Thinking About Thinking

The wisdom of negative thinking

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I think very deeply about life. Sometimes I wish I could just control/alt/delete myself to a more non-reflective existence but when I think like that I realise that my capacity for deeper reflection is not only my persecutor but my saviour. I have been thinking deeply about things since I was a young kid and it has been through my thinking that I have grown in conscious awareness.

There is a massive myth out there promulgating that how we think determines how we feel. Aaron Beck, an American psychiatrist and professor is widely regarded as the father of cognitive therapy, a treatment used to ameliorate depression. Beck has inspired other psychologists to expand on his ideas and positive psychology is now taught in most modern universities. The only thing I like about positivity is its negativity. The reason why it is a negative approach to understanding unhappiness and depression is that it negates the creativity of the person presenting with negative thinking. It’s a “what you focus upon grows approach” when in actual fact, what you don’t focus upon expands and expands until the whisper turns to a scream for conscious awareness.

To think negatively has to mean something. Negative thinking is a wise response to an insane world to honours the mask and frowns upon authenticity. The cognitive approach to negative thinking is to dismiss it as irrational and replace it with positive thinking. It’s as if “hey presto” and the negative thinking is banished for good by a psychological sleight of hand. The truth is that it has gone nowhere and it is still now here.

The creative purpose of negative thinking is to protect us from a perceived threat. The greater the threat then the more negative the thinking pattern and the key to understanding is to get under the “why” of the threat. It is how we feel about ourselves that colours our thinking patterns and not vice versa. If we have a low sense of worth and value, then the world will naturally seem a very threatening place and herein lies the beauty of negative thinking which alerts us to a disconnection from self. When we do the worthwhile work and reclaim our worth, our negative thinking patterns dissolve away, having faithfully served their purpose of making us more conscious human beings.

I remember back to a time when I was mired in negative thinking. I was sitting on my lawnmower, cutting the grass when I had my ‘aha’ moment. All the weeds that I had cut the week before had grown back, bigger and stronger. Of course, the reason for their recurrence was that I hadn’t got to the root of them. Likewise, when we mow over our negative thinking with a cognitive lawnmower, without getting to the root of our pain, then one thing is for certain, our negative thoughts will keep coming back until we examine them under the lens of conscious awareness. Hence, the wisdom of negative thinking.

Do you have negative thought patterns? Can you accept them as wise harbingers from your deeper self? Questions are a great way to get you on the quest. Thank you for reading Friday’s Food 4 Thought,

With respect,


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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.


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