Choose Not to Entertain Negative Thoughts
One More Year of Choices
By Barbara Dahlgren
We live in a “put-down” society – one that is eager to point out our short comings. We are not thin enough, smart enough, or good enough – and probably never will be in the eyes of this world. This negative input gives us a flawed perspective of how we really are. The mind entertains these negative thoughts, plays tricks on us, and sabotages our happiness.
Negative thoughts can make us hide and retreat from life. Our lives become limited because we hesitate to build friendships, develop relationships, and try new adventures. We think people don’t like us. We think we are ugly. We think we aren’t good enough. We think we are unlovable.
What we think about ourselves can impact our lives. If we tell ourselves we have no friends long enough, we may end up friendless. If we tell ourselves we can’t do something, more than likely we won’t even try. Because “as a man thinks in his heart, so is he…” (Proverbs 23:7) People who feel they are fat and stupid will gladly soothe their sorrows with a super-sized burger meal while spending all their time watching reruns of Sponge Bob Square Pants.
And let’s face it – we are all prone to be influenced more by the negative than the positive. Ten positive comments can be quickly overshadowed by one negative. In fact, we will tend to forget the ten positive comments and obsess over the one negative. So we must work all the harder to maintain a positive frame of mind.
According to the Mayo Clinic, those who practice positive thinking decrease stress, improve overall health, and increase coping skills. I guess there is a reason people still read Norman Vincent Peale’s book The Power of Positive Thinking, even though it was written in 1952. It has sold over 20 million copies in 41 languages. I’ve had my copy for over forty years and still reread parts of it every now and then. Although a bit outdated, the overall principles still ring true. Positive thinking enhances our lives.
Consider this… Why does God tell us to bring every thought into captivity? (2 Corinthians 10:5) God knew our thought process could get us into big trouble. Negative thoughts breed negative outcomes. It takes a conscious effort on our part to keep thinking positive thoughts.
Paul gave sound advice in Philippians 4:4-8: rejoice always, be thankful, guard your mind, pray, don’t be afraid, and think about what is true, noble, lovely, good, virtuous, and praiseworthy.
Therefore, we need to fill our minds with thoughts of God and Christ, thoughts about good and pleasant things. We need to stop putting ourselves down. God doesn’t put us down and we shouldn’t put ourselves down either. We need to fill our minds with God’s words.
If these things are done often enough, our minds will just naturally go to the positive instead of the negative.
Suggestions for practicing this choice…
Start each day with a positive thought. Take a few breaths and focus on something you are thankful for. You’re alive, aren’t you????
Remember this: A positive outlook may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.
Force yourself to smile whether you want to or not. It does wonders for your mental outlook.
Each day concentrate on a specific, positive scripture. Put it on a 3×5 card and read it often during the day. Soon it will become of part of your thought pattern. Here are a few to get you started. I have just listed the concept; you can look up the scripture.
- Proverbs 3:5 – Trust in the Lord and lean not to thine own understanding.
- John 10:10 – God came so we could have an abundant life.
- Luke 18: 27 – Things that are impossible with men are possible with God.
- 2 Timothy 1:7 – God has not given us a spirit of fear.
- Psalm 46:1 – God is our refuge and strength.
- Philippians 3:13,14 -Forget the past and press forward.
- Isaiah 26:3 – Perfect peace comes from God.
- Philippians 4:4, 5 – Rejoice! Be thankful!
- Philippians 4:8 – Think on positive things!
End the day with a positive thought. There must be at least one thing that happened during the day you can be thankful for. You’re still alive, aren’t you????