What really binds us to any negative emotional state in which we find ourselves suffering is this: choice.
Freedom from negative behavior and thoughts must begin with your recognition that you are voluntarily serving that which puts your own emotional and spiritual peace at risk. Notice the use of the word voluntarily. You voluntarily choose to serve that which diminishes your own well-being and psycho-spiritual health. When we adopt a negative attitude, we are boxing with ourselves. We are undermining our own emotional health. It is a personal vendetta against ourselves that negates our chances for happiness.
If you want to stop allowing yourself to be sucked down into the quicksand of negativity, there are some things you must do beginning with taking note of how often you disable yourself with your own negative thoughts.
It is important to realize that when we think an adverse thought we bury it even deeper into our consciousness. It is a lot like being in quicksand. If you squirm in it, you will sink deeper. The same is true with negativity, if you keep thinking it (which is tantamount to squirming); it will become more deeply entrenched in your consciousness. In other words, we pave the way for it to become an even stronger actuality in our life. Negative thoughts, words and attitude arouse negative and unhappy moods and actions. When the mind is negative, poisons are released into the spirit, which cause more unhappiness and negativity. Negative thinking is the way to frustration, disappointment, failure and ultimate despair.
I recall a young woman who had given a workshop presentation. When she reviewed the feedback she received from participants, she was stunned that someone had written about how awful she was. The person even utilized a few expletives and emphasized that he would never attend another workshop where she was scheduled to present. She was devastated and vowed to never give another presentation. How unfortunate.
The problem in this scenario is not with the negative feedback the presenter received. Rather, it is with how the presenter chose to interpret it. She had at least five options (probably more). One, ignore it. Two, consider it humorous and dismiss it. Three, accept it as a right of opinion and nothing more. Four, reflect upon her presentation to assess if there were areas that needed improvement. Or, as she apparently did, internalize the negative into her consciousness, thereby setting herself up for defeat and self-pity.
And, in so doing, she is misusing and subverting the only creative power there is; that vital, dynamic substance in us, that God-given power which lies innate in every man, the power to speak it into being. God spoke existence into being.
When you talk negatively about yourself or to yourself, you bring into being that which you speak. Your own self-defeating, negative, pessimistic thinking will make you a self-defeating, negative, pessimistic individual. And, whether you realize it or not, you attract what you think. That is to say, if you think negative, you will attract the universal negative force into your life. If you think self-defeat you will attract all the forces of self defeat.
This is why negative people tend to "hang out" together. They feed on each other's negativity as it grows within each of them. Suffering with chronic negativity, they distort their spiritual image and become their own victims. They willingly and voluntarily victimize themselves. How sad.
Most people are not aware of how negative they really are. Throughout the course of normal conversation, they bombard themselves with negative talk. Even people who are aware of the power of their words seem to miss some of the most commonly used derogatory comments that are made towards themselves and/or others in the course of normal conversation.
All negative assumptions about our lives are a painful prophecy made up by that deep inner part of us that not only want us to see ourselves as failures but, once having convinced us of it, actually cause the undesired outcome. You see what I mean? These negative assumptions that pop up in us about ourselves, others, the world; that darken our aspirations for a higher, more fulfilling life, are much like the beauty of fire emanating from burning logs in the fireplace. The fire has no power over us unless we voluntarily choose to stick our hand into it.
Spiritually, you loose your sense of connectedness, as you flounder around searching for the answers as to what went wrong, how could it have been done differently? Why did I behave like that? Why did the other party behave like that? What's wrong with me? All those questions you fling around at no-one in particular vowing never to be hurt, or caught off guard, or to give your trust again, and in so doing you deny your very soul. You infect your spiritual self, that part of you that has always had a higher view of life; that part of you that knows that there is a tomorrow and a future.
Drop the negations. We have no room for this type of foolishness in our lives. Allowing negatives to define your life is an insult to your integrity and dignity as a human being. Negativity is your worst enemy. It is important that you understand this. You must fight against the enemy for you own survival's sake. You must reject all negative thoughts that would control you. You have no other options. Survivor or victim, the choice is yours.
Take conscious control of your self-talk. The things you say to yourself in your mind, as well as the meaning you attribute to events in your life, combine to create the reality you end up living. Stop seeing the worst in yourself and in everything that happens to you. Stopping negative thinking is vital. It is our thoughts and expectations that shape and produce what we become and the quality of our lives is a direct result of them.
Learn to be comfortable with yourself. That is, accept yourself.
Allow the light of God to remove all the dark and negative conditions from your consciousness. From the wonderful place within, perceive the glory of the all encompassing Energy and your oneness with His living, never-ceasing flow of love in this uplifted consciousness which transcends and obliterates every adversity in the outer world.
The power of thought is man's greatest gift from God, and it is one of our greatest blessings: the mind and spirit can at any time change its thought. Instead of thinking negative, debilitating thoughts, lift up your mind and think wonderful thoughts. Recall the words of the apostle Paul:
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable; if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things. Philippians 4:8.
Think of the powers within you. You have the power to not only believe but to choose your beliefs. This glorious power of mental choice, of absolute freedom is your point of connectedness with God's power. With this power, you can mold and form your every thought, endeavor, and purpose as an individual. And guess what? You can use the potency of your own thoughts to improve every phase of your human condition or you can choose not to use it in this manner.
Whenever you choose negatively, you are denying and burying the elixir of life and joy that is your free gift from the Source of all life and joy. Nothing compares to the great awakening to the power within. You have the power to express yourself in all types of creative ways, and succeed. You also have the power to express yourself in self-defeating ways, and to fail. Change the character of your thoughts. Shift your center of attention, altar your way of thinking about yourself and others.
What are negative thoughts other than self torment? No one else can hear them nor be harmed by them. Remember, what really binds us to any negative emotional state in which we find ourselves suffering is this: choice. Make the choice to drop the negations.
Wishing you champagne and caviar thoughts!
Saundra L. Washington, an ordained clergywoman and social worker, has practiced concurrently in the fields of social work and ministry for almost three decades. She is the Founder of AMEN Ministries, http://www.clergyservices4u.org and the author of two coffee table books: Room Beneath the Snow, Poems that Preach and Negative Disturbances, Homilies that Teach.