I was recently at a park, sitting outside on a glorious afternoon, sipping on some lemon tea, enjoying a peaceful time making notes about a new project that I am working on, and two women came along. They sat down nearby, and began complaining about their lives, their husbands, their children, their jobs, their other friends, their homes. They seemed to feed off of each other, appearing to outdo the last comment with something even worse in their own life. It made me sad.
I tried to refocus my attention. I tried to put myself in their shoes. I tried making excuses for their negativity in my head. But in the end, I just left.
I left, and I started thinking.
As one of God’s servants, what do people hear from my lips? Do I glorify His Kingdom when I am unaware that people are listening? Do I speak positivity into the lives of those I love and cherish?
I will admit it. I am a girl that typically sees the world through rose-colored glasses. I adored my father-in-law, but he would chastise and tease me for being too happy - he claimed that it would only end up disappointing me in the end and he didn’t want me to get hurt. He was the first to tell me that he was not a pessimistic person, he was a realist. I hugged him anyways, knowing that we were different and that was okay.
He is not alone in his attitude. There are many that think they are preserving themselves by being realists. And maybe that’s true, but then are they truly living?? Are they capable of taking risks, and exploring life and opportunities?? Fear smothers the future, and steals the present.
I believe that “realism” is pessimism. It makes my spirit bristle when I hear people being negative. God is not negative - He created hope, and faith in the things we can’t see. He knows the depth and desires of my heart, and if it aligns with His Will, He will bless it. I choose to honor and believe those hope-filled words that He shares with us, but I realize that it is not easy to see that light sometimes.
With the level of chaos and confusion in this world today, it has become more and more difficult to navigate life with an uplifted attitude, but you can start that shift in your personal world. Changing the way you act, respond and process will help change your life. We need to encourage more, and criticize less. We need to see the glorious leaves rather than the raking that needs to be done. We need to watch the children play without seeing the dirt on their faces. There is good and bad in everything, and it is truly about where you direct your attention. It’s our perspective that creates our reality.
I found an article about negativity a while back and was fascinated by it. I love to systematize and categorize everything, so I appreciated the breakdown on this subject. The article discussed how complaining rewires your brain for negativity based on these three types of complainers:
1. Venters: this is a dissatisfied person who is not interested in hearing any solutions to help them
2. Sympathy seekers: they believe they’ve got it worse than everyone else and look for others to comfort them
3. Chronic complainers: these people live in a constant state of complaint, complaining about the same thing over and over, and finding new things to complain about whenever necessary, blamers fall into this category. Those that can not <or will not> accept responsibility for their choices and their actions.
The article went on to explain that whenever we complain, thousands of neurons are triggered and form a neural network. The mind then finds it easier to follow this established network when reacting to everyday life. WHOA! Did you get that???? The more we complain, the more there is to complain about! So if we are looking to create a brighter perspective, it’s essential that we catch ourselves before we begin to complain, whine or lament, so that the negativity network short circuits and collapses, and we can establish a new thought life, one beautiful moment at a time!
1. Be grateful, it doesn’t matter what you’re grateful for, it can be anything. Write a list of 5 things per day - journal it, so that you can go back and watch your own progress. Practice this to create a brand new network for pleasant feelings and start to live a happier life.
2. I recently learned from Sonia Choquette about one of our superpowers: imagination. It's simple. Pretend you are one of Leonardo DaVinci’s students. They were required to say no less than 100 “I wonder” statements that would activate their imagination, and create an abundance of gratitude for the world and the people in it. For example, “I wonder why the sky is blue.” “I wonder why flowers don’t all smell the same.” “ I wonder how many colors there are in the universe.” You get the idea. This is also something that can be added to the dinner conversation, or when you are out with friends.
3. Rise with the day, and say out loud, ‘I choose to see the good, and talk about what’s best.”
4. Keep the TV off, and avoid the news. Trust me when I say that if there’s something vitally important for you to know about - you will know about it, but you don’t need to listen to the same sad, scary, fearful, horrific news reports over and over again.
5. Schedule a Living Well Transformation Session with one of our specialists to identify and release trapped negative emotions, and establish positive core beliefs!
And, in case of emergencies, find some rose-colored glasses!