I recently learned that self-help is not only about things you do such as positive thinking and making mindful actions but mostly, it’s about avoiding things that do not work for you and the end goal of this will be positive growth. Can you identify any of your habits that are working against you? If yes, this should be your starting point.
I remember a few years ago when I first heard about positive thinking through positive thoughts throughout the day from Robin Shamar in his book ‘The monk who sold his Ferrari’. Robin tells a story of a very successful Lawyer who left everything in pursuit of the meaning of life after he survived a stroke and ended up becoming a monk, changed by his journey to the Himalayan mountains. The book teaches several principles all summed up in being positive. I decided to take the challenge and watch my thoughts and words aiming at being positive for a day. This is when I realized how much negativity I had in my life and it took several months of continuous work to attain the goal of a whole day of positivity. We are often wired towards negativity by society without us noticing. We live in this state limiting our possibilities.
We, however, do not like to be told to be positive. This is because many times when we are advised to be positive, one is usually going through a certain struggle, either financial struggle, a heartbreak, job loss or other, low self-esteem, and many other low moments such as surviving the COVID-19 pandemic today. In many ways it feels like an attack when adviced to be positive. When in such a state, trying to be positive won’t work as easily but rather create friction. The alternative is to pay attention to these situations in our lives. We should look at what we lack or where we fall short and work to improve it. By accepting things that come to our experience as they are, then learn not to pay attention to the negativity, but to observe and make mindful decisions to change the experience. We elevate the struggle to future potential. Like Daniel turning his back in the lions den. He knew he was in danger, but instead of focusing on the hungry lions in their den. He choose to focus on the light of God. Yes, this might be difficult but cultivating and feeding our faith, to be able to believe in things that we cannot see yet but live in their expectancy taking the little steps towards their achievement is huge progress.
We give more energy to negative emotions than positive emotions. It is estimated that when we say something out loud it’s ten times more powerful and if it’s negative, it’s four to seven times more powerful than positive thoughts. So, when you say something negative out loud, it’s forty to seventy times more likely to happen compared to when not said hence negativity works against us to great extents. Negative thoughts are also dangerous. This is because energy flows where you direct your attention and life responds to the energy we give off, hence the possibility of having even more negative experiences. Before beginning with positivity, we should first fight the negativity in our lives. Creating new thought patterns, actions, and beliefs because our behavior is what defines us.
Our beliefs are an accumulation of our thoughts, actions, and feelings and they have a pattern either positive or negative. If one has a negative pattern and they force positive thinking, they end up struggling with it since the positive thoughts get rejected due to the ingrained beliefs. Often, our feelings become greater than the mind. Our minds record all our experiences and over time we start living from our past, meaning we live from our past low emotions and regrets. it is important to remember we are all here for some special reason. to stop being prisoners of our past and become the architect of our future. We should learn to create new patterns by having thoughts and actions that do not make us feel low and build upon gradual positive growth. We should in a way wage war against the weaker thoughts that have crept into the palace of our minds. they will see that they are unwanted and leave like unwelcome visitors.
The quality of our life is determined by the quality of our thoughts. “the secret of happiness is simple: find out what you truly love to do and then direct all of your energy towards doing it. once you do this, abundance flows into your life and all your desires are filled with ease and grace”. – Robin Sharma