negative attitude

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Have you ever been around someone whose attitude is constantly negative or critical?  Someone who finds something bad about every situation or person in his or her life, and then makes sure to share his or her negative thoughts with everyone else.  This type of person can be an extremely negative force in our lives, but have you ever stopped to think what their lives are like?  How do they see the world?  Can they be enjoying their brief stay on this planet if they're always criticizing and complaining?  I don't think so.

I have to say that I sympathize with those people more than most because I've been there.  Much of what's going on in those people's minds is a result of treatment they've received at the hands of others.  I've found out in recent years that much of my own lack of optimism has to do with my father's alcoholism--it's extremely common for adult children of alcoholics to feel a lack of hope, to wonder when everything's going to go wrong again, and to try to prepare ourselves mentally and emotionally for any let-downs.  And while I will never use my father's alcoholism as an excuse for any of my own behaviors, it's good to know that there's an explanation for the origin of the feelings.  In fact, I try very hard not to express negative thoughts when they cross my mind, but they do come out.  Dyslexics and people with ADD, as two examples, tend to have been criticized their entire lives for not performing up to their potential--they've been called lazy and have failed classes they should have passed because of a physiological problem, and they have a hard time thinking that things can turn out well in any situation.

But the times when my negative attitude have been the strongest have been my darkest days.  Those have been the days when I've seen no hope for the future, when I've felt no possibility of change for the better.  I've seen everything darkly, but I've rarely shared that attitude with others.  Those have been the days of depression and fear, and I've never lived my life fully on those days.  As Longfellow points out, though, "Some days must be dreary."  I've had my share of dreary days, and I try to respect other people's dreary days.

On the other hand, I've also had days when I've complained a lot.  Sometimes I've had good reasons to complain, other times I've complained about trivialities that really didn't matter in my life or in the lives of those around me.  Sometimes people have been unfair to me, but my reactions to that unfairness have caused me to have some pretty miserable days.  Those have been the days when I've dwelled on the unfairness, when I've focused so much of my energy on being angry or resentful that I've gotten little to nothing out of those particular days.  It's been pretty horrible to me, but I can imagine that it wasn't all that pleasant for those people around me, either.

So where am I going with this?  Hang in there--the point is here.  I've found that I'm the only person in charge of my attitude.  I'm the only person who can control it, but even more important to me was learning that I can control it.  I've always felt that my attitude was a result of circumstances, but it's not.  In fact, very often circumstances are the result of attitude.  When I found out that my attitude was a result of my own thoughts, I finally felt that I had a grasp on making my own world a pleasant place to live in--nothing was out of my control if I just kept my attitude healthy.  And the result was beautiful--it's like a never-ending circle, for the positive attitude caused more positive things to happen, and with more positive things happening, I had more reason to feel positive, and it all felt quite good.  I also found that when I brought a bright and positive attitude to others, I was able to affect them positively, too, and put a bright moment or three in their lives, which made me feel wonderful.

A negative attitude is the result of many factors, but it's not an uncontrollable result.  You do have a say in how your attitude is.  Carry around a negative attitude and people will not want to be around you and may avoid you, thus adding to that never-ending circle.  But show the world a positive attitude--even if that's not how you're feeling inside--and you'll start to see more positive things happening in your life, and soon that will be how you feel inside.  Life's too short and beautiful to look at darkly and hopelessly, so do your best to see it brightly, and share that brightness with others, and you'll see how much of a change you'll go through.  Nobody wants to see you be negative, but they also don't want to be dragged down, so they'll avoid you rather than help you.  Please, be someone who lifts others up, not someone who drags others down.



There are millions of human beings who live narrow, darkened, frustrated lives--
who live defensively--simply because they take a defensive, doubtful attitude
toward themselves and, as a result, towards life in general.  A person with
a poor attitude becomes a magnet for unpleasant experiences.  When those
experiences come--as they must, because of his attitude--they tend to
reinforce his poor attitude, thereby bringing more problems, and so on.
The person becomes an example of self-generating, doom-fulfilling prophecy.
And it's all a matter, believe it or not, of attitude.  We get what we expect.
Our outlook on life is a kind of paintbrush, and with it, we paint our world.
It can be bright and filled with hope and satisfaction,
or it can be dark and gloomy--lugubrious.

Earl Nightingale


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Our negative thoughts are valuable messages to us about our deeper fears
and negative attitudes.  These usually are so basic to our thinking and feeling
that we don't realize they are beliefs at all.  We assume that they are simply
"the way life is."  We may be consciously affirming and visualizing prosperity,
but if our unconscious belief is that we don't deserve it, then we won't create it.
Once we become aware of our core negative beliefs, they begin to heal.

Shakti Gawain

If you keep on saying things are going to be bad,
you have a good chance of being a prophet.

Isaac Bashevis Singer


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Negative thoughts are contagious, so when you think and talk negatively,
when you sit and worry with your spouse or your friends, you feed off
each other's negativity.  In the end, although the negative messages may
start on the outside, they take up residence on the inside and will lead to
sabotage on every level of your life. . . .
  As a result of this kind of programming, the average person probably has
more than 250 negative thoughts in a given day.  When you break that down,
you are beating yourself up verbally at least once every two and a half
minutes.  These thoughts come in a steady stream:  I'm fat, I don't feel good,
I don't want to go to work, I hate my hair, it's raining, I'm exhausted.  Do these
sound familiar?

Lucinda Bassett

Many people seem needlessly to make their lives difficult by failing to
realize the importance of the attitudes they send out.  We may mistakenly
think we live in a world--in our physical environment.  In reality, we live
in our minds.  We move through a world of physical facts, but we do our
real living in our minds.  For some, it may be a perfectly miserable afternoon
with people pushing, cars cutting in on them, and traffic directors favoring
every line of cars except the one they are in.  For others, the afternoon can
be sparkling with adventure and happiness with people acting
courteously and friendly, and everything flowing smoothly.

John Marks Templeton
Worldwide Laws of Life



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Gradually, the repeated triggering of negative thoughts and moods
can begin wearing grooves in the mind; over time, these become
deeper and deeper, making it easier to set off negative, self-critical
thoughts and low or panicky moods—and more difficult to shake
them off.  After a while, prolonged periods of fragility can be
triggered by the most innocuous of things, such as a momentary
dip in mood or the slightest flux in energy levels.  These triggers
can be so small that you might not even be aware of them.

Mark Williams
Mindfulness: An Eight-Week Plan

I am worried about present-day journalism.  The emphasis on
negative happenings is much too strong.  Not infrequently,
news about events marking great progress is overlooked or
minimized.  It tends to make for a negative and discouraging
atmosphere.  There is a danger that people may lose faith in
the forward direction of humanity if they feel that very little
happens to support that faith.  And real progress is related
to the belief that it is possible.

Albert Schweitzer



Yes, life can be mysterious and confusing--but there's much of life that's actually rather dependable and reliable.  Some principles apply to life in so many different contexts that they can truly be called universal--and learning what they are and how to approach them and use them can teach us some of the most important lessons that we've ever learned.
My doctorate is in Teaching and Learning.  I use it a lot when I teach at school, but I also do my best to apply what I've learned to the life I'm living, and to observe how others live their lives.  What makes them happy or unhappy, stressed or peaceful, selfish or generous, compassionate or arrogant?  In this book, I've done my best to pass on to you what I've learned from people in my life, writers whose works I've read, and stories that I've heard.  Perhaps these principles can be a positive part of your life, too!
Universal Principles of Living Life Fully.  Awareness of these principles can explain a lot and take much of the frustration out of the lives we lead.



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