Dear Ted: I see amazing things happening around our community and our world and am also very aware of all the horrendous things that continue to plague our society and earth. I have noticed that most attention goes toward the negative issues and there is not much time spent recognizing and supporting the positive. As a matter of fact, I think there is a level of minimizing or even sabotaging positive actions, happy moments and good deeds. In a time of such need, why do we - as a culture or species - have this tendency of promoting the negative while minimizing the positive? Thank you, Yvonne
Dear Yvonne: What a great question and something I wonder about often, especially if I watch the news. There is a reason for a certain level of negativity to have a "head start" on our thinking process. As a surviving species, your senses are designed to give your brain the data to determine if you are in a dangerous situation. This means that the first job of all information that you receive is primarily determined negative until proven to be safe.
Media outlets are aware of this and will catch your attention with negative news and hold your attention longer, as the brain wants to feel safe with more data. This becomes a catch-22 in which your brain continues to gather and collect more and more negative information, giving no room for positive feelings or information. Social media and communication are not helping with this issue, as a lot of social media has a negative connotation that only feeds the electronic addiction that actually breaks healthy connection and depletes opportunities to connect and be in relationships in the real rather than the virtual.
Humans have a large and complex brain, which can help you break out of the negative cycle and find the positive in our world, too. This is a secondary response and may not be easy. The brain has set up pathways that have the habit of seeing and judging the negativity around you. You can practice becoming conscious of how much time you spend wondering why someone did this or that and judging them. Then you can spend less time judging others. It is important to have factual information and learn from the data received and then realize you have a choice of what you consciously ponder.
Metaphorically, you are the landlord of your thoughts and can decide how much time and space you rent to negative thoughts versus positive and proactive thoughts. Taking a moment, stepping back and finding the positives in your life will promote gratitude, inspiration, fun and celebration for life rather than levels of anger, irritability and a feeling of helplessness. Your brain will follow your thoughts, so being open to positive events and moments in our personal and global life will allow you to find more serenity and joy within yourself, no matter what others are doing. Then, from this place, you can be empowered for positive action while having a higher quality of life internally and externally. Choosing to find positive in the world and notice the gifts around you will allow more loving connections and possibly open a more enjoyable experience as you walk this earth.
I wish you well. Until next week, take care.
Golden Willow Retreat is a nonprofit organization focused on emotional healing and recovery from any type of loss. Direct any questions to Wiard, founder of Golden Willow Retreat, at (575) 776-2024 or GWR@newmex.com.
This column seeks to educate our community about emotional healing through grief. People may write questions to Golden Willow Retreat and they will be answered privately to you and possibly as a future article for others. Please list a first name that grants permission for printing.