Your mind is such a powerful tool that needs taming at all times. If you don’t control the thoughts generated in it, it will start wandering on its own. Negative thoughts are generated automatically in your mind so as to protect you from danger; whether it is physical or emotional pain. Since the dawn of humanity, humans have depended on their brains to stay away from danger and to survive the cruel world; from vicious animals to a potential harmful encounter with ill-intentioned humans the brain helped us navigate the odds. Negative thoughts are simply our survival strategy.
Nanice Ellis stated in an article titled “Overcoming Negative Thinking” that negative thoughts “cause us to look for what is wrong so that we can protect ourselves against danger, but it is a very bad strategy because our thoughts actually create reality”. You can only imagine how powerful your brain is just by looking at the human race and all the civilizations built. Your brain is a double edged sword, whereas if you hardly use it and train it, unwanted thoughts will start infesting it. That’s why you have to keep track of your thought process by thinking positively. Training your brain to think positively takes time and effort from your side. Your mind is just like a garden, if you don’t tend to it, plant positive seeds and look after it, weeds will grow instead. To be able to become a better person with a healthier attitude towards life, you must learn to think positively. Positivity will allow you to progress and develop in your personal and professional life.
In general, negative thoughts are linked to negative experiences you have gone through during your childhood or adulthood. One of the best advice I have ever come across is to deliberately change the negative, sad, upsetting thoughts linked to an experience by accepting that experience and forgiving the people associated. Throughout my life and all the experiences I went through, I always kept myself at bay from people who have harmed me. I preferred to avoid incidents, situations and events which put me face to face with people who I ‘believed’ have wronged me or simply turned my life into unnecessary misery. I held on to a list of names and occasions which left me scarred. However, as time passed I realized that my list is not getting any shorter and I ended up having to carry useless emotional baggage that went everywhere with me. I was fully unconscious to what I was doing to myself and my mental state; I thought that holding on to those moments will protect me from unwanted dangers in my journey. And boy was I wrong! The power of love and forgiveness is what you need to keep moving forward in your path. Your ability to forgive people and incidents in your past is what will help you grow stronger and enable you to overcome future incidents.
Forgiveness is easier said than done, but if you can see and feel the outcome of forgiveness on your soul and mental health, you will be surprised! It is said that you should always forgive but not forget who harmed you, and that is my advice. Forgiveness is a very selfish act, in most cases people who harmed you are
unaware of their mistakes, and that’s why when you forgive individuals you are doing it solely for yourself so as to move on.
Forgiveness is essential if you are trying to build a positive outlook in life. Once you have forgiven individuals who instilled negative memories, you will automaticallystart looking for all the lessons learned from those memories. You will also shift your focus onto a more positive mindset. Everything you experience in life will teach you a lesson no matter how tough, it is still a lesson learned to build you into a better individual. If you are able to list down all the negative events in your life until today and forgive every individual involved, you will free yourself from the haunting memories of the past. Only then will you be able to enjoy your present a lot more and continue looking forward without being drained by the past.
Imagine that your life is a long marathon, where each stop represents all your memories – both negative and positive. Whenever you stop and face a negative memory, you are given a backpack to carry while running. However, if you face a positive memory, you are given refreshments and water to help you carry-on running towards your goal. Now imagine carrying all the bags of your negative memories while running a marathon. You are not doing yourself any favors by holding onto grudges towards people who cross your path. You are only overloading yourself with unneeded bags. Forgiveness is your only way to take the entire load off your back and carryon running towards your goal only looking at all the positive memories that helped you get here.
Appreciate everyone who stood by you in your journey so far and forgive everyone who wronged you because they didn’t know any better. Another part of forgiveness that many people don’t realize is that by forgiving others you are also admitting that you are partially responsible. You have to admit to yourself that maybe just maybe you are also to blame. Maybe that fight with your colleague at work or with your siblings at home was partially your fault. Admitting your responsibility will also help you understand the situation better and switch off your negative thoughts train. Repeating ‘I am responsible’ whenever you are going through an obstacle or facing a problem will help you forgive and move on a lot quicker because your focus should be on achieving your goals rather than getting distracted.
Just find the time to sit down and think of all those people whom you’ve not forgiven; write down their names and try to forgive them by contacting them. If you find it difficult to face the person, send them an email or a text message that has these 3 sentences:
I forgive you.
I wish you all the best.
God bless you.
It is relieving and you can feel better immediately, because you have resolved a negative memory from your past. You will also be able to look at your future from
a better perspective. Forgiveness and admitting your responsibility are key steps towards moving on and unchaining yourself from a past that will never be changed nor erased. By doing this, you are not focusing on the mistake, injustice or harm you have come across or caused, you are automatically shifting your full
attention to making things better and facing your problems head on.