We all have negative thoughts and emotions over the course of our lives. At times we don't believe in ourselves, and at other times we are angry or bitter about something that has happened to us. Negativity is created by how we see ourselves and the world. There is no easy way of dealing with it except to face how you feel, deal with what you think, and consider your emotions with regards to the situation.
Negativity has been called by many names: the darkness, the shadow, or the dark side. Our instinctive responses to what happens to us is rooted in ego, which in and of itself, creates the negative. If I had to describe most negative thought with one word, I would use the word cursed. Feeling cursed results from making poor decisions from a lack of information. It also can result from unfair comparisons of yourself to others. The ego, in its need to motivate us, often descends into a negative mindset as a way of forcing us to act and make changes. This is necessary and proper, but at times we become too harsh with ourselves through hard permanent judgments.
Negativity can be handled in many ways. The negative can be used as a source of inspiration to change what we are doing to become better at what we do or to become better people. When we are unwilling to look at the negative consequences of our actions and words, we fall into the trap that the ego sets in defending us from an honest assessment of ourselves and what we are all about. This extends to what we do, how we act, and how we treat others.
If someone was treated in a negative manner when they were a child or young adult, the negative behavior patterns become ingrained into our unconscious instinctive reflexes. For instance, if you were told you were stupid when you were a child or young adult by one of your family members or by another authority figure, you are likely to believe that on some level. This form of ingrained negativity that comes from verbal and psychological abuse is very common. People who have low self esteem often suffer from complexes that are created by other people's negativity towards them. And yet, the negativity is still an issue they must deal with as their own. While blame serves a momentary purpose, the higher view is that the assessment of the situation from the point of view of fairness and truth will remove the need to assign blame except to address the issue in consciousness. What this means is that you, or anyone else, must deal with their negative feelings within themselves and choose to see the light within themselves apart from any blame, hate, anger, or other negative experience they may have had to go through.
The truth about negativity is that you can create solutions to deal with negativity simply by choosing another way of seeing things. A proactive approach is highly useful, once the necessary healing work is done. Each person is still responsible for their own choices in life, so that positive actions leading to a better self or a better world are always more productive in the long run than constant focusing on the negative. While the negative is present, it is the responses that we develop to deal with negativity that determines the outcome of situations. If we choose to rely upon a doomed, or cursed, outlook, we ultimately will lose the will to create a better situation for ourselves or others. Looking for the silver lining in any situation is what can help us overcome the difficulty of relying on negative outlooks.
The negative "glass is half empty" approach to working out problems is rooted primary in fear, and is less effective in the long run that the "glass is half full". By assuming a negative outlook without hope for improvement in any situation, we lose the will to make changes. Fear, thus, paralyzes action and makes our efforts less effective. As we struggle with our own psychological fears and doubts, only a positive, yet realistic attitude can possibly allow us to achieve lasting long term positive results.
Several elements of negativity are more subtle than others. Certain people rely on avoidance to distract their attention from addressing problems. Avoidance, a form of negativity, is a way of dodging responsibility in order to pursue addictions and momentary pleasures. Procrastination is a form of avoidance. People play games, drink, do drugs, or meditate in order to avoid facing life and its choices. This pattern may not appear negative to them, but in fact, they are hiding from the results which are clearly negative.
Because it is often hard to see the negative because of the feelings that the ego generates to hide the truth, the only certain way of discovering what is negative in reality is to observe the results of your thoughts, actions, communications, and feelings. The results are clearly either negative or positive over the long run. Certain actions are destructive to us. Other actions are not. The physical world offers clear evidence as to which is which the longer we observe and see the consequences of what we are creating through our choices.
People who act out of fear create problems for themselves and others. People who act out of hate similarly create problems. However, the truth is often mistaken for hate or even lies. The reason is that people who are very attached to their ways of doing things do not like the feeling of being exposed to the truth of their own negativity. For instance, we burn fossil fuels every day when we drive to work to feed ourselves and our families. The burning of fossil fuels is a long term negative. Thus anyone who participates in this process must recognize that what they are doing is negative. If they are living in luxury with many unnecessary material pleasures bought with fossil fuel energy, they are living a very negative lifestyle, regardless of how much apparent comfort it gives them. These people may even think of themselves as perfectly good in doing so. But, this is a form of avoidance, proving that these people are not realistic about the physical world and are denying physical scientific law in order to perpetuate their own addictions.
In a less scientific analysis, people often make demands of their workers and wish to pay them very little for the work they do. This is because they choose to exploit them in order to make profit for themselves. This is clearly a negative, because the long term consequences of these choices is destructive to society and the long term security that these people believe they are creating. Negativity, here, is hidden behind the veneer of justifications used to keep wages unreasonably low using the false thinking that such a system creates security for the individual and his or her family. Over the long run, such thinking spreads negativity amongst the workers who notice the lack of pay, and of course live difficult lives making widgets for low pay.
People would prefer to see the positive in life. But the problem with this approach is one cannot call a negative a positive. This is called denial. You cannot say it is good that we are destroying the forests of the world to make soybeans to feed to pigs to sell to people of which 50% of the meat is thrown away because there is so much "abundance". The distortion of what is true is called a lie. Abundance does not consist of what you get for yourself at the expense of others. Or if it does, then abundance is something that is negative.
The truth is uncomfortable because it offers nowhere to hide from the consequences of your actions. The truth makes the ego feel trapped. The ego must either defend its positions and deny the effects that its actions are creating or it must give up and admit that the actions were wrong and the motivations might even be in question.
The ego uses a propaganda principle called "the dark light". The idea is that the ego masquerades as good while practicing the opposite. The ego covers for itself by manipulating evidence in its favor or simply by using tactics that involve force and evasion to continue forward with the agenda of action that it has set forth. The ego has plans. The ego does not want to examine its motivations for its plans once it has finished deciding. Negative consequences are bad news to the ego because the ego must make an effort to change. Every ego is naturally lazy. And of course, the ego's perceptions are based on protecting the plan, so then the ego must live in fear that the plan will be altered in any way. While this is natural, a smart individual would recognize that it is in the best long term interest of the ego to notice reality and conform its plans accordingly. Unfortunately, people are often unable to overcome their psychological tendency to cling on to their poor choices even when it is obvious those choices will lead to their own destruction.
So what we find often, is that the word positive itself, is constantly misused to create support for a negative agenda. The same with the word good or healthy. What could be more positive, after all, than creating jobs for poor people who need it? That is the fossil fuel industry's propaganda as of late about the positive agenda that big coal, oil, and natural gas have to offer the American public. The negatives that are denied here as the long term environmental consequences of delaying changing our energy infrastructure to a renewable energy system. This is a clear example of "the dark light" in action. The misrepresentation of the best interests of individuals perpetrated by the controlling interests of society, specifically in this case large corporations, is the result of an underlying negative. In this case several underlying negatives. The first is ignorance of the science of atmospheric physics. The second is the greed for more profit that serves no further need other than as a means to political and economic power of a select few. The third negative is the manipulation of the public through the mass media and propaganda. The forth negative is the pure cynicism required to execute this plan on the part of those who know better. The fifth negative is contempt for life demonstrated by this brutish, arrogant, and ultimately meaningless approach to economic development. I could go on, but the this is one example of the negative and how it exists in our lives.
I find it interesting that many people have been using the positive mindset school of thought to cover the tracks of their true agenda and their own negative feelings about life. This type of approach is what we refer to as cynical. People who are cynical believe that the way to succeed in life is to steal, lie, cheat, and abuse other people. Cynicism is rooted in hypocrisy, but fundamentally is the last bastion of the weak minded. People who are cynical are often the laziest people to think because they have given up on any real dream or idealism, if they had any to begin with. These people use positive mantras and ideas to promote the latest feel-good scam to rob people of their hard earned money and time. I notice a great deal of these people in the self-help movement and the spiritual movements of our time.
By offering people the quick feel-good version of spirituality light, they cheat others and ultimately themselves of the ability to feel and know the difference between what is truly good and what seems good but only offers a momentary buzz. I would describe this state of mind as "caught up" in the moment. If you examine this phenomenon carefully, you will see that what is being offered is sort of a mental brain drug buzz with some light socialization to fill in the time gaps between lessons and lectures. Little or no real mental and scientific growth of consciousness is offered, but instead people are sold back their own ignorant assumptions about reality rather than being told that truth about what must be done to fix their problems.
Many would consider this analysis "negative" and that I am being unduly "harsh" with the New Age, religious, and spiritual movements of our time. They would be utterly wrong. A true assessment of our situation would clearly point us in the right direction in terms of personal self development while facing these criticisms with engagement and an interest in self-improvement. Who here among us is above self improvement? I can think of no one amongst us who can claim to be perfect, except in the cushy feel good sense. What I see being denied is the need to grow spiritually and develop a mature, realistic grounded physical spirituality based not only on how we all feel or even wish to feel, but on what needs to be done to create a solution that feels good, looks good, and is good. And to know what that is requires a knowledge of the difference between what is truly positive and what is truly negative.
With that knowledge, we could move forward past the wishy washy feel good positivism that hides the negative results of our not so healthy thoughts and feelings. We must look at the negative in our lives in order to find the way to the positive. In doing so we move beyond the dialogue of negative and positive to a place where we must discuss what is really going on in our minds, lives, and in this world so that we can truly make a difference and create the change that we need as a whole. Society can no longer continue to lie to itself about what constitutes good, right, or even Love. Negativity should be seen for what it is. This in and of itself is positive, and the first step towards a more thorough analysis of who we really are, and what we truly are capable of creating.