I was awake in the wee hours with some thoughts and had to immediately reach and turn on my iPhone so I could jot the ideas down on my ‘notes’ – so I wouldn’t forget them by morning! It was annoying – but sometimes it is better to get rid of them by writing them down so they won’t be all bottled up inside my head preventing me going back to sleep – or worse yet – be all tangled up in my dreams.
These thoughts were on negative and positive self talk.
It is said that for every negative thing said to you – it takes at least FIVE positive things said to counteract the effect of that ONE negative. What’s up with that? But I know it’s true. Ever had someone say someone negative to you? You can’t get that stupid, thoughtless comment out of your head – no matter how many other people tell you how it’s not true and try to give you a positive instead. Been there. Done that. Still doing it.
Because I teach piano and voice lessons – I have an interesting ‘take’ – if you will – on negative and positive reinforcement in students. Here are some of the things I have learned in all my years of teaching.
1) It takes much more energy to re-learn something – so we work extra hard to learn something correctly the first time.
2) When the negative or incorrect passage of music has been learned – the brain has a ‘default’ to go back and play it wrong – instead of grabbing the correct way – even though you have played it a thousand times. Negative is always what is grabbed and it has much stronger of a pull.
3) Positive comments and affirmation make a student bloom and grow – but the negative is always there and difficult to get out of their heads.
4) You don’t have to teach children to do things the wrong way. It comes naturally. It takes effort to do things the right way.
5) With much practice you can overcome the negative and incorrect way of doing things. But only then.
In much the same way – you and I do not have to be taught to be negative – it is called the sin nature. We have to work hard to overcome bad thought patterns and teach ourselves through much practice to remain positive.
Because most of us (especially women) have memories like an elephant – it can become hard to break out of the past – especially if it had negative consequences for us. Here’s what can sometimes happen to me.
1) I make a new friend in person or online. Because of a past experience with another friend – I hold you at arm’s length and have trouble trusting you. The friendship continues and lives are shared. There is laughter and continued conversation as is normal between friends. The only difference is this: I have been hurt. By someone who knew me. I will say things to myself like this, ‘Oh no – you are messaging me – you are being very friendly – it seems innocent enough – but this is how another friendship started and tragically ended. Should I trust you? What if you betray me? What if things I say things in confidence to you – and you reveal them to someone else – never meant for anyone else to hear? Can I really trust you? I trusted before – revealed parts of myself reserved for very few. This was someone I loved and who I thought loved me – will I be burned again? – should I trust? – or shouldn’t I? – how much of me should I reveal? – Can I be truly authentic? How much of me should I share? How much of me is really safe – OH NO – It’s happening again – will I be crushed and hurt AGAIN? I don’t think I could ever go through that again. EVER!!!” And the negative experience wins again. And I close myself off to what could be a wonderful new relationship – all because that stupid person in my past was a jerk and didn’t know how to treat me – didn’t know how to hold on to a confidence – didn’t respect me enough and ruined trust in my life for other much more deserving people. Is it right to think that everyone is like this? Of course not! And they aren’t.
2) Someone close to me says or writes something negative about me. (Writing it is much worse by the way – either by email or comment) I am crushed. And because it is someone close in – it hurts me more. Those not close to me cannot hurt me like this. My self talk becomes like this, “Well I’m just not going to talk to them anymore – I will assign an ‘outer-orbit’ for them to be in – and not let them in too close – yes – that will have to work – there’s NO WAY I’m ever going to allow them to hurt me again” And I feel justified in doing this. After all – I have rights, right? Again – I have given in to my emotions and the negative wins again. Is everyone critical and negative? Of course not. But in my mind and heart I pull away – fearful that they are.
I have trust issues – I will admit it. I also have a willing heart that wants to trust. That’s the negative and positive pull in my life. The letting go of the bad and reaching for the good. And most of all – learning the difference. Being wise about who I let in to my world. Learning to share things with people I can trust – those that I am sure love me and have my back and won’t get all WEIRD when things don’t go as planned. And life goes sideways. In the crisis periods of my life when I really need that good friend to be protective. We all need people we can be our true selves with – and confide the deepest part of our heart.
The bottom line is that we should be able to trust. And we should be able to let go of the negative people and comments – but it is a daily struggle to know the difference and chose wisely. And with God’s help and guidance – it will get easier.
Here is my motto:
I will NOT let others rule me with the negative. I will NOT allow myself to be swallowed by others who are negative. I WILL live a positive, healthy life. I WILL strive to see the best in others and not cower behind the memory of hurt from the past. I WILL NOT allow one person to destroy my joy. I WILL welcome new relationships with open arms. Yes – I will.
Have you let go of your negative today – and embraced your positive?