Counselor's Corner: Letting go of negative thinking

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Fred Cavaiani

Negative thinking is always with us. It becomes a prison where we can obsess over how people should be. We can bemoan how terrible the government is or how terrible the other political party acts. We can moan and groan to others about so many different things. Negative thinking can become almost as common as breathing. But it gets us nowhere. It keeps our viewpoint narrow-minded. It uses up positive energy inside of us. It inhibits our ability to be loving and kind toward others.

The biggest inhibitor of peace and serenity is to remain negative in our thoughts and attitudes. Yet it is easy for all of us to invest in negative thoughts and verbalize negative viewpoints.

We are now in a culture where it almost seems like a virtue to be negative and vocalize negativity in our words and actions. Because of social media, we hear and watch negativity so much more than positive attitudes and viewpoints. Many times the daily news broadcast tries to have some short message about something positive but only after we have been bombarded with every negative thought and action possible. We hear about crimes and impending crimes. Every institution is filled with flaws and failures that make such popular news. Negative news is more popular than positive news.

Our culture and social media are not very helpful to us to remain in a positive attitude. News is necessary. Pointing out the flaws in society by news is necessary. But it puts a burden on the soul to remain positive.

If I invest in negativity, I invest is diminishing myself. If my relationship with people is about talking negatively about other people, places and institutions I put myself in a prison of negativity that prevents me from seeing the goodness that is all around me.

Negativity causes the body to become tense. Positive viewpoints cause the body to relax. Negative thoughts and verbalizations inhibit my emotional and spiritual growth. Positive thinking and positive words open my heart, mind and soul to love and connection with God and with other people.

Positive people become loving people. Negative people become selfish and self-centered. Positive people become concerned about bringing love and kindness to others. Negative people put themselves into a prison where they can miss seeing the goodness in life.

It is important to let go of negativity and negative viewpoints, actions and words.

Sometimes we can use our own philosophy or theology of life to hide our negative viewpoints. We can want to save others and save the world and promote an attitude of seeing evil and sin everywhere. Religion and politics, I believe, can become the greatest proponents of negative attitudes in life. Both are supposed to be the greatest proponents of positive viewpoints but fall so short of doing this.

When I use my philosophy or theology of life to condemn, correct and judge other people I am not helping society. But when my philosophy or theology of life is all about bringing goodness to others by kind words and action, I am then promoting positive energy into the world. It is the best way to bring out the best in others and the best in myself. God, save me from religious leaders and politicians who need to criticize and belittle those who see things differently. God, help me to overcome hatred by love, to overcome negativity by positive actions, and to overcome emptiness with an abundance of compassion and concern. God help me to overcome useless actions by quiet reflection. Help me to listen attentively to others and to always speak to others in a positive and loving manner. Help me to be an instrument of peace and love.

When I stay positive and loving, I become fully alive. When I become negative and judgmental, I put myself into a very lifeless and dead place. An abundant life comes through being loving, positive and quietly reflective.

Letting go of negative thinking and actions will put us into a positive flow of abundant living and we will feel emotionally and spiritually energized.

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Fred Cavaiani is a licensed marriage counselor and psychologist with a private practice in Troy. He is the founder of Marriage Growth Center, a consultant for the Detroit Medical Center, and conducts numerous programs for groups throughout Southeast Michigan. His column in the Legal News runs every other Tuesday. He can be reached at 248-362-3340. His e-mail address is: Fredcavi@yahoo.com and his website is fredthecounselor.com.