The Difference Is What We See And How We Interpret It
“Every adversity, every failure and every heartache carries with it the seed of an equivalent or a greater benefit.”– Napoleon Hill
When was the last time you experienced a negative situation? Recall the event as best you can and think about how you responded. Did you get caught up in negativity or were you composed? Depending on the event, can you see how the worry and anxiety draws you into negativity? It’s natural to respond negatively when a condition spirals out of control, particularly when we least expect it. A tirade of negative thoughts emerge and we find ourselves unable to break free from it. I want to reassure you this is normal because of the mind’s inherent negativity bias. It is an evolutionary mechanism that has helped mankind evolve over thousands of centuries. However, it becomes a hazard when it works against us.
Each of us has experienced a negative situation at some time. Regrettably, some people experience them more than others and get caught up in victimhood thinking. Perception is everything because what you look for, you will find. The power of free will means we can perceive something as bad in a good situation and complain about it. Someone else will find the good in a negative situation and use it to their advantage. What’s important is how we interpret what we see. For example, I was reading through my book reviews on Amazon recently and noticed someone had left me a one star review on my book, Awaken Your Authentic Self. If you buy books on Amazon, you will be familiar with a feature called Look Inside. This allows the user to preview the contents of the book before they buy it. The reviewer mistakenly attributed this feature which was not working as something I had a part in.
To be clear, this is Amazon’s domain since they create, manage and host their own website. As an author, my publisher lists the book on Amazon and I am divested of any involvement in the sale or management of its content. I felt a wave of negative emotions come over me when I read the review, since there was little I could do to resolve it. The point I’m trying to make is, sometimes things happen that are out of our control and while we may be innocent, we still have a choice in how we respond. Getting caught up in negativity is of little use because it won’t change the outcome. Even if I got upset, I am allowing external conditions to dictate my happiness.
Life Is Neither Fair Nor Unfair
“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”—Maya Angelou
Can you identify with this narrative in your own life? Has something similar happened where you were innocent and though you tried to rectify the situation, it was of little help? This is when we may succumb to negativity because we have been wronged against. However, we have a choice and it may not be the easiest one to make, but it is the better choice for our peace of mind. Anger and negativity reinforces a despairing mindset because we feel transgression is perpetrated intentionally. Listen, bad things happen to good people sometimes. Equally, people believe life is unfair. Life is neither fair nor unfair; it beats on regardless of how much you try to change its nature. I don’t mean to say we are insignificant in the scheme of things. Rather, things are bound to happen, and it is not the event itself that fuels our suffering but in choosing our response that dictates whether we remain at peace or get caught up in the storm. Are you comfortable with this idea that perceiving life as fair or unfair does little to help you through difficult times? The questions we ought to ask ourselves is: What am I called to know about this situation? How can I evolve from what is taking place?
Therefore, you win every time you remain positive in a negative situation because life will pull us into despair given the chance. Negativity is only a stone’s throw away. Everyone will tell you how difficult life can be but rarely do we hear stories of life being filled with joy and happiness. Even comments on social media nowadays have become an outlet for moral outrage and social injustice. But this is not helping anyone, other than pulling us into hopelessness because we are drawn into this fictitious sense of injustice in the world. Assuredly, what you read enough of is bound to create your reality and for some, social media is their only platform for information. I knew of a client whose only information outlet was Facebook, so all her news and information was catered to her area of interest. She didn’t read books but preferred Facebook as her source of knowledge, regrettably most of it was negative. With this in mind, I’d like you to think about the earlier example of a recent negative event in your life. Ask yourself the questions I put to you in the second last paragraph and journal what comes up for you. It is by remaining positive in a negative situation we win the day and overcome the negativity of the world. What will you choose?