virgin islands scene

Half of being smart is knowing what you are dumb about.
-- Solomon Short


Thursday, December 14, 1995

The Power of Negative Thinking

Let’s be honest about it. Life is scary. I know, you’re supposed to be a grown up and you’re not supposed to be afraid of anything. But at 3 in the morning, when you’re laying awake, unable to sleep because you’re worrying about where you’re going to get the money for the house payment, life can be frightening.

And sometimes, it can be very useful to admit that. Most of the time, we keep a “stiff upper lip.” We try to maintain a positive attitude, to think that things will always get better. And there is much value in that. But there come times when you just need to deal with all the nagging little negative thoughts that build up as a result of your attempt to be positive all the time.

You know you have doubts all the time. You’re often afraid to admit them even to yourself, but they’re there. They eat away at you because you never let them out. Actually, negative feelings are healthy. They temper your enthusiasm with a dose of reality, and remind you that there are risks in everything you do. They help you remember to be careful. But if they build up inside of you, and are never dealt with, then they can immobilize you.

So every now and then, when you’re feeling particularly blue, it’s time to have an out-an-out bitching and moaning session. And if you raise such an event to the status of a ritual, that is, if you intentionally decide to do it, it can be very productive and beneficial to you.

Give it a try. Sit down and think about one of the problems in your life. Really dwell on it. Think of all the reasons why it makes your hopes and dreams and goals impossible to accomplish. In your mind, let your problem put a negative slant on every aspect of your life. Then, start having some fun with it. Start with a little exaggeration. Add some melodrama, and maybe a little obscenity. Say to yourself something like, “The truth is, I can’t stand your little business venture. I hate you for even thinking of it. I thought things were fine just the way they were. I’m really too lazy to bother with all of it. I think I’ll just eat a lot of chocolate and get fat."

You get the idea. Really revel in your misery to the point where it becomes funny. And you’ll notice that your energy level starts to go up. Because negativity is energy, and it can get you moving when you let it come out. Have you ever seen a healthy two year old who lacks energy? Of course not. Because two year olds know something that we have forgotten -- the value of a good tantrum.

If you keep your doubts and negative feelings bottled up inside, they eventually gain control of you. But letting them out in a good tantrum puts you back in the driver’s seat. Acknowledging your problems and your doubts gives you control over them. Getting furious about them will give you the energy you need to overcome them.

So every now and then, think negative. It could have a very positive influence on your life.

— Ralph Marston

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Copyright ©1995 Ralph S. Marston, Jr. All Rights Reserved. The Daily Motivator is provided for your personal, non-commercial use only. Other than personal sharing, please do not re-distribute without permission.