How I Got Out of a Negative Mindset to Become a More Positive Person
Just like a lot of people, I tend to be a pretty cynical person, and I had no interest in learning how to become a more positive person at all. The best comedians make jokes about the little things that go wrong in life and that seem funnier in retrospect. I always felt that being cynical was more genuine and made me more interesting. I’d have to say I identified with the “nihilists” more than the “idealists” when it came to their philosophy.
When I was a child, there was a lot of negative energy in our home. I had to deal with negative parents who used discouraging self-talk to us all the time: phrases like “just another day down the rat hole,” “everybody’s out to get you.” Ours was the opposite of the “Home on the Range” song, because we heard all kinds of discouraging words on a daily basis! Of course I fit right in, since I was a quiet and introspective child who preferred reading and taking solitary walks in the woods. I remember some of my favorite books were tragedies: “Forever Amber” and “Wuthering Heights.” Even the Grimm’s Fairy Tale stories I loved were frightening and did not end well (unlike the happy endings in the Disney movies!).
Scarcity vs Abundance Mentality
I grew up in a feast or famine existence when it came to thinking about money. Most days, my father was doing well and things were fine—we took vacations and had new cars; other times, we had to scrape by or Dad was out exploring wild speculations to strike it rich. I never realized that money is NOT scarce and NOT a rare commodity that only the “power brokers” could get a hold of. I mistakenly believed that there was only so much to go around, and you had to be “lucky” or well-connected to become well-off.
I never realized that money is NOT scarce and NOT a rare commodity. . .I mistakenly believed that there was only so much to go around
From habit and example, I retained this scarcity mindset for the majority of my life.
At various stages in my life, I felt that:
If I'm not "good enough," everything I value can be taken from me in an instant,
There are not enough good men to go around so I had to settle,
I need to find a good job and stick with it in order to be a "responsible" person,
I am a bad person if I want to spend money on myself,
Starting my own business and becoming an "entrepreneur" is a big gamble.
Can you relate? The most useful lessons that I have learned about money, love, and abundance are those that I wish I had been ready to receive much earlier in life. But there is a right time for everything.
How to See the World a New Way
Ways to Stop Negative Thinking Patterns
To be fair, my parents did read a good amount of literature about ways to stop their negative thinking. I remember we had the book, “The Power of Positive Thinking” by Norman Vincent Peale, about how positive thinking changes your life for the better, and “Think and Grow Rich,” by Napoleon Hill, and books by Dale Carnegie, such as “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” I truly believe that my parents did read these books and had every intention of putting them into practice but the problem, I believe, was that they never learned to reprogram the self-defeating words they used or overcame the early conditioning that they themselves had learned.
My parents didn’t know how to reprogram or overcome their early conditioning; as a result, neither did I
Although it is a good plan to read and inform oneself about positive thinking and attitude change, I don’t believe that my father and mother really knew how to move beyond this point. They didn’t know how to get rid of negative energy in the home because of how they were raised to think. After my experiences over the last few years, such as a divorce and subsequent relationship breakup, not to mention financial troubles, I was finally at a point where something had to change.
Related Reading on Amazon:
Achieve Anything In Just One Year: Be Inspired Daily to Live Your Dreams and Accomplish Your GoalsGet Out of Your Own Way: Overcoming Self-Defeating BehaviorYour Erroneous Zones: Escaping the Trap of Negative Thinking and Taking Control of Your Life
Learning to Trust: Belief in a Higher Power
For one thing, I had to learn to trust that God, the Universe, The Force, or whatever you would like to call it is benevolent and not something to fear. In my religious upbringing, I saw God as an angry father figure who couldn’t wait to punish me if I stepped out of line. Over time, I realized that this was not the case. It was like learning to trust again after a relationship. Though tragedy and pain do exist in the world, I do not believe that is a result of people being “bad” or evil, but are random events that can happen to the good and saintly just as much as to anyone else.
Going one step further, it seems to me that “saints,” as we refer to them, are ordinary people who do encounter difficult events or circumstances but have decided to approach them with a different outlook, using pain or tragedy in their lives and finding purpose in it. Rather than allowing themselves to be a victim of events, these extraordinary people learn from their experience and then reach out to help and guide others.
Seeing Failures as Opportunities
Taking a Leap of Faith
My first challenge was believing that I could be single, self-supporting, and independent and I would not end up out in the street, homeless. That was the biggest fear I had to confront when moving out of my home after 30 years and into an apartment by myself. I’m happy to say that, in spite of having not such good credit, I got a nice apartment in the city where I wanted to live, and even though my job was eliminated six months after moving into my new place, I got another job in the same department that paid nearly as much.
I’d like to add that, in retrospect, whenever I have lost a job or found a work situation intolerable, there has ALWAYS been something better waiting for me. Having had that experience has shown me that I am always provided for, which brings me to the next point.
Developing an Attitude of Gratitude
Being Content with What You Have
Nothing is more important for a healthy outlook than cultivating a thankful attitude. Focusing on good things as they happen helps to bring those to the forefront of your consciousness. It’s easy to bitch and moan about little setbacks or annoyances, and I often have to consciously pull myself back to the present moment and notice things that are good and beautiful. One way to do that is to learn to be present in the moment.
What it Means to Be “In the Moment”
This is a tough one for me, but I am learning. While I never live in the past or get too far ahead thinking of the future, one challenge for me is being just a few steps of the present moment in my head. This creates a sense of anxiety for me, and I’ll find myself visualizing scenarios in my head of “if I do or say this or that, how will that person react?” It took me some time to unlearn this behavior and what helps me is being present in my body. What does that mean exactly? I will try and explain how it was for me.
We inhabit, live, and breathe right now, this instant. Savor it!
Being an introspective person, I spend a LOT of time in my head. That means I often find myself daydreaming about things I’d like to do someday or about somebody I was interested in and what kind of conversation I imagined us having, picturing the whole imaginary conversation in my head. Only over time did I realize that I was wasting my life, because LIFE EXISTS IN THE PRESENT MOMENT, and not anywhere in the past or even a few seconds into the future. We inhabit, live, and breathe right now, this instant. Savor it!
Using The Five Senses: Learning to “Just Be”
My method for learning to get out of my head and living in the present moment is pretty simple: I pay attention. For example, when going on a nature walk or anyplace I happened to be, I would practice using all of my senses to bring myself out of a daydream or when I realize I’m expending energy on worrying about nothing in particular.
(1) Listen. I stop and try to identify sounds around me–even in a seemingly quiet environment, I hear the whistling of wind through branches, the distinct tweets and whistles of birds, the rushing and gurgling of a stream over rocks.
(2) See. Other than the obvious, such as whether it’s sunny or cloudy outside, I take the time to notice the exact color of the sky, the motion of a flock of birds flying in the distance, or an unusual pattern of shadows on the trail.
Learning to get out of your head and living in the present moment is pretty simple: Pay attention
(3) Smell.This one is a little tougher to conjure up, but when walking in a redwood grove or near the seashore, it’s simple to stop to bask in the experience of scent. Try to distinguish one smell out of many and put a name to it.
(4) Taste. Being a foodie, I love to eat but now I consciously try to slow down and taste individual flavors in the food. It’s important to chew your food slowly and enjoy every bite: try and imagine how your taste buds are experiencing each flavor.
(5) Touch. This sense is often overlooked when focusing on the present moment. Sometimes, it helps to just STOP and hold onto the nearest object or anything you are already holding in your hand, and feel the texture, the temperature against your skin, and the sheer weight of an object in your hand. Sometimes, it helps to be aware of how the soles of your feet feel—pressing against the earth—helping you feel “grounded.”
How to Respect Money
Lessons from a Financial Guru
A few years ago, I found some of the best books on financial success I’d ever read. Several of Suze Orman’s books were on sale, and so I bought two of them. One thing I learned from Suze Orman’s book is that money has “energy,” and somehow responds to how well we “respect” that energy. One of the first things I did upon reading Ms. Orman’s books was to find all the money that was laying around, unused. I cashed in a few old silver dollars I had been hoarding and started putting unused change, bills, or uncashed refund checks into action! No longer did I let anything stagnate, I made the promise to pay bills when due and open all those “class action suit” letters to see whether I qualified.
Now, this book doesn’t say you need to be a penny-pincher but that every person can release the logjam of financial energy that most of us have by paying attention to where you have been neglectful of your money. In that way, you learn to treat even small amounts of money with respect.
This is such a valuable lesson that I recommend these books to anyone who needs to reprogram their ideas about money.
Related Reading on Amazon
The 9 Steps to Financial Freedom: Practical and Spiritual Steps So You Can Stop WorryingWomen & Money: Owning the Power to Control Your DestinyThe Laws of Money, The Lessons of Life: Keep What You Have and Create What You Deserve
Confronting Your Fears and Beliefs
Reprogramming A Subconscious Mindset
Confront fears and negative beliefs by naming them
The best way to reprogram your subconscious mind is to confront fears and negative beliefs by naming them. Some common fears about money (as well as love, friendship, or happiness) that I have encountered are:
(1) There is not enough to go around. This is another example of scarcity mindset, meaning a “zero sum game.” Zero sum means that if somebody has more, another person will have to go without. This is a very common way of thinking, and as a result, many people don’t believe that money actually grows and expands when it’s being put to use—but it does.
(2) People won’t like me if I’m successful (or am happy in my relationship, or have a nice house or car). I don’t want to draw attention to myself or want people to think I’m trying to act “better” than them, so I’d rather stay in my present situation, rather than attract their envy.
(3) I don’t deserve it. Often, we think that we’ve haven’t earned success, money, or happiness because of what we’ve been told about ourselves, or because we have made mistakes or done things we’re not proud of in the past. If you think you are the only one who has regrets about what they’ve done, you are very mistaken. We are fallible human beings, and need to learn to forgive ourselves first!
(4) It’s who you know, not what you know. That is a self-limiting belief and just doesn’t have to be true. Of course, it’s important to learn from those who are wise teachers but learning to trust your own voice is just as valuable.
And there are many, many more!
I admit that the first 3 were BIG obstacles to me, because I’m not a showy or ostentatious person and didn’t want to “show up” my friends by acting better than them. Also, I didn’t think I had the ability to handle much money very well so I had a fear of getting too successful. These are common misconceptions. But there is actually way to reprogram the subsconscious mind by getting rid of these limiting beliefs.
What is EFT (Tapping)?
Emotional Freedom Technique, or EFT, is also known as tapping. It sounds weird, but EFT is a proven method to bring to the conscious mind fears and issues you have with success and money. Naming these aloud while “tapping” with your fingers at various energy points of the body is one way of doing this. Once these fears are brought to light by naming, the next step in the process is to accept and affirm oneself in spite of the fears. The final step is to reprogram, or to substitute new beliefs, in the place of the old subconscious limiting beliefs.
While I am no expert in EFT, HBR, or “tapping,” I would like to acknowledge the help that this method has been for me in unlearning my old ways of thinking about success and money. I directly credit EFT for helping me take the leap to begin writing on a regular basis and helping me to become a more positive person.
You can easily find more information about reprogramming limiting beliefs. EFT Tapping is actually quite easy to learn, so I’ve provided link to a few additional resources below.
Learn More About EFT Tapping
The Tapping Solution: A Revolutionary System for Stress-Free LivingTapping: Learn EFT in 5 Min – The Effective Tapping SolutionDe-Stress, Re-Energize and Overcome Emotional Problems Using Emotional Freedom Technique