Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will. Zig Ziglar
A woman with whom I once worked seemed to talk non-stop and loudly, interrupt incessantly, gossip about whomever wasn’t in the room, constantly complain, and live quite happily in martyrdom.
It seemed nothing and no one escaped her negative spin. She was good at it. She could twist the happiest moment of someone’s life into a horrendous mistake. She seemed to enjoy it too.
At first, my judgmental mind thought her behavior to be quite inappropriate. I simply didn’t approve of it. But after weeks of working with her, the thought of spending even one more moment in her presence sent me into, well, her world.
Her negativity was infectious. More and more, I found myself thinking about her negativity, talking with others about her negativity, and complaining about her constant negativity.
For a while, though, I listened to her whenever she followed me into the lunchroom or the into the office we shared at the time. I didn’t know what to say, or do, or even think. I was held captive.
I’d excuse myself from the one-sided chit-chat as soon as possible, wanting to someday be honest enough to kindly tell her that I choose not to listen to gossip. Instead, I chose avoidance. I avoided eye contact, and any and all contact. Whenever I saw her coming, I’d get going and make for a quick getaway. I worked hard at it, too.
And it was exhausting because whether I listened to her or not, or even managed to momentarily escape her altogether, I was still held captive by her negativity.
I interacted with her only a handful of times a month, but her negative presence lingered on in my life. And I didn’t like it. But what I didn’t like didn’t really matter—I wanted to look inside myself to come up with a way to escape, not just avoid, a way to just let go of the hold this negativity had on me.
And when I did look within, I saw that I was the one exaggerating the negative. I chose to keep negativity within me even when she wasn’t around. This negativity was mine. So, as with most unpleasant things in life, I decided to own up and step up, to take responsibility for my own negativity. Instead of blaming, avoiding, and resisting the truth, I would accept it. And, somehow, I would ease up on exaggerating the negative.
I welcomed the situation as it was, opening up to the possibilities for change within me and around her.
I knew all about the current emotional fitness trends telling us to surround ourselves with only happy, positive people and to avoid negative people—the us versus them strategy for better emotional health. I saw this as disconnecting, though. We all have times when we accentuate the positive and moments when we exaggerate the negative. We are all connected in this.
Instead of attempting to continue to disconnect, to avoid being with negativity, while just denying my own, I wanted to reconnect, with compassion and kindness toward both of us.
She and I shared in this negativity together. And once I made the connection, and saw our connection, a few simple, and maybe a little more mindful thoughts began to enter my mind, and my heart. This reconnection would be made possible through love.
And these simple little, love-induced thoughts spoke up something like this:
Patience can sit with negativity without becoming negative, rushing off to escape, or desiring to disconnect from those who choose negativity. Patience calms me.
And while I’m calm, I can change the way I see the situation. I can see the truth. Instead of focusing on what I don’t like, I can see positive solutions. I can deal with it.
I can try to see the situation from the other person’s perspective. Why might this woman choose or maybe need to speak with such negativity? I can be compassionate.
Why does what this woman chooses or needs to say cause me to feel irritated, angry, or resentful? I have allowed her words to push my negativity buttons. I can’t blame her.
She doesn’t even know my buttons exist. She’s only concerned with her own needs. I’ve never even told her how much her negativity bothers me. I see what truly is.
I see that we are both unhappy with our shared negativity. People who complain and gossip and sacrifice themselves for others aren’t happy. I can help to free us both.
I will only help. I will do no harm. I have compassion for us both. I will show kindness toward both of us. I will cultivate love for us, too. I choose to reconnect.
I will start with me and then share love with others. May I be well and happy. May our family be well and happy. May she be well and happy. I choose love.
And whenever I saw her, I greeted her with a kind smile. I sometimes listened to her stories, excusing myself whenever her words became unkind, much the same as I had done before. But I noticed the negativity no longer lingered within me. It disappeared as soon as I began choosing love again. I was freed. And I was happier. And compassion, kindness, and love had made me so.
My desire was not to speak my mind in an attempt to change hers, to change her apparent need in choosing negative words. I did hope she might free herself from negativity and liberate herself by choosing positivity instead. Our re connection was complete, quite unlimited, too, and it gave me hope that happiness could be ours, shared through our connection.
I continue to cultivate this loving connection, being compassionate and kind whenever people, myself included, choose to speak negative words, for we all do from time to time. We are positively connected in this negativity thing, and everything else. And compassion, kindness, and love happily connect us all.
“Joy in looking and comprehending is nature’s most beautiful gift.” ~Albert Einstein
A short while back I was walking to my apartment, I heard the voice of a child who was walking in the same direction with an adult across the street. With his enthusiastic, high-pitched voice he asked, “Remember we went on a plane? And it was really, really high in the sky?” Then just a few seconds later he asked, “Remember we saw a baseball game?” And then a few seconds after that, “Remember we had spaghetti?”
A part of me wanted to keep walking parallel from them, even when I arrived at my place. I wondered: What else might he remember? What else did he enjoy? And just how purely did he experience those things? Odds are, he could recall all kinds of little details that most adults wouldn’t even register. He may have remembered the long line at the airport, but he probably offset any annoyance with pure fascination over the engine outside his window. He may have felt disappointed if his team lost, but he probably savored his hot dog, regardless, and couldn’t wait to describe the taste. He probably got messy in that spaghetti, but thought that was absolutely awesome.
And somehow, in his childlike memory, eating that pasta was just as worthy of remembering as flying in a plane.
Kids have an amazing ability to recall all kinds of little joys, likely because they appreciated them in those moments in a way we often don’t as adults. It’s partly about mindfulness; it’s hard to reminisce about simple pleasures if you weren’t really immersed in them when you experienced them. But it’s also about how we internalize those events in the present. Do we look back with excitement and wonder, remembering everything that made those moments magical? Or do we look back with disapproval and judgment, focusing instead on everything we felt was lacking?
Maybe the key to joy is learning not just to create it, but also to recycle it—to bask in all the good that has been and realize how fortunate we are for having known it. In fostering this type of gratitude and awe, we increase our ability to recognize the joy that is right now.
Hey Passengers, just wanted to share this with you again to get the week off to a great start! Hope it helps this week…
“What I learned from the Wizard of OZ” KICK IT!
Ya know fellow passengers I find life’s lessons in the darn’dess of places, especially in movies and books. Movies like Shaw Shank Redemption, Forrest Gump, The Bucket List and even Dr. Suess books like “O The Places you will go!”. I love movies with symbolism that make ya think deep…When I die I hope you guys will be at the repass saying boy, he was a deep thinker! 😉
Today though, I’d like to share with you…”What ‘The Wizard of Oz’ Taught Me About Life…”.
When I was a kid, the Wizard of OZ came on once a year. As I reflect back I laugh at how we had to be on our best behavior as my Mother used that (whether or not we could stay up to watch the OZ’ster) as a bargaining chip for good behavior. Needless to say, beds were made, teeth were brushed and I put my flatulation skills in the closet for awhile.
Anyway, I digress. It’s hard to believe, but “The Wizard of Oz,” one of the most beloved movies of all time, celebrates its 75th birthday this year. Not only has the classic story of Dorothy and her funny friends entertained generations of moviegoers, it has also taught us some unforgettable lessons about life. Look what I learned from Dorthy and the gang .
Accept your friends for who they are
A true friend will help you on your life’s journey and get you through all the problems big and small that may arise. So accept your friends, quirks and all, and recognize when they need a little help too. Because you never know when you’ll need them around to rescue you from some flying monkeys.
Follow Your Own Yellow Brick Road
Although Glinda the Good Witch directs Dorothy to the yellow brick road, explaining that it will lead her to the one person who can get her back home to Kansas, let’s face it: Dorothy probably could have found the road on her own. It was right there in front of her. Discover your own path in life”what you want to be, where you want to go, how you want to live–and be sure to sing and skip throughout the journey.
Don’t hide your true self behind a screen
One of the most memorable scenes in the film is when we discover the Wizard is just a man. He has no magical powers. He doesn’t even have a booming voice. The lesson? Don’t try to be something you’re not, because the people who matter in this life will love you no matter what. Can a Brutha get an AMEN!?!
There’s no place like home
Although it should go without saying, home means more than just your house or apartment. It’s wherever the people you love and who love you”are found. You can have many different “homes,” and even if you haven’t visited in a while, you can always go back.
Look within for your power
We all remember the scene where Dorothy misses her balloon flight home, starts to cry, and is subsequently notified by Glinda that with those fancy ruby slippers, she had the power to return home the whole time; she just needed to discover it for herself. When in doubt, look within for the answer. You’re more powerful than you think.
Well, I hope I wet your appetite enough to hop back aboard tomorrow!
I’ve lived in Seven different states in my years here on earth. During those stops I’ve learned that home is much more than four walls and a familiar neighborhood. Home is the God who understands each of the unique desires, thoughts, hopes and dreams of our individual hearts. Nothing can separate us from His love. Not time zones or cultures or the things we wish we could change about ourselves.
Christ is the bridge.
He brings us back into the deep heart of God. No matter where we’re coming from. Out of emptiness or loss or disaster, Christ brings us back to His Father. The only real home we can always count on. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ. Philippians 3:20 NIV
So the tip for this Tuesday is – find your welcome and home in Him.