Negative thoughts stand wrongly accused
It seems to be increasingly common in the modern age for negative thinking to be vilified. Allow me to explain the difference between negative thinking and destructive thinking. I will meet people nowadays who will tell me not to say anything negative. They will be desperately trying to avoid any form of negative thinking. Usually this stems from some of the popular law of attraction concepts that are doing the rounds. This is simply not a healthy way to live your life, although many people may believe it is. A healthy mind is a balanced mind. Not a mind that constantly seeks to avoid negativity and lives in a state of delusion about reality.
Some new age teachings have validity, this particular new age teaching does not always make a great deal of sense. Having a positive outlook on life is very important, but escaping the victim mindset does not mean all negative thoughts must be eliminated.
Life is all about contrast
As we are all aware, life has many contrasts. We have light/dark, wet/dry, loud/quiet, hot/cold and positive/ negative. Contrast is an important part of our lives and allows us to see both sides of the story. Contrast also gives us a form of context to our lives. We appreciate the warm sunshine because we have experienced the cold wintery days. If we had never experienced the cold wintery days we would have no ability to appreciate the hot sunny days. This is why contrast is a very important way of building our wisdom.
You will never meet a wise man in this world who has not experienced the positive and negative in situations in his life, they both have value to him. Just because negative situations provide us with challenges and mental distress, they still hold value to us as lessons to learn from.
The negative thought can sometimes be our greatest ally?
The big issue with modern day society is not that we have negative thoughts. The issue is that we have allowed destructive thought processes to run our lives and we are no longer at the driving wheel. A negative thought can actually be fairly healthy. If people didn’t have negative thoughts then everyone would be walking off the sides of cliffs, unaware of the fact they would be facing deadly consequences. People would fail to see any reason to lock their front door, as there would be no risk in leaving your house unlocked.
The negative thought can protect us from making bad decisions. Say for example, a man from a foreign country phones you up offering you an investment deal that sounds highly lucrative. Would it be wise to simply think positively about the situation and think only positive thoughts of the man even though you have never met him before?. The negative thought and instinct you have about the man and situation will likely stop you from needlessly losing your hard earned savings.
Striking a balance
The issue with our thinking is a matter of balance, we must focus on the positive outcome as much as we focus on any negative outcome. Many people have issues striking this balance, many people have allowed their minds to be overtaken with destructive negative thinking which makes you feel imbalanced. If there is too much of a focus on negativity, then mental issues such as depression, anger and anxiety are certain to follow and you can no longer see any positivity in your lives. Many of these negative mental states are a result of your thinking becoming imbalanced.
What are destructive thoughts?
Destructive thoughts are not healthy thoughts, they are thoughts that gradually eat away at a persons sanity making us feel like we have lost control of our lives. They are negative thoughts that are completely false and repetitive by nature, they are the thoughts that remind you of your weaknesses and forecast negative future outcomes for you in a very brutal and untruthful manner. These are the thoughts we must recognise and disregard, they are not the healthy negative thoughts we need to lead a balanced life, they are the soul destroying thoughts that will hinder us and limit our ability to live a happy and fulfilling life.
Destructive thoughts destroy confidence and create our outlook
Ignore the brigade telling everyone negative thinking is the bad guy, positive and negative thoughts are both fundamental to our lives and create a healthy and balanced mind. Recognise though, that it’s our outlook on life that must remain positive and optimistic. A negative outlook on life will become our worst enemy if we don’t keep a hold on it.
Destructive thinking will likely lead to a negative outlook on life. Destructive thoughts are usually the primary cause of lack of confidence. People with low self confidence levels will suffer the most with destructive thought patterns. If you suffer with low self esteem. You are much more likely to have a very negative outlook on yourself, other people and your future.
‘What you seek is seeking you’ – Rumi
Many of your beliefs about the world and people around you are a result of your beliefs about yourself. Its something that is called ‘Projection’. You can no longer see any beauty in the world and people around you, as you fail to see any beauty in yourself. You are projecting your self image on to the rest of the world and the reflection you are being shown is not a positive one. This is pretty much the definition of a negative outlook, you see the world and yourself in a negative light and the life you seek is a negative one. ‘What you seek is seeking you’ by the great Sufi poet Rumi is a great quote to live by.
Seeking positivity in life = Positive outlook on life
We must always seek out positivity in ourselves and in our future outcomes. By doing this we maintain a high level of confidence and self esteem. Thinking positive thoughts of ourselves leads to us feeling a sense of self respect. We must always try to think the best of ourselves and build ourselves as people and not become self destructive.
We must also seek out the positivity in our family and friends. Far too often we focus on the weaknesses of the people in our lives and forget to notice the positives. This may explain why marriages rarely last, friends drift apart and family rifts are commonplace. If we persist in focussing on the positives that can be found in our lives. Then we immediately shift ourselves from a negative outlook to a positive outlook.
I may sound as if I am contradicting myself here after saying that negative thoughts are not the enemy, but quite the opposite. Many people fail to think any positive thoughts about themselves or other people and hide behind fake personas that are simply pretending to be confident. They only see the negatives in the world and fail to see any positives. These particular people are actively pursuing negative thoughts and are not even looking for any positive aspects.
We all make mistakes and must not spend all of our time focussing on our or other peoples perceived mistakes. We must also not spend all of our time trying to avoid negative thoughts. Suppressing thoughts leads to a whole host of other mental health issues as previously stated. Sometimes a negative thought is a healthy thought. Especially when its a thought that protects us from making bad life choices or decisions.
There are many stories online of people who have allowed a misguided reliance on positive thinking to overrule any wise judgement they may of had on a situation. It has often resulted in a disaster of one kind or another. Remain wise, alert to reality and remember that by keeping a positive outlook on life, high self confidence and understanding the difference between healthy and unhealthy thoughts is the key to a successful life.