We all indulge in negative thinking from time to time.
Something in our lives doesn’t go as planned, we get frustrated and negative thoughts start to creep up.
Even some of the most happy, vibrant, always-smiling type people have periods of time in their lives when they start thinking negative thoughts and get depressed or angry.
It’s part of being human. We all do it from time to time.
Why does this happen though? Why are we all susceptible to negativity and how does it affect our lives?
Dealing with Contrast
As human beings we live in a world of duality. Light and dark, good and evil, right and wrong, etc.
As we live out our lives we are exposed to experiences and situations which provide contrast for us.
Contrast helps us to gain clarity in life.
Without contrast we wouldn’t know what we want. Without contrast, everything would be equal and boring.
How could we value something like peace without seeing examples of war in our reality to provide us contrast?
How could we value abundance without experiencing lack in our reality?
How could we value health without experiencing disease in our reality?
Knowing what we want is tied directly to knowing what we don’t want.
Everyone Experiences Contrast
We all experience contrast as human beings. Contrast is good. It can help us to learn and grow.
However, it is how we interpret contrast and what meaning we associate to it which determines whether the event or circumstance is labeled as a positive or negative experience.
For example, let’s say that we work at a job which we no longer like. However, we’re too lazy to look for alternatives. So we keep coming in to work, even though we’re not really happy there.
One day we come into work and our boss jumps down our throat about some kind of problem that the company is having, but which has nothing to do with us.
We try to explain that it wasn’t our fault that this problem arose, but the boss doesn’t want to hear it.
We walk out of the meeting with the boss, steaming.
Now, that type of event is what I am referring to when I say the word “Contrast”.
Although the event provides us with a lot of contrast to consider in our lives, it isn’t inherently a positive or negative event – it’s neutral.
However, how we choose to interpret the event is what decides if it was a “negative” or “positive” event for us.
For example, if this type of event happened to me I may choose to think “I don’t like my job” or “I don’t want to work here anymore” and that would be one way of interpreting the situation.
Another way I could interpret it is to think “I want a better job” or “I want to start my own business“.
Now, when we look at those different ways of looking at the situation, they appear to be very similar.
In one instance I’m thinking about not liking my job, and not wanting to work there anymore, and in the other situation I’m talking about wanting a better job or wanting to start my own business.
The differences are subtle, but the repercussions of how those subtle differences affect our reality are huge.
Let me ‘splain.
The Subconscious Mind – Powerful Ally or Worst Enemy
Our subconscious mind is one our most amazing gifts. Without it, we would literally be dead – instantly.
Our subconscious mind has the power to help us manifest anything we could possibly want in our reality.
However, if used improperly, it can also be our worst enemy.
In order to utilize our subconscious mind to it’s full potential to help us, we must first understand how it works.
Even though everyone from scientists to marketing experts have been trying to figure out how the subconscious mind works for a very long time, we only have a very small idea of it’s inner workings so far.
However, there are some things that we do know about the subconscious mind that are very useful to us.
For example, we do know that the subconscious mind is not a logical/rational mind. It does not think in linear terms – instead it is a parallel processor.
Although the number is not exactly known, it is said that the subconscious mind can process more than 40 billion bits of information per second.
Our conscious mind can only process between 7-20 bits of information per second in contrast to that.
One of the things we also know about the subconscious mind is that it does not understand negative modifiers in language.
Meaning, if we say the words “I don’t like my job”, the subconscious mind does not understand the word “don’t”. So when you say the words “I don’t like my job”, the subconscious mind hears “I don’t like my job.”
When we say “I don’t want to work here” the subconscious mind hears “I don’t want to work here”.
When we say “I am not happy with my life” the subconscious mind hears “I am not happy with my life”.
Do you see the challenge that this presents?
Essentially, every time you say or think a statement with a negative modifier in it, you are programming the subconscious mind to believe the exact opposite.
You’re essentially programming your subconscious mind to work against you!
The Real Problem With Negativity
Some people say that negative people should just be happy with their lives. They should just be grateful for what life brings them.
If they hate their job, they should just be happy that they have a job in the first place.
I say that’s bullshit.
If you want a better job, or to start your own business, then that’s OK! That is NOT being negative.
If you want to lose weight because you want to look better, that’s OK too! That is NOT being negative.
These types of situations and events that we create in our lives, which provide us with the contrast to see what we don’t want in order for us to choose what we do want are POSITIVE events.
If you’re at a job you hate, but are too lazy to find something to do which you’d enjoy more, you WILL attract circumstances which will bring about contrast for you.
Your boss will probably call you into a meeting and rip a strip off of you for doing something wrong which you probably didn’t even do.
You will attract a customer who will piss you off so much you’ll want to quit your job right there on the spot.
These types of contrasting situations WILL come up for you – and that is AWESOME. You want that.
However, we have to realize that those situations show us what we DON’T want, in order for us to become crystal clear on what we DO want.
If we are too lazy to choose what we DO want, however, then we will simply just continue to focus on what we DON’T want and will continue to manifest that.
As trivial as it may sound, the words that we use to describe the situation in our minds and in our spoken words make a huge difference in what we manifest.
“I don’t want to work here” and “I want to work somewhere else” may sound like the same thing to your conscious mind, but they are opposites to the subconscious mind.
Remember that the subconscious mind does not understand negative modifiers so it hears “I want to work here” instead of “I don’t want to work here”.
So the real problem with negativity is NOT that we experience a contrasting situation and decide that we want something else instead.
That is not the problem. It is fine to want something more, something better in our lives.
However, how we interpret the contrasting situation using negative vocabulary, then we set ourselves up for failure.
The Subconscious Mind is a Drive-Thru Window
Here’s another way to think about it.
Imagine that you have two favorite burgers at McDonalds. The Big Mac and the McChicken burgers. Those are your all-time favorites that you’ve loved for years.
Now, imagine if you were driving through the McDonalds drive through, and wanted to order a burger. Since the last time you ordered a Big Mac you decide that you don’t want that again.
Now, imagine if that drive through window had a microphone that you speak into, but the microphone was installed with a state-of-the-art “negative modifier filtration add-on” which automatically filtered out any negative modifiers.
So, now imagine sitting in the drive through and the drive-thru person coming onto the speaker and saying “May I take your order?”, and in response to that you say “Yes, I don’t want a Big Mac.”
What do you think would happen next?
Since the microphone automatically deleted the negative modifier “don’t”, your order was heard as “Yes, I want a Big Mac.” So guess what the drive-thru person will give you?
He’ll give you a Big Mac. Exactly what you DIDN’T want.
Now, that would obviously be a ridiculous thing for McDonalds to install such a filter on their microphones, but that is exactly how our subconscious mind works.
But even if that filter wasn’t there, let’s say that the drive thru person did actually hear you say “Yes, I don’t want a Big Mac.”
Would that be any better? Not really, right?
How would that person know what you DO want, just by you telling them what you DON’T want.
Inside your conscious mind, it may be an obvious thing since you only like those two burgers and you have decided that you don’t want the Big Mac this time. In YOUR mind it is very clear that you in fact want to order the McChicken burger, but the drive thru clerk can’t deduce that from you simply saying “I don’t want a Big Mac.”
How would they know whether you want the McChicken, or a Cheeseburger. Or maybe you want a salad!
The only way to make it clear to the drive-thru person what it is that you want to order is by telling them what you DO want, not what you DON’T want, right?
Well, our subconscious mind works the same way.
We must learn to speak to it in terms of what we DO want, not what we DON’T want. We must tell it what we DO like/prefer, not what we DON’T like/prefer.
It is this distinction which makes negative thinking so dangerous.
Our subconscious mind hears every thought we have. We must learn to speak to it like we would speak to a waiter at a restaurant. We need to tell it what we WOULD like to order, and not what we WOULDN’T like to order.
Conscious growth doesn’t come from settling for a life less than what we desire. It is not about avoiding contrasting situations. It is not about learning to just be happy with what we’ve got.
Conscious growth comes from embracing those contrasting situations and learning from them – but THEN we have to become crystal clear on what we DO want, and what we DO prefer in response to the situation, instead of programming our subconscious mind to further attract exactly what we don’t want.