Embracing the negative
Like me, I imagine you know one or two people who speak only in the negative. They pepper each conversation with a barrage of ‘no, never, impossible, can’t, couldn’t, won’t.’ Every idea is put down without a moment’s consideration. Life from this perspective seems so bad, restrictive, foreboding; one wonders why or indeed how we can go on.
Leaving aside such people without judging them, I’m curious about those troubling feelings the rest of us may encounter occasionally. Those negative thoughts about past events or worries about upcoming tasks. By playing these snippets over and over in our minds we pump them with energy, making them bigger to the point they impede our present. So, how can we handle them?
We can do nothing and let them block us from getting on with our lives. A mistake in the past can be enough to make us believe we are ‘useless’ at everything. Denying the negative feelings and worries only causes them to grow, or as Carl Gustav Jung said: “what we resist persists.”
We can distract the negative thoughts by throwing ourselves into something we enjoy; movement of some sort usually helps for a while. It’s ‘working around the fears’ so to speak.
Embrace them, then gently move on
We can’t change the past but we can take learning from it. An upcoming activity might be testing for us, yet development comes by expanding the limits of our comfort zone. If we choose, we can acknowledge the worries as a healthy part of the growth process. After all, were we born with the ability to read, write, cook, drive, swim, paint, and sing, or did we develop such skills over time?
Preparation, belief in the possibility of success, and trust in ourselves to give our best. These elements help us let go of the negative and optimize the opportunities life provides us.
Many perspectives on such issues are possible. To open up the learning, I’d love to hear how you deal with negative thinking and worries.