Thursday, October 23, 2014

My Negativity

Is like the breaking of wind
Only, from the mouth

Original haiku

I feel it is important to, first, establish that I am quite imperfect.  It isn’t that I think I’ve left any impression otherwise, but I want to establish the fact all the same.  In this case, my imperfect nature expresses itself in a multitude of ways.  The way it’s been expressing itself lately is through negativity – negativity of the spirit, the mind, and inevitably the mouth.  Put plainly, I’ve been complaining lately…a lot. 
By nature I am a positive and happy person, but over the last few months, in one particular area of my life, things have not gone well.  I’ve suffered disappointments, setbacks, and humiliations.  And I haven’t handled it well.  I’ve seen my suffering as extraordinary circumstances that warrant complaints, criticism, and gossip.  After all, if you knew what I’ve suffered, you would realize that I am completely justified in my errant behavior.  Right?
Okay, maybe not. 
What I wish now, at this moment, is that as soon as things started going badly, I would have immediately chosen a different response.  I wish I had seen my troubles as a normal part of life, perhaps even lessons, or ways to make me a better man.  Instead, I allowed my thoughts to direct my life.  I gave circumstances control, thus making them, by default, negative.   Then I began complaining about the negativity that I myself allowed to enter and to control my life.
Interestingly enough, I want to complain now.  I want to give into negativity and fear.  In fact, this blog that I’m writing now, I started a couple of days ago, along with a few others.  I was going to start a new one tonight, but I felt like I had to go back and look at the other blogs, including this one, and finish one.  So instead of writing negatively, I’m going to write about negativity.
The truth is that most of us choose our own situations.  We like to say that we have no choice.  That is what I said for many years.  I was bound by society, or lack of money, or rules, or other people.  That’s what I said anyway.  But the truth is I bound myself, or let myself be bound.  Then I complained about it.  Does this mean that all troubles that come our way are our fault?  Of course not.  But we do get to choose our responses.
This is easier said than done.  We may need to deal with sadness or anger or regret – but we don’t have to stay with those feelings indefinitely.  In Flourish, John Smith recommends exactly that – to deal with our negative sides, our fears, depressions, or anxieties.  To deal with something doesn’t mean to ignore it.  Nor does it mean to allow it to take over.  To deal with something, especially negative emotions, is to acknowledge them, and then to decide the most appropriate response. 
With regard to my own negativity, it wasn’t until I acknowledged how unhappy I really was AND began responding differently, that I could start being truly productive again.  In addition, I found the things I had been resisting, were actually quite beneficial, for me and for those around me.   All my negativity did was delay some good things.  Maybe that’s what fear and negativity and resentment and hatred do.  They delay the good things in life.
At this point then, all I want to do is be happy.  I don’t want to be angry, afraid, or negative.  I want to be grateful for all that God and my Muse have given me, especially in the last two years.  I am extremely grateful for all the good in my life.
As for the bad?   Maybe, just maybe, there aren’t as many bad things as we think.  Maybe there are just a whole lot of transitions and opportunities… to Get Started and to Keep Going.