Turning Negative into Positive: a Lesson on Maintaining a Positive Outlook

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I wake up in the morning and it looks like a nice day. I proceed with my routine, but suddenly notice that bad thoughts are germinating in my head and the waves of agitation sway over me. I know: I have to stop right away.

I read thousands books and articles on the importance of positive outlook, on fostering attitude of gratitude, on taming my monkey mind and such. As a result, I do know what to do, but my mind is not disciplined into doing it. For me, positive attitude is not a problem, but maintaining it IS. I too easily forget about staying positive. I have not developed a routine of snapping out of bad thoughts and getting back onto a positive track. Lack of awareness causes the bad thoughts to jump up and take over my mind, just like in Goya’s painting:

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How to keep our poisonous thoughts in check and develop and maintain a positive outlook? The answer is: consciousness and discipline.

Every time something bad is trying to cross our mind we need to register what’s going, intervene and arrest it. We consciously need to snap out from our sleep of reason, wake up and remind ourselves about anything good, constructive, and positive. It can start as a game or an experiment, but later become a habit.

At the same time, it is not a wise decision to conceal our problems deep inside and turn them into denial, resentment or neglect. We must attend to our inner conflicts with love and care. The important thing to understand is that our problems are most likely emotional. We suffer from injustice, violence, bad memories, and abuse. However, the root of most of our bad memories is our hurt ego. We are proud, confused, angry, and the sense of entitlement is aggravating our hardships even more.

That morning I recalled the awful treatment I got at a store where I went to return rancid hazelnuts that I bought a day before. I did not expect it would be that bad. The manager basically threw me out without reimbursement and threatened to call police if I insist. Yes, I could have proceeded trying to prove my righteousness, but my day was ruined and it was already taking too much time. The memory of this incident comes back from time to time and hunts me as a scary ghost. I keep asking myself: what lessons was I supposed to learn from it?

Sometimes painful and humiliating things do happen to us. It is OK to be upset and to ruminate over it, but not to the extent when our beautiful morning is ruined by the memory of it and definitely not to the extent when we think about it month or year later. However, there a lesson that I learned and, as in many cases, I was able to get good out of bad situation. My darkest hour before sunset tale is following.

I had to inspect my own self by answering a few questions. Why did I go there to get reimbursed for $5 value of rotten nuts? Was it my greed? Was I resentful from the start because it was a bad store and I was fed up? I felt entitled to a perfect service and at the same time I wanted to ignore the obvious issues the store had like the food flies in the dry fruit section, mice and roach infestation, smell of the roach spray, poor management, etc. I was wrong when I chose to shop at a small local store instead of going to a trustworthy place like, for example, Trader Joe’s with same prices and much better service. So, yes, I ignored multiple warning signs and continued shopping at the bad store.

The next stage in my analysis is called ‘The Situation Happened’. Nobody is immune to bad luck and getting into unfortunate circumstances, Tyche (τύχη in Greek) is unpredictable. I suppose that the manager was not a bad person at all. In my case, he simply performed an evil role like an actor playing an evil-doer. He was also trapped in the situation that somehow developed according to it’s inner logic. But why did I get in ‘such situation’? What in my behavior or thinking provoked it? I do tend to be negative, I collect moments of being victimized, I love wallowing in misery and I do cling to bad memories rather than to good ones. According to the Law of Attraction, I inflicted this situation onto myself by exactly all these habits.

I am also aware that I went to this store out of one stupid principle: if something is even slightly wrong, I would not let it go, but strive to rectify and perfect things. Perfectionism is not that great rule at all! We must learn to let go, to forget and forgive. Who said the world must be a perfect place? For me, it is the time to change some of my misleading and damaging principles.

One friend of mine once said something that gave me a new perspective. She said: God cares little about our deeds or achievements; the most important thing is our attitude. Indeed, ultimately it does not matter how much money we make or what our profession is, but the state of our mind and heart, our everyday attitude matters most. We can try to do good, but hard feelings in our heart send the opposite message. We can perform something noble and very important but our depression speaks about destruction and dissatisfaction. Alternatively, we can spend days in meditation and contemplation and, although we are not doing much, we are sending out messages of joy and appreciation for the life and the Universe.

The lesson I learned from that store adventure is that losing $5 is not that important. Good or bad services we get at stores are not that crucial either. What matters the most is the feelings that abide in our heart. To nobody we must give this privilege to ruin our inner peace and harmony. Let all bad things to unfold on the outside of our being, let hard-time-givers struggle with their issues, take their time and find ways to solve their problems. We are free and beautiful creatures and we know the secret: our inner core is safe. Every moment, in daylight and at night, we are constantly connected to the Source – the inextinguishable Source of Love, Abundance, Joy and Happiness.

It takes discipline to remind ourselves about this connection, to feel it inside and foster this sensation. It takes letting go of some of our strict rules and destructive principles that we have abided by for so long. Our everyday task is to remember this Secret and not give in to any temptations we may experience to believe otherwise. Let’s not call it Secret anymore, but Revelation. How a rude manager or money spent in vain can overshadow something, which is million times more important? How anything can disturb us if we know the truth? Being true to our Nature takes knowing the Source and self-discipline to remember and be constantly reminded about this most important revelation.

Lesson learned: stay connected to the Source, let go of mental blocks and obstacles such as principles and harmful beliefs. As a reminder about the lesson and the need to discipline my mind, I chose a necklace with faceted yellow agate to provide support and stability and shine every time I look in the mirror!

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