Negative thinking vs. negative thoughts

Some people tend to perceive the world from a negative perspective. It's all bad already and it's certainly not going to get any better soon, if ever. Human beings are in general a waste of space, plain evil, in the worst case they are always out to get you, your money, your job, your wife/husband. Oh and let's not talk about the weather; it's either always too hot, always too cold, too grey, too something. We all can be those people sometimes, and I think, that is ok. Yet some have the tendency of thinking negatively almost all the time and think that is who they are and they are just being "realistic" given the news out there, given the circumstances we all live in, given the others they are surrounded by. They find the worst in everything and everybody. "I'd rather expect the worst, than being disappointed." Anything less than "perfect" is a complete failure. And don't they just love being right in the end? "Told you so." Negative thinking might, on the surface, look like a well chosen shield, providing protection from frustration, anger, sadness. But does it? Looking deeper people who think negatively about so many things in life, if not all, carry a deep suffering inside, a burden that can cause not only a lot of distress, frustration, and bitterness, but anxiety, depression, addictions and other unhelpful and destructive behavior.

Has anyone ever seen a negative thinker who is a happy, fulfilled person? I haven't.

When you are that person who tends to see the world in black and white, consider to soften your worldview, just for a little tiny bit and include a shade of grey here and there to begin with. What do you notice? Is everybody really evil? Are they all really out to get you in one way or another? Can you, maybe, just find a little pleasure in a hot summer day, even if it is just in the evening? Is your partner really that jerk, stupid idiot and freak you paint him to be? Or does he make you laugh here and there, can you feel close and intimate at times (Just to be very clear, there are limits, in what is acceptable for you and what not, but that is another topic). Treat yourself to find something that might be less absolute, less permanent, less generalized, less restraining to you than you thought, a middle road, something maybe that is less than perfect, something that is specific in a certain context and doesn't make you or others complete stupid failures? And what about noticing and accepting the positives? People who tend to think negatively, often minimize their successes and any positive occurance in their life. They are always on the lookout for the bad and filter out the beautiful events and moments, compliments, achievements. The glasses they wear moving through the world and their own strict set of rules, zoom in on just more of what they don't like and again it serves the need to "be right". In psychology this is called "confirmation bias". They see more of what they don't like, because that is what fits their negative belief around something already and so the focus is merely on it. Failures are blown up and the blame for it mostly hits themselves, successes are ignored or interpreted as pure luck, or other unforseen external circumstances. If you find yourself in that description, allow yourself just to accept it as something, that went well and maybe even because you simply did a good job or you were just as fun as you are and can be. Give yourself permission to see a setback as temporary, a way to learn something out of it, and only a happening in a specific situation rather than a general way to be. Remember just one positive you achieved and acknowledge it, instead of brushing it off, a nice word to you, about you from someone, someone who has been helpful, a task you fulfilled, something you actually did well. Stop mindreading other people. You will never know, what someone is actually thinking and therefore you might as well relax with this uncertainty. It is an impossible task and a waste of time. You don't even have to look for positives there, a pleasant easing "neutral" is just as good: "Well, I just don't know, why he/she didn't call back, yet." Could be tons of reasons, that have nothing to do with you. Consider for a moment, that your rules are not the rules of everybody else. There is no law in the universe that says, people must think and behave the way you would like it to be. Become more flexible and observe your own expectations. Were they maybe to rigid, to narrow? Stop hypnotizing yourself and misuse your powerful imagination to create horrible scenarios about yourself, the others and the world. Your subconscious mind can't make the difference between imagination and reality and so this is a sure road to misery and not "the truth". Use your imagination to improve certain areas in your life, to construct something new and stay calmer in appropriate situations. - and allow your worldview to shift step by step, as you begin to open your eyes and your mind to other possibilities. That way you give your brain more options and it allows you to think more clearly, more realistic, less doomy-gloomy.

Having negative thoughts, without creating an identity around it or an armour around you and how the world might tick, however, is a different story. What if I told you, we all have them? What if I told you, it is human to experience a negative thought here and there, even to worry from time to time?

Depending on the context it can serve a purpose that means us well, yet can be a bit mislead at that moment in time? What if I told you, thoughts are just that? Thoughts?

The more you try to control them, the less it might seem to work out. Try to catch them, try to hold them, they slip out of your hand like a fish and are already replaced by a different thought or the next thought won't even appear, as you are waiting for it. Thoughts can just be unpredictable, they seem to pop up out of nowhere and leave into nowhere. What if you could just take that as it is? Become aware of them and let them go? Really consider, how this would change your perception of yourself and your environment, if you could just allow those thoughts to be there as any other thought, instead of fighting them, forbid them, neglecting them?

Play with this little mediation as you find yourself a comfortable place, closing your eyes and resting in consciousness, in awareness:

notice every thought as it emerges.

notice every thought as it disappears.

Notice how your mind eases and you find calm as it will take longer and longer for a next thought to arise at all.

And at the end of the day, as the Chinese say: Would you rather be happy or right?

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