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Facing Negativity Head-On Is the Surest Way to Diffuse It
Posted: 5/22/2014 | Personal Development Comments
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(Adapted from my multiple award-winning book, Your Ultimate Life Plan)

When someone says they have a “negative” outlook
or that they see the world as “glass-half-empty,” it usually means they don’t know what to do with difficult feelings and thoughts that arise from inside of them. Trying to be positive when something feels sad, scary, or painful without looking at the origins of the challenging feeling is often just sweeping things under the rug and doesn’t change anything.

If you notice something happens that brings up a difficult feeling or thought and you can easily remind yourself to let it go, that’s great.  Nothing else needs to happen. But if you have something happen that brings up difficult or “negative” thoughts and feelings and you can’t easily let go of them, then you might want to look deeper.

If you often react to certain events that happen or words that are said to you,
then this is probably connected to your past or childhood.  We find that those historical events and patterns create an unconscious personal programming that can control us without our even knowing it.

These patterns are formed mostly in childhood and are reinforced over time.
They constantly influence how we feel and live. Each of us views reality through our own unique lens, tinted by the perception of our programming that proves time and again that our thoughts are true. For instance, if you think you’re not very smart, a glance from your teacher can prove you’re not. You just “know” she’s disappointed in you, and that glance becomes more evidence that you’re not smart enough.

The more tightly we hold on to the negative aspects of our stories and personal histories,
and the feelings contained in them, the more likely we believe we are our stories, and the less likely we are to hear and be open to a more positive perspective. The good news is that the limiting thought patterns and belief systems originating from our personal history can be perceived, understood, dismantled, and transformed. Giving them our attention begins this disentanglement process.

The most productive way to deal with those old, habitual negative thought patterns lurking around is to face them head-on. As we become more conscious of our inner life, we begin to notice our habitual reactions and repeated patterns of thinking and feeling in our daily life. Notice when you avoid, bypass, or skip over those thoughts and compassionately allow yourself to see what’s there. Understanding, processing, and integrating your habitual, tightly held thought patterns helps shake up and soften those thinking and feeling constructs. We want to unearth these hidden patterns of thinking that keep us stuck and perpetuating the very things we hope to change.

Most of us have been experiencing the same patterns of thoughts and feelings, triggered by the same types of situations for most of our lives. So at first it can be tricky to spot them. When you feel triggered and are having a negative reaction, take a moment to observe the thoughts and feelings that you’re experiencing. What are the stories you’re telling yourself? Are they true?

You may have examined a pattern before,
but as you begin working with it more deeply, you’ll see parts of your unquestioned, habitual, limiting judgments and reactions for what they are: thoughts from your past. You only need to face whatever is right in front of you—the thought, emotion, or reaction that’s arising now—and follow where it leads. There’s no right or wrong, or some unknown perfection to attain; there’s simply taking the next step and doing your best in any given moment. Each time you work with what arises, you’ve freed another layer of yourself caught in the past.

At times it’s not easy or comfortable to observe and let go of our habitual patterns. But as we work with them, these ingrained beliefs and feeling patterns will become lighter. As we practice being gentle and easy with ourselves, we allow ourselves a little more space in which to breathe, and we become a little more compassionate with ourselves and others. Over time, we can build a foundation of healthy self-esteem that allows us to move through life with greater peace, deeper joy, and a natural positivity.

How have you defused your negativity?

Please share your thoughts. Your comments make a difference for us all.

For further information on accessing the wisdom, happiness, fulfillment, and peace you desire, click here to learn about Dr. Howard's Multiple Award Winning Book "Your Ultimate Life Plan: How to Deeply Transform Your Everyday Experience and Create Changes That Last.

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