive would be negative. The good news is, learning to keep a positive outlook becomes easier with practice. The more you do it, the better you will become at readjusting your mind when the negative thoughts begin to multiply.
Ultimately, everyone has to find what works best for him or her in the very personal and private struggle to remain positive. What works for me may or may not work for someone else. Still, surrounding yourself with positive people, with reading material about the power of positive thinking, and choosing to accept the struggle to remain positive in your thinking and in your outlook on life, is something that can help anyone.
The Bible is filled with scripture that evokes positive thoughts.
- “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)
- “And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.” (Romans 10:17)
- For we walk by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7)
- “Jesus said unto him, if thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.” (Mark 9:23)
Shifting Gears: From Negative Thinking to Positive Thinking
Reading and reciting scripture related faith might help you to feel empowered to believe that you have everything you need, right now, to do anything you set out to do. Remember that negative thinking has just as much power as does positive thinking, and that you are the only person who can shift your gears, and change negative thoughts to positive ones.
Learning to become your own best friend, your own most readily available source of support and strength, will help you let go of things that happened in the past that might be obscuring your view of your present, and your future. Being your own friend offers you an empathetic voice when you need one. It can help you be honest with yourself when you’re trying to find out if you are where you want to be in your life, or where you feel you need to be. It can lead you to come face to face with the truth about your life and about the challenges that might lie ahead for you.
Talking to yourself using positive, self-confidence-affirming words (such as, "everything will be all right," "you can do this," "expect the best," and "things will work out for the best"), can provide you with an unending source of unconditional support from you, from the heart. And that is what your willpower feeds on. People who give themselves the mental and emotional support they need can summon the will—the internal fortitude they need, to go on, to fight, to meet challenges, to overcome obstacles, and to triumph over setbacks.
© 2012 Sallie B Middlebrook PhD