“ A Pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity, an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” Winston Churchill said this when the country he was elected to protect was being overrun with Nazi bombardment. Positive thinking helped him pull through in that dark time, as it helps me pull through mine. When people are faced with seemingly insurmountable obstacles in life it is easy to get discouraged and begin to react negatively. The truly difficult battle is maintaining a positive outlook in spite of the fact that it may just all go down the tube anyway.
Maintaining a positive attitude is not just looking at the good things and leaving the bad ignored. When things start going bad you acknowledge that they are and then choose to look at what can be done, instead of complaining, worrying and usually making things worse. Life can throw some pretty daunting situations at you and being afraid is being alive. Many people think that others who are always looking on the bright side just go through these challenges with no concern. Famous poet, Oscar Wilde said “ The basis of optimism is sheer terror.” Optimistic people see and feel that terror, I believe we don’t let it cloud what needs to be done.
My mother died from cancer at a very young age. Devastated and grieving, I remained silent for the better part of a year after. I did not see a reason to speak or do anything for that matter. Life seemed to have lost all the brightness it once held. Many psychologists and support groups tried to turn me from despair, but it was my father who brought me back. He asked me if I felt that my mother loved me. The answer was yes, of course. Then my father asked me if my mom wanted me to be the way I am, I said no. Dad then told me about the day they found out about her cancer. Mom sat in the doctor’s office and cried. Dad did too. On the way home, Dad said, my mother looked at him and told him now is the time to fight this thing for she had things to do and cancer isn’t one of them. She lost that fight two years later. Throughout all of it I remember a few things, her weight decreasing rapidly, the nausea after every meal and her smile every time I came in the room. After all that, I asked Dad why she was so positive in the face of something so negative. “She didn’t have the time.” he said.
My Father then told me about the chemo sessions and all the people there and how some of them couldn’t stand my mother because of her positive attitude. Father said it made her day when they couldn’t bring her down. “ A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.” Herm Albright, a 19th century lithographer and publicist said that. I thought of my mother and this experience when I read it.
We have the ability to create our own reality. For the most part, we can look at a situation and see the good or we can look at the same situation and choose to see the bad. Often times the lens we use to view what’s happening is filtered by our thoughts.
Positive thoughts create more positive circumstances. Alternatively, negative thoughts contribute to feelings of dissatisfaction and disappointment. Therefore, changing our negative thoughts is essential to achieve happiness and peace.
The following are the most common negative thinking behaviors. Becoming aware of these is essential to transforming negative thoughts into positive beliefs.
Stay away from “all-or-nothing” thinking.
When we slip into “all-or-nothing” thinking we see our circumstances as either black or white with not much in between. By shifting to someplace in the gray, a fresh perspective is created that helps us to realize more options do exist. To lead an emotionally healthy life we need to have balanced emotions. Words like: always, never, impossible, terrible and perfect, are rigid and allow little room for interpretation or…