Now, that seems rude, doesn’t it. I mean, if you’re having a run of bad luck, the last thing you want to hear is that you caused it. I, for one, want sympathy at that point, not a kick in the butt. Even though I now know what I need is the latter . . .
Many, many years ago, I had a good friend tell me, “If you didn’t have bad luck, you’d have no luck at all.”
And, she was pretty much right. Sometimes you just feel like you’re in a never-ending battle.
To be clear, this was a time in my life where lots was going wrong. Sickness, dying, death of those near and dear to me. Sometimes life truly does dump a sack of coal at your door.
But that’s not all that was going wrong.
And it seemed that stuff just kept going wrong, as if I’d fallen into some quicksand and no matter how I worked to get free, kept being sucked back in.
Let me take a wild guess—you’ve been there too.
Annoying, isn’t it. And it left me asking: So what’s the problem? Me, or life?
And once I ask those sorts of questions, well, the universe tends to respond.
My negative thoughts can wind up in a never-ending downward spiral. And what I learned over this last decade, is that when I let them, more crap seems to come my way. Okay, does come my way.
Because when I get caught up in the negative, the energy around me changes. Which for me translates into making more poor decisions, and missing seeing the actions that can propel me out of the ditch.
In a nutshell, we all know the power of positive thinking. So many studies have been done on this, and the Mayo Clinic reports: Increased life span, lowered depression, lower distress, improved immune function, reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease, and many more.
So, if we know this to be scientifically true, why on God’s green earth do I let myself get caught up in the negative?
And especially, when I now have a lot of tools to keep me from doing so. I mean, isn’t that just nuts?
Let’s face it—even with all the knowledge and skills we have, we can still sometimes get lost in those negative thoughts.
Oddly enough, I had this happen this spring. Horrors! And, I kinda eased into it.
I’ve been editing books for 25 years now. And in all that time, I’ve had hardly a client one who was unhappy. In the final analysis, none of them were.
But in early spring, I edited a nonfiction book that was a 50K rant on how life had treated this young man unfairly. And when I told him that (along with specific ways to turn it into a viable book), he was pissed. Really pissed.
And I got caught up in the drama. I know, I know, I should be far past that. But I focused an undue amount of time on it, spewing out into the universe my own negativity, along with his.
You know what happened? The same thing occurred again. Only this time, worse, at least for me, as the next client refused to pay his balance (which was significant). He doesn’t get the edited book and critique back without it, but I’m out the time and money.
And then, it happened twice more, in varying ways.
Okay, now, this got my attention. Again, before we go any further, in 25 years, this has never happened.
So what’s it all mean?
In my case, anyway, I truly did create my own reality by focusing on a perceived problem, rather than on the solution.
And the first thing I had to do was to sit myself down, and make a list of what I wanted to see happen in each case.
Now, I know I’m not powerful enough to change what someone else is going to do. But what I do know is that when I focus on solutions, instead of problems, things tend to work out.
Fairly quickly, most of these did. Almost immediately, actually.
So when I listed the possible solutions, focused on them, carried out any action steps, and kept my eyes on the prize—things working out—they did.
Funny how that happens.
Spiritual teachers have been espousing this for millennia. Psychologists have begun doing so over the last few decades. Scientists are now measuring the proof.
When all these folks agree, and I myself have anecdotal evidence, how goofy is it of me to fall back into the hole of negative thoughts?
What I realize of course after all that is, well, I’m human. So, no sense in beating myself up for falling off the positivity wagon. Lord knows, I get punished enough by doing so that I don’t need any self-flagellation!
But now, I’m back on that wagon. Moving forward again, with less stress, and much better well-being.
Whew! What could be better?
How do you stay positive in light of negative events?
Award-winning writer and editor Susan Mary Malone is the author of the novels, "I Just Came Here to Dance" and "By the Book," as well as four co-authored nonfiction books, including "What’s Wrong with My Family?" and many published short stories. Forty-plus Malone-edited books have now sold to traditional publishers.