A few years ago, I would have scoffed at the idea that there could be any value in negativity. I have changed my mind. I have had a change of heart too. As a child I was taught not to waste a single thing. My grandmother lived through two world wars and the Great Depression. My father was taught to recycle and reuse everything and so naturally, this approach to life was passed on to me. Recently, I noticed that this attitude has overflowed into the way I manage my spirit. I began to understand that all energy can be put to good use. No energy is wasted.
We know that positive thoughts and feelings can motive and inspire action, but after some reflection, I began to realise it’s the impulse behind the positivity that is the driving force. It was lightning bolt moment #1. This impulse can push thoughts and feelings in a positive direction, but it can also push thoughts and feelings in a negative direction. Energy appears to be a neutral force that can be sent on positive missions or negative missions. I am in charge of these missions. This was lightning bolt #2 for me.
I began to experiment with myself. I wanted to squeeze the juice out of the whole of my life. I determined that I would not be satisfied making the most out the positives in life. I wanted to make the most out of the negatives too. I decided to stop throwing out the negatives, because after all, I was taught that there is treasure to be found in the trash. While my spiritual front garden was charming and sweet within it’s white picket fence, I knew my spiritual backyard needed a major overhaul. I was going to recycle and reuse the negatives in my life too. I was going to transform my life one negative at a time. Rather than fear it, I began to welcome negativity.
“Bring it on,” I said, “because I am going to clean up my spiritual environment.”
I wanted to reduce the habit of making negative judgments, criticising myself and others, and feeling overly sorry for myself. I decided that each time I was tempted to do these things I would use them as keys to open the door on something positive about me or others. I used judgment, criticism and self-pity as triggers to remind me to look for something in the situation to appreciate; to be compassionate or grateful. I decided to look for the silver lining in each cloud, the gold in the lead, the blessing in disguise. I did not stop digging until I found it. I looked for the opposite quality and replaced the negative with a positive. This is how I did it:
I used a dictionary and a thesaurus to help me. I replaced criticism with appreciation. I replaced judgement with gratitude. I replaced self-pity with compassion.
Self-inflicted or not, when I am the butt of negative judgments, pity or criticism, then I apply the same process too. This approach pushes me to find the benefits. They are the payoff. When I am prepared to ask myself the hard questions: What do I get out of being judged harshly, pitied or criticised? What strength does it force me to develop? When I name it, then I find the lesson.
Life is full of hidden benefits when I am prepared to search for them.