May 21, 2016

Top Strategies for Battling Negativity, part 2


Let’s face it: worthwhile transformations may take weeks, months, years, even decades. Chronic illness, job loss, automobile accidents, and the death of a loved one are only a few examples of life-changing trials that require a huuuuuge adjustment.

We can think positively all we want, but some circumstances just aren’t going to change overnight. It’s unrealistic to expect immediate resolution in such cases.

Does that mean that we should give up? No!!!! Anything worth having is worth fighting for. We don’t want to cultivate completely unrealistic expectations. On the other hand, we shouldn’t allow unfair situations to batter us back and forth and dictate our mood.

My last article was about overcoming negativity. A reader wisely noted that positive thinking won’t immediately change our unwanted circumstances. I can’t argue with that. Optimism isn’t going to chase away trauma. However, it can make the trauma more bearable and help us to find an eventual solution to the trauma. I don’t advocate giving up and letting pessimism flood our minds. Let’s see what three people well acquainted with trauma have to say about positive thinking:

My husband

This wonderful man has a lifetime of experience in pushing through poverty, family contention, health challenges, and other disappointments.

Positivity is not about immediate changes to your circumstances. It’s about changes in reactions to your circumstances.

If you expect major changes right away, you’ll probably be disappointed.

You don’t have to believe in the pie-in-the-sky attitude. You just have to reach for small victories. Don’t expect a pot of gold at the end of every rainbow; celebrate the small steps to victory.

Big change requires big effort.

Your attitude affects everything, even your health. There’s plenty of evidence that a negative attitude damages the immune system.

Never give up or stop trying.

Me

Groundbreaking successes never come easily. There are at least two conditions for every accomplishment:

Don’t lose hope. Believe in a brighter future, or you won’t receive it. Makes sense, right?  Zecharaiah 9:12 states, “Return to your fortress, you prisoners of hope; even now I announce that I will restore twice as much to you.” (NIV)

Be willing to do as much work as necessary.

Cultivate joy. While you’re struggling and reaching for that significant breakthrough, engage in activities that give you joy. This may uplift you in your darkest hours.

Ask for, and accept, help when appropriate. This takes some of the burden off of you. For instance, my daughter came across a stray cat in our neighborhood this week. The animal’s right eyeball is completely missing, and it is severely malnourished. It figured out where we live and followed my daughter home the other day. We gave it food and water.

It is heart breaking when this gentle creature slowly ambles up to me and starts purring for attention. I want to pick it up and hold it. I also desire to keep providing the cat with food and water, but it doesn’t stay in one place for long. I cannot help this feline if I don’t know where it is, and if it doesn’t “ask” for help.

Kelly

This friend has survived the death of loved ones, family tragedy, health challenges, poverty, and divorce (three times).
In fact, she went through three huge trials within a four-month period:
  • The death of her closest friend
  • The near-fatal accident of a close relative
  • The unwise, life-changing decision of a loved one

Talk, write about, and envision things as you want them to be, not as they are. For instance, she puts notes in places of high visibility saying that certain relationships have been healed. She reads these aloud at every chance.

You know what? It works. She has seen partial victory in completely unexpected ways.

My Conclusion

Optimism is a state of mind, not a state of circumstances. Enough said.

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Have you trained your mind for positivity or negativity?