Why So Negative?
I understand, big changes are scary, particularly when we feel stuck. We have a natural, I would even say evolutionary propensity for negative thinking. And if you think about it, negative thinking has ensured the survival of the species in much more dangerous times.
However, we are no longer in caves, and danger isn’t lurking at every corner. While our lives are actually much more complicated than in the times of the discovery of fire, we can let go some of those not outdated patterns.
Thing is, we’re not just negative forecasters, we’re also negative evaluators. Not only do we naturally lean towards the most negative outcome and work backwards to avoid negative outcome (often resulting in stagnation and stasis). We also tend to overestimate the disappointment factor in our closest relationships. If we’re honest with ourselves, we will see that we are more likely to remember a friend’s shortcomings than their kind gestures; at the same time, when it comes to ourselves we overestimate our kind gestures and underestimate our shortcomings.
Our modern lives have led to an increase in depression and anxiety. At times I wonder if our inability to face anything unpleasant in our life has fostered our natural propensity for negative thinking — or maybe it’s the other way around — while at the same time it has disconnected us from what will naturally lead us to happiness; things like intimate positive relationships, unique mind-opening experiences, achieving personal goals and the self-validation that comes with it.
I’m not advocating a total blue sky thinking, just a greater thoughtfulness about how we react to our environment; being open to the possibility that we are not shaped by the events in our lives, and that in fact we have the ability to rewrite our history and ultimately ourselves.
Remember, events are neutral; emotional responses on the other hand depend on the meaning we chose to give those events. In the end happiness is not so much a choice, but a byproduct of the choices we make.
If you start to see the positive out of every situation, it will change your life.
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