I’ve recently discovered something about myself. No, that’s technically not true. Rather, I should say that I recently admitted something to myself. I admitted that I have a tendency to be far too negative. It’s just the way I’m wired. Still, I don’t like it. Negativity breeds negativity, and I don’t want to be the cesspool that breeds negativity in others.
A very wise person once told me that negativity is easy. It’s positivity that takes work. I don’t disagree. It is so easy to be negative when so much in the world seems to be so wrong. Between government corruption, evil disguised as social justice, the ongoing coronavirus crisis, and so much more, reasons to be negative abound.
That says nothing of the constant struggle I have with my health. As a person suffering from bilateral vestibular loss (BVL) it’s difficult just to function on some days. And yet, the Creator who made me never intended for me to go through life being miserable. The same is true for you.
Positive Things All Around Us
You might find it easy to be negative simply because you are surrounded by negativity. But what if I told you that it’s just a matter of perspective? I’ll tell you that now, because it’s true. Your perspective largely determines whether or not you will be a negative or positive person on any given day.
How do I know? Because for every negative in life there is at least one positive — if not more. I might not feel physically well today but, you know what? At least I’m out of bed. At least I up, moving around, and earning a living. That’s a positive thing. There are plenty of other disabled people who have been bedridden for years.
I can look around and find other positive realities to focus on. I have a loving wife who I most certainly do not deserve. I have three children, along with their spouses and my grandchildren. I live in a neighborhood I absolutely love and in a house I find very comfortable. I might not be rich, but all my bills are paid and I have money in the bank.
How about you? I’m willing to bet that you could find plenty of positive things to focus your mind on if you just stepped back and looked. Here’s the thing: looking for reasons to be positive changes your perspective. Whatever you choose to set your mind on determines your perspective. If you’re intent on finding the positive, your perspective will be positive. If you are content to dwell on the negative, your perspective will be negative.
Think On Good Things
I have no idea what your religious persuasion is. I do know that we Christians are encouraged by Scripture to think on good things. Philippians chapter 4 specifically mentions things that are honest, just, pure, lovely, and good. We are instructed to think of things that have virtue and are worthy of praise.
Have you ever stopped to consider that whatever you feed your mind influences how you behave? You know it’s true. Why do you think the public school system is so intent on maintaining the separation of church and state? They know that if they allow religious ideas in the school environment, those ideas could influence the way kids think and, ultimately, behave.
Good parents don’t allow their kids to watch certain TV shows or play certain kinds of video games. They don’t allow their kids to hang out with trouble makers. Why? Because they don’t want their kids’ minds polluted with bad ideas. We instinctively know that whatever feeds their minds will influence their behaviors.
If that’s true for bad things, it’s also true for good things. Feed your mind with good things and those same things will come out in your words and deeds. Set your mind on positive things and you will have a positive influence on other people. The same holds true for me, too.
Don’t Hide In the Sand
One final point before closing this post: focusing on positive things doesn’t mean hiding your head in the sand. I’m not promoting positive thinking as a means of denying reality. Rather, I’m suggesting that we acknowledge the negative without dwelling on it or obsessing over it.
Of the best decisions I have made so far this year is to disconnect from big media. I have left Facebook and Google. I spend very little time on social media. I limit my daily consumption of the news to mostly local stories. I purposely limit the time spent on national and international news to just a few minutes in the morning.
I have essentially tried to replicate the media exposure I remember from my youth. Those were the days when the daily newspaper the main source of news. And rather than relying on social media to communicate now, I use email (instead of written letters) and text messages (instead of phone calls).
You know what I have discovered? Disconnecting from big media eliminates most of the negative influences that so easily weigh me down. No worries; I’m not ignorant of the world around me. I just now find it easier to keep things in perspective. I have chosen to eliminate the negative so I can think more on the positive.
Adopting a more positive mindset hasn’t been easy. It won’t ever be easy. Positivity takes work; it takes effort day in and day out. But the results of all of that effort are worthwhile. Positivity beats negativity any day.