Focus on the Positive

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The other day, I got a call from a friend. She asked me how my summer was, to which I replied, we had so much fun with the family together, but it was tiring with so many late nights, drinking, eating, dock time in the sun, and hanging out.

Summer Experience

Immediately, my friend reacted. You had so much fun, but….why the but? I got a bit defensive, but I fully understood her question and her reaction. She waited for my answer, which was a stumbling explanation of something I needed to face within me. I wanted to evade the question, but my friend did not want to let go. 

My friend and I talked about the way our minds work. The judgments we often heard had largely conditioned us and had allowed this conditioning to influence our thinking. We had not freed ourselves from it. We had been unaware of such a way of thinking that we went through life doing exactly that.

This conversation with my friend triggered a reckoning on my part of how my mind worked. Why couldn’t I savour the positive experiences? Why was my mind prone to thinking about the negative?

There were so many positive events that happened in my life which I hadn’t turned into positive experiences. I had experienced these positively but had judged it afterward, and they had become so-so with the negative judgments weighing upon them. When asked about it, that negative judgment was the first thing that came up.

Why was this so? 

Because we never savoured our positive experiences for fear that it would make us less good, it never stayed with us as much as the negative judgments did. We never revisited these joyous moments, so what stayed with us were only the negative comments we made about the experience. Thus, we grew up full of negative judgments.

Even around us, we listen to the news, and we often hear these comments, “too little, too late.”

There is so much focus on the negative as if these negative sell more than the positive. The focus is mainly on the negative.

It’s time we turn this around. My friend and I discussed what we could do about this propensity for negative thoughts. These are some of the things we decided to do.

First, understand better how the brain functions and rewire it for happiness. There are many articles and videos on the brain as people start understanding how the brain works. This development is a significant plus to our collective consciousness.

Second, clean up little by little the traces of negative thoughts we have accumulated. These traces of negativity require a thorough cleaning but not to worry. Face them as they come. I have many of these, and when they manifest themselves, I revisit them and savor the positive experiences sans the negative judgments. Then, I say goodbye to them and never again revisit them. I leave them to the past where they belong.

Third, savor positive experiences. Many of our experiences are fun. However, we remember the negative judgments people around us made or our negative judgments of aspects of that experience because of how our minds worked.

Fourth, build gratitude. Every moment you think about your life, think of the many things you are happy about it. We will always find many things. As we practice doing this every day, gratitude becomes the pervading feeling in our lives.

Fifth, surround ourselves with positive influences and tune out the negative. Some people make you feel happy. Be with them and limit your interaction with people who tend to be negative in their judgments. Enjoy life. There is so much positive around us when we focus on them.

Finally, forgive. Let go of the hurts that we have harbored for years. They have affected us adversely for so long, and that’s enough. We now leave them where they belong. We are new beings now, and these things no longer have any influence on us.

I was glad that my friend brought this negativity to my awareness when telling her about my summer experience. I then revisited my summer experience and savoured the fun we had as a family, the sharing be it of books, music, or movies we’ve watched recently.

I focused on the positive and the fun and enjoyment we’ve had. I realized how rich and satisfying the experience was and appreciated every moment of it.