Why do we think negatively when we know better?
Because thinking negatively, expecting “the worst,” seeing the downside of positive situations, and even downright expecting failure, all convey a kind of backwards-thinking, emotional insurance policy.Sometimes, as foolish as it sounds, we would rather be right about our negative predictions than have a positive outcome prove us wrong. And since negative thinking leads to negative actions, or no action at all in many cases, by thinking negatively we create a self-fulfilling prediction for ourselves.
In other words, we think negatively, predict a negative outcome, act negatively, and then receive a negative outcome that fulfills our prediction.
Of course, none of this is what we truly want or need in our lives.
Are you hung up with being right? Stamp out these negative thinking traps with two more ideas from Marc and Angel:
Our desire to want to be right is another common reason we subconsciously choose negative thinking.
Continued from previous post:
c) Evaluate and eliminate unreasonable rules and expectations.
You must deal with the world the way it is, not the way you expect it to be. Life is under no obligation to give you exactly what you expect.
In fact, whatever it is you’re seeking will rarely ever come in the form you’re expecting, but that doesn’t make it any less wonderful.
Stop forcing your own misconstrued expectations and rules on life…
- “He was late, so he must not care about me.” – Or perhaps he just got caught in traffic.
- “If I can’t do this correctly, then I must not be smart enough.” – Or perhaps you just need more practice.
- “I haven’t heard back from my doctor, so the test results must be bad.” – Or perhaps the lab is just really busy and your results aren’t available yet.
Inventing rules like these about how life must be, based on your own stubborn expectations, is a great way to keep your mind stuck in the gutter.
This isn’t to say that you should never expect anything at all from yourself and others (diligence, honesty, ambition, etc.), but rather that the rules that govern your expectations should not steer you toward unreasonably negative conclusions.
If you feel dissatisfied or let down by an outcome, then you must have been expecting something different.
Rather than get upset, ask yourself, “Were my expectations too high/narrow?” and “What new truths have I learned?”
The bottom line is that you must see and accept things as they are instead of as you hoped, wished, or expected them to be. Just because it didn’t turn out like you had envisioned, doesn’t mean it isn’t exactly what you need to get to where you ultimately want to go.
d) Embrace rejection and use it to find the right opportunities.
As soon as someone critiques and criticizes you, as soon as you are rejected, you might find yourself thinking, “Well, that proves once again that I am not worthy.”
What you need to realize is, these other people are NOT worthy of YOU and your particular journey.
Rejection is necessary medicine; it teaches you how to reject opportunities that aren’t going to work, so can quickly find new ones that will.
Rejection doesn’t mean you aren’t good enough; it means the other person failed to notice what you have to offer. It means you have more time to improve your thing – to build upon your ideas, to perfect your craft, and indulge deeper in to the work that moves you.
“Will you be bitter for a moment? Absolutely. Hurt? Of course, you’re human. There isn’t a soul on this planet that doesn’t feel a small fraction of their heart break at the realization of rejection. For a short time afterwards you ask yourself every question you can think of…
- “What did I do wrong?”
- Why didn’t they like me?
- How come?
But then you have to let your emotions fuel you! This is the important part. Let your feelings of rejection drive you, feed you, and inspire one heck of a powerful opening to the next chapter of your journey.
As you look back on your life, you will often realize that many of the times you thought you were being rejected from something good, you were in fact being redirected to something better. You can’t control everything. Sometimes you just need to relax and have faith that things will work out. Let go a little and just let life happen the way it’s supposed to. Because sometimes the outcomes you can’t change, end up changing you and helping you grow far beyond your wildest dreams. (Angel and I discuss this in more detail in the “Adversity” and “Relationships” chapters of “1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.”)
Think positive. Life is good. Too many people miss the silver lining because they’re expecting pure gold.
Positive thinking isn’t about expecting the best to always happen, but accepting that whatever happens is the best for the moment.
So keep smiling and keep staying true to your heart.
Someday, the negative voice inside you will have nothing left to say.