Negativity Isn’t All Bad!
by Lisa Hawkins
How to use negativity to benefit you
A popular, modern day popular field of psychology is Positive Psychology. Studies have been done on the effects of positivity. Positivity feels good and promotes wellbeing and happiness.
In the new age community often times the positive is used to negate the negative. We have both positive and negative thoughts. I propose that we use negativity to benefit us!
Instead of negating the negative and pushing it under the rug, we are trying to embrace it. We look at it, inquire about it, and learn from it. Once we do that, we are left with positivity. I’m not suggesting we just don’t affirm positiveness in our lives, and that we don’t look for gratitude and happiness. I’m suggesting we do both. We listen to the negative thoughts and sit with them, asking ourselves questions. We build our (inner) houses with a steady foundation instead of a straw house.
The negative doesn’t go away, instead, it just sits and can fester or create behaviors that can be negative, such as using vices or tuning things out. Neither of these generally has a positive outcome.
We are created to have a balance, I believe, of Yin and Yang. The light has dark the dark has light. It creates true happiness, not just a positive feeling.
True happiness is when we deal with the pain and the trials and the trauma of life, and embrace the good, the joyful and the pain-free. Like any other part of our bodies, our wounds have a process of healing they have to go through, no matter if the wounds are small or large.
If we use metacognition as a way of being in a neutral position and look at a thought as just a thought, we don’t label it either negative or positive. It’s just a thought, therefore we don’t need to push it away, affirm it away, or vice it down. We can reframe it.
In my own experience, it’s helpful to look at why we have a certain thought and to look at the lesson it is trying to give us. We are wired throughout our lives with experiences and social conditioning, and until we actually look at that conditioning which is driving the majority of our actions, we won’t be able to make cognitive decisions that benefit us. We live on a default setting, just like a computer does until it is given another option. Our primal brain is trying to protect us and we don’t realize any of this is going on until we develop an awareness of how to look at our thoughts and behaviors rather than just living with the default systems.
Questioning is our greatest superpower. Only when we use it wisely can it lead us to the extraordinary life we all seem to deeply desire. The problem with it is we as a society have been taught to be complacent instead of inquisitive. Our desire to be in a comfort zone is the enemy, if you will, of questioning. It takes a certain amount of courage to question our thoughts. We have, after all, had a lifetime of (however long that is) being comfortable with status quo.
This might sound easy yet it isn’t. Our egos are attached to the status quo and in many cases, our entire personalities are at risk by questioning our belief system. Resistance happens when we begin to unravel the layers of our conditioned mind. The pay off is great if we do, and if we continue on living by default the consequences are high. We often sacrifice our mental health, our physical health, and our true happiness.
Using our negative thoughts to our benefit has increased mental health and overall happiness. We develop a solid secure foundation to which to weather the ups and downs of life. Our joy increases and our ability to have a deep and meaningful life with others as well as the most important person – ourselves.
Next time you find yourself with a negative thought ask yourself what that thought might be trying to tell you. Just like a small child that doesn’t know better. Our unquestioned mind is innocent. Listen to it. Is it true? Notice each time you have it and eventually, you can uncover it’s message. Which usually isn’t what you think it might be. How is the opposite of that thought true. A questioned mind can be free.
Photo by Tachina Lee on Unsplash