Day: June 17, 2014

negativity, a self-fulfilling prophecy


We can make ourselves and our mood miserable in any given moment by focusing on what’s wrong with a situation or a person. If we could focus on the right thing we’d feel so much better.

But you say, “Right, but what if there isn’t anything good?” That’s rarely the case. In almost every situation there is plenty of both. The truth is we choose to focus on what’s wrong.

But that doesn’t do any good. What does it do other than reinforce our negativity? But it seems it’s necessary for some people. It’s almost as if they want to be miserable because it supports their general worldview that life is awful and then you die.

Why do we do that? Why would anyone do that?

Yet they do.

We do.

Even though my world view is quite positive, I, too,  have to pay close attention to myself as I have this same tendency. Especially when I’m tired. Try to see the full spectrum and nuances of the next situation or person that you encounter who triggers a negative response in you. Try to find some good in the situation, or in the person and then focus on that.  Almost nothing or anyone is all bad or all good.

If you’ve read my blog for very long, you know that I take issue with what I call “Pollyanna positivism”. I never urge my readers to ignore the reality of a situation. But there is a difference between ignoring reality and focusing on the positive. I would even suggest that it is by focusing on the good that we can face the reality. The good doesn’t seem to cloud our views as much as negativity does.

Anyway, I guess I chose to write this today because I’m having to do this myself now. And I find that it is working.

God bless and I hope  you have a good day.

Does everything happen for a reason?

Does everything happen for a reason? things happen for a reason

No, I don’t think so. (My daughter and I have had this conversation often. Neither one of us buy into it.)

I think it’s what we tell ourselves when we can’t make sense of a situation. It’s what we say to console ourselves when there isn’t any reason.

I think Christians are particularly vulnerable to this falsehood. We take verses like “everything turns out good for those who love the Lord” to imply that good will always come from bad. While it’s not jargon, it is quoted in very much the same way. (An article by Randy Alcorn does a great job explaining this verse. )

As you all know, I hate popular jargon because while it usually does have a grain of truth, it’s not the whole loaf of bread! There is always danger in philosophies that contain some truth but not all the truth.

I personally think we need to be careful using certain phrases or Bible verses as consolation for people. It doesn’t help. Having been a hospital chaplain, let me reassure you that spouting jargon or taking Bible verses out of context, does no good.

What does help is a listening and empathetic ear, not a mouth running amuck.

I guess I’m writing about this because I hear people spouting jargon all the time and never consider whether they even believe what they’re saying. It’s just easier than taking time to think before speaking.

Can I just suggest we all think a little more before we spout half-truths?

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