I firmly believe that the way to more health, wealth, and happiness is to focus on health, wealth, and happiness. This may sound simplistic, but many people try to obtain health, wealth, and happiness only by trying to eliminate disease, poverty, and unhappiness.
But the lack of disease is not necessarily health, the lack of poverty is not necessarily wealth, and the lack of unhappiness is not necessarily happiness. Sometimes we successfully eliminate a negative and discover we still don’t have what we want. “After all that work!” we sigh. And, discouraged, sometimes we return to the negative.
Eliminating The Negative
Another problem with trying to get rid of something negative is that we must pay attention to the negative we’re trying to eliminate. This attention gives it more energy – our energy – and sometimes makes the negativity seem too great to overcome.
Doing nothing besides eliminating negatives to get what you really want can be the long way `round. If there were one hundred objects on a table, and I wanted you to pick up object 27, I could tell you, as you randomly selected items, “No, don’t pick up object 34.
No, don’t pick up object 29. No, don’t pick up object 63.”
Eventually, you would get to object 27, and I wouldn’t say anything. You might, however, after twenty or thirty “Don’ts,” give up. I could hardly blame you. It would have been much easier if I had simply said, “Pick up object 27.”
That’s why I asked you in a previous post to make a list of the things you want in life (your Top-Ten List). Going directly for what you want is a much easier and more effective way of getting what you want than eliminating what you don’t want.
You may, however, find “negative” parts of your life opposing your goal – these must be sacrificed in order to get what you want. If you want happiness, for example, you must sacrifice unhappiness. Some of these opposites may be easy to give up; others may have become bad habits.
When eliminating the bad habits, always keep in mind why you are eliminating them.
Focus on your goal. Rather than saying, “I want to give up negative thinking,” tell yourself, “I want to enjoy all the positive things in my life.” Rather than, “I want to get rid of this illness,” say, “I want vibrant, radiant health.”
Breaking bad habits can be difficult, but it’s easier if you remember that what you’re adding to your life (the goal) is more valuable than what you’re eliminating (the habit).
In releasing yourself from the bondage of bad habits, don’t try to eliminate all of them at once. That’s just inviting failure. Take them one or two at a time, starting with the ones that will be easier for you to change. When these are under control, take on a few others that may be a bit more challenging.
Build on the strength of each victory.
Separate “Noticing the Negative” from “Negative Thinking”
We’re not responsible for every thought that wanders through our brain, only the ones we hold there. The thought, “What an inconsiderate person,” may float through our mind and probably do little harm. It’s when we add to that thought (“And furthermore . . . “) that we get into trouble.
Maybe the person was being inconsiderate. That might be an accurate observation. We start the cycle of negative thinking when we add “and I don’t like that” to what we observe.
It’s important to keep this distinction in mind when breaking the habit of negative thinking. Merely noticing that something is a certain way, and that that way might fall on the negative side of life, is not a “negative thought.”
To notice a houseplant is withering is an observation, and not a positive one. From that observation, we have options.
One, the negative-thinking route: “Oh, the plant is dying. How many times have I told so and-so to water the plants? Plants always die on me. I must have some plant-killing energy.”
Two, the positive-action route: “I’d better water the plant. Apparently I’m not doing enough to impress upon so-and-so the importance of watering the plant; I’ll write a note now. Plants don’t seem to do well in that location. Maybe I should get a hardier plant.”
Every time we see something and think it might be better another way, we are not necessarily having negative thoughts. We get into trouble when we get negative and demand that things and people be different than they are.
If you’re not willing to invest the time, activity, and money in making something the way you want it (assuming it’s even possible), then you might as well accept it. Acceptance takes less than a second, consumes almost no energy, and costs absolutely nothing.
We live in a negative-feedback world. Often, the signal that tells us something needs attention is a negative one. Noticing these signals is not negative thinking.
Doing something corrective about them is positive action.
Getting upset about them is negative thinking.
The latter is what I’m suggesting you keep to a minimum.
OK…that’s it for this now. If you’d like some coaching around grieving and releasing request your Introductory Consultation today.
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