HOW TO OVERCOME NEGATIVITY
“Whatever you think, that you will be. If you think yourselves weak, weak you will be; if you think yourselves strong, strong you will be; if you think yourselves impure, impure you will be; if you think yourselves pure, pure you will be. This teaches us not to think ourselves as weak, but as strong, omnipotent, omniscient.” – Swami Vivekananda
We often get disappointed when we find something so abruptly in our life that tries to impede our forthcoming progress. What we fail to understand is that all problems in our life are transient and none of them is permanent. But the common mistake we all do is that we inadvertently make problems appear big just by mulling over them inordinately. The intensity of our problems will be commensurate with the amount of time spent thinking over them repeatedly. And by pondering over them too frequently we only help precipitating the worse to happen in our life and nothing else. There are problems in life, quite understood, and those impending problems won’t be easy to handle at any cost. But the point is there are problems in everyone’s life and we just think that there are too many problems in our lives.
Well, that’s the biggest problem that we think we have a problematic life, and we keep expending our energy in doing so unless we find someone who has bigger problems in life. It reminds me of the story of a person who said, “I cried because I had no shoes until I saw a man who had no feet.” Once we realize that problems are a part of life and there are people with bigger and greater problems in life we tend to feel little comfortable. All I want to say is that if we see our own life from other’s perspective we will find we are in a much better position, it is just that we leave no stone unturned in underrating ourselves. We just do not want to be happy. We want to be moving. If we do not find a reason to be worried we invent the reason, it’s our environment and upbringing that we have become accustomed to. We secretly have come to believe that worry is the fuel of progress.
Here is the story of a farmer in China which will tell you about an amazing transformation of a person who solves his own problems by just changing his perception: –
A poor farmer in china was in great distress. He was a peace-loving sort of person who had to share a single room with four noisy roommates. Besides, there were a couple of stray dogs and a few noisy chickens and ducks in the neighborhood that made it difficult for him to sit quietly or meditate.
Depressed that he could not get over this noise pollution, he travelled a long distance to his Zen master to find a way out.
Listening to his tale of woe, the compassionate Master said: “If you listen to me carefully, I can try to see what we can do.” The farmer was all ears. The master said: “Go back to your village and invite inside your room the stray dogs, the chickens as well as the ducks. Let them all stay with you for a week besides your four friends. Then come back to me.” Although he was shocked and surprised by his master’s strange prescription, the farmer reluctantly agreed to do as he was asked.
The farmer came after a week. He was in a pitiable state; his hair was unkempt, his clothes were torn in shreds, his eyes were red due to lack of sleep and his body smelt of animal dung. He looked unhappily at his master and said, “The experience was worse than hell – those animals and birds and their week long company… seems I have come to hell.!”
The master said, “Everything will be all right. Just go back to your village and leave the animals outside your door – where they were before. Then, come back to me after another seven days.” The farmer again did what he was told. But this time when he came back – there was a bright happiness in his face. His eyes shone and he told the master, “I have never known so much peace before. Just my four friends and I. No animals in the room. We all slept well. And my meditation was deep.”
Later while narrating the entire incident to his family the farmer said, “It was like I was trying to climb in to my own house through window when the door was already open.”
Often times, we love finding faults with people and blaming others (esp. God) for the unhappiness in our lives. We just so love it because we find it’s the easiest thing to do. And this is the most common thing with everyone thinking the same way. Most of us seem to be in the same boat… sounds familiar! But it’s never too late to change our old habits and become negativity resistant. Just think of the sages, or those who live in Himalayas, they not only have such radiance on their faces but they have a contagious smile too. They know how to overcome negativity and stay attuned to positivity in life.
Now the million-dollar question is: – How can you do that?
Pant good thoughts in your mind without fighting with the negative ones! When you try to stop them, you are focusing on what you don’t want i.e. negative thoughts – and you attract them in abundance. They can never disappear if you are focused on them. As your focus is on negative thoughts, and by the law of attraction, you are inviting more of them to you. Suppose you are driving a car on a highway with loud music and windows open and all of a sudden it starts to rain, if you don’t close the windows of your car you will be drenched, on the contrary if you choose to close the windows you still enjoy the driving, the music, and of course the rain. Similarly, if you choose to shut the window of negative thoughts and focus only on inspiring thoughts. To stop negative thoughts, just plant good thoughts! You plant good thoughts by making it a daily practice to appreciate all the things in your day. Appreciate your health, your car, your home, your family, your job, your friends, your surroundings, your meals, your pets, and the marvellous beauty of the day. Compliment, praise and give thanks to all things. As you plant more good thoughts, the junk thoughts will be wiped out because your focus is on good thoughts, and what you focus on you attract.
Here are few tactics to overcome the negative and energy depleting thoughts:
- Replace Negative with Positive: I know it sounds little cheesy but this is the very first step you should take to immediately replace the negative thought with a positive one. Now think when your car/bike gets punctured, what do you do in that situation, of course you either get it fixed by the mechanic or replace the punctured tired with the spare tire you have as a backup, and your car comes back on track. Similarly we can replace those junk thoughts by thinking over something good. Try doing this exercise every time you come across a negative thought.
- Learn your favorite quote: Mug up your favorite quote it will help you keep on the track. Mahatma Gandhi said, “I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.” It is sometimes helpful to keep your mind from wandering and bring it back on the track. Place Post-It notes with positive quotes on your computer, fridge door, and mirror as reminders to stay positive.
- Smile a lot: Remind yourself to smile each day when you get up, when you show up in the office, when you talk to people even your family members. It is very important and it will help you cling to happiness. As I said that smile it contagious it will not only help you spread positive vibes but also keep negative people away from you. Try to stand in front of a mirror and force yourself to smile. It really does help relieve stress and change your mood. You will feel lighter because it takes fewer muscles to smile than to frown.
- Surround yourself with positive people: If you have positive people around you then the probability of initiating a negative chat will be fewer. Still, if you get stuck in a negative spiral, talk to people who can put things into perspective and who won’t feed your negative thinking.
- Help someone: When you are under the duress of negative emotions take the focus away from you and do something nice for another person. I sometimes trick my mind like this even if I have to get involved in the household chores I do, and it works. It takes my mind off of things and I feel better for helping someone else.
Do as much as you can of all the five simple steps mentioned above. Each day start your day by writing down five things you are grateful for in your life. Being grateful helps appreciate what you already have.
Once you start to understand that negative emotions are nothing and can be replaced in to positive emotions in a fraction of seconds you will become habitual of thinking positively all the time. It is never too late to change our habits it is just that we have never tried to overcome such old habits and have become their servant. If we feel good internally then it will have an awesome effect in every sphere of our life, and to feel good we must do things we like the most. Like having coffee with your friends at Café Coffee Day or have dinner at your favorite restaurant with your family. I suggest you even an expensive meal if that makes us feel good (once in a while is okay). You will gradually observe positive changes in your life; things will start molding in your favor. Try these things and see how your life will change.