“Allowing yourself to see the good in the world almost magically creates clear spaces where you can begin to grow again!” – Joshua Moore
If you’ve been reading my posts, you will remember that I’m always saying, “Do the Opposite.” If you find yourself in a position where things seem to be going wrong or negative thoughts keep going through your mind, “Do the Opposite,” shine a positive light in a negative space.
How many times do we have something negative happen to us and we focus all of our energy on that negative experience? The negative seems to grow.
Fredrick, the cat
I have a year old cat named Fredrick – Freddy. Freddy is my baby. He follows me around the house all day long. He’s like a one-year-old that cries if I leave the room for a second or two and he can’t see me.
Freddy uses his claws like fingers. I’ve had cats all my life and I’ve never seen a cat do quite what he does with his claws.
He was laying on the top of a bookcase. The top edge is just about eye level for me. I stepped up close to pet him. He attempted to bring me in closer and he reached out to grab my face with his claws. One claw hit my eyeball.
I went to the mirror to look at the damage. Blood was starting to ooze in the white part of my eye. It hurt. I ended up with a bad headache. The lower part of my eye was totally red – blood-filled.
So, now, I have a choice. I now have a negative space – a bloody eye. What am I going to focus my attention on? My bloody eye? At the moment my husband and I had lots of “stuff” going on.
We’ve been listening to and focusing on “Jesus as our healer.” I had a choice – fill this negative space with more negativity or fill it with a positive light. I had the choice of what I was going to focus on, my eye, the pain or on Jesus my healer? My choice.
Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
Why do we become hyper-focused on the negative instead of the positive when something happens? We have a choice.
“A growing body of scientific evidence indicates that we have much more control over our minds, personalities and personal illnesses than was ever believed to exist before… The ability to change the structure and functioning of the brain through experiences and the conscious use of directed thoughts is referred to as neuroplasticity.” – Nicole Force M.A.
The latest research in neuroplasticity shows that the adult brain is capable of repairing damaged areas and growing new neurons. Thus, we are able to shape our brain by choosing to focus on the positive rather than the negative. “Doing the opposite” is a major step in changing the focus of our brain.
Research also indicates that humor and other positive stimuli do have a profound effect on people with disorders such as depression and anxiety. Scientists are stating that it is possible, through positive input, to change the brain chemistry in people with disorders. Is laughter the best medicine after all?
If that is true, then using positive input for a “normal” brain can reverse the negative influences and can enhance the potential for positive brain activity.
Unfortunately, negative information seems to have a greater impact on our minds and our lives than the positive. Why is that?
I struggled all day with the pain in my eye and the resulting headache. Every time I’d consciously thought about it I’d say something positive like, “Jesus is King,” “Jesus is my healer,” yet, it was easier to focus on the negative because of the pain.
It’s easy to remain positive on the good days. But, how do we change what we do on the bad ones? It’s easy to allow our emotions to rule, whether they are negative or positive and react with whatever behavior comes automatically without any thought. When we intentionally change our core beliefs to create a positive “mindset”, we change the trigger to give us a different response.
I’ve been writing about changing our “mindset”, choosing to have a positive “mindset” instead of a negative “mindset.” It is as simple and as difficult as setting our “will.”
Researchers have named our tendency to lean more to the negative than the positive: the “negativity bias.” The negativity bias is the result of our natural fight-or-flight response to negative situations. It appears that the brain gives more attention to negative situations because of the danger factor.
According to the Bible, we are to become aware of our thoughts instead of allowing negative thoughts to rule. We are to take our thoughts captive and change our thoughts from the negative to the positive.
2 Corinthians 10:5 (Amp) “We are destroying sophisticated arguments and every exalted and proud thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought and purpose captive to the obedience of Christ.”
Our will is being exercised all the time. Even when we “knee jerk” react because we haven’t chosen to carefully consider a response, it is a choice. When we don’t put forth the effort to change a destructive thought which results in destructive behavior, by default, we choose to be “lazy” and just react. Our desire is where we say we want to be or what we want to do. Our will is revealed by the actions we take. Our will is driven and determined by what we believe, back to our core beliefs or mindset.
Our will is our “chooser.” Our will is revealed by the choices we make and our choices are based on our core beliefs or our mindset, if we have updated our core beliefs.
“My will is not what I want to do, but what I actually do.”
It’s common for a person to hang on to core beliefs from the past that do not serve them well in the present. For example, a person might say, “my anger keeps me safe,” “not feeling keeps me from being overwhelmed by my emotions,” “if I don’t remember, it keeps it from being true.” These types of beliefs that a person hangs on to keep them locked into the core beliefs of their childhood.
Core beliefs are the experiential beliefs about yourself, your family, other people, the world, and your capabilities. According to current research, these begin one week after conception and continue through childhood. They include your family values and that of the community you grew up in. They are often very deeply rooted and become rigid and inflexible, which then leads you to dismiss any evidence that does not support your core belief.
When your core beliefs are so deeply rooted you are not aware of them or the mindset they create. Many of your core beliefs do not serve you well as an adult. They can keep you from being successful or reaching your goals or dreams.
Sometimes, you need to update your core beliefs, uncover the beliefs that no longer serve you well, and change them to reflect your current “mindset.”
Difference between an experiential or intellectual core belief
An intellectual core belief is something you have studied, but have not experienced. For example, you may have memorized Bible verses about taking the Good News to others. You want to talk to your neighbor about Jesus, but when you think about talking to him you freeze up. You have the desire to talk to him, but your will is expressed by your being silent and not talking.
“Core belief is what we experientially believe to be the truth, but not necessarily what we believe intellectually to be true. It is our core belief that produces the bad feelings we tend to run from, suppress and deny.” – Ed Smith, Transformational Prayer
Identify Negative Core Beliefs.
The first step is AWARENESS. You can not change anything you are not aware of. Are you really ready for a change? If so, here is where you start:
- What are the words that come out of your mouth?
- What are the unspoken thoughts that go through your mind?
- Are you always complaining?
- Are you quick to blame?
- Pay attention to all the negative things you think and say.
- What are the emotions and feelings behind the words or thoughts?
- Why do you feel that way? List any events.
- Differentiate between your will (your chooser) and your desire?
Remember, emotions and feelings are key to discovering what it is you really believe and why. This will help identify why we feel stuck, why we can’t seem to move forward. The problem is the difference between our core beliefs and our chooser.
My Story Conclusion
My mother was a nurse and my parents owned and managed a nursing home. We lived in an apartment in the basement. My earliest memories were of doctors, nurses, and seeing the sick, the injured and the elderly.
I, like most of us in the United States, grew up with the core belief -”if I’m hurt or sick I go to the doctor.” In the last seven years, I’ve had nine surgeries and 30+ procedures where I’ve been put under anesthesia. Because of all the surgeries, I have scar tissue in my esophagus. I have had my throat physically stretched every 3 to 6 months. Yet, I say I believe in a God who heals. Do I?
It’s easy when we’re sick or hurt to look on the negative side, to speak negatively, to be down, as with other negative events.
If I look at the questions above:
- What words came out of my mouth? – “It hurts.”
- What are the thoughts that went through my mind? – “Maybe I need to go to the doctor.”
- Did I complain? – I tried not to, but I’m sure I did.
- Did I blame? – If I blamed I had to blame myself. I know how he uses his claws.
- Did I pay attention to the negative things that I thought and said? – I did try to pay attention more than usual.
- My desire was to go to bed, baby my eye, and perhaps be babied a little myself.
- My chooser chose to do something different, to speak the positive instead of the negative. I chose to speak that “Jesus is my healer.” I chose to do all the running around and “stuff” I needed to do.
Was it easy? No. The blood is starting to dissipate in my eye. It’s still uncomfortable, but it’s getting better.
I also made the decision not to have my throat stretched anymore. The more they stretch it the more scar tissue grows.
I’ve decided to walk what I talk, not just talk.
Many of us have problems that we deal with, physical, emotions, disorders, self-esteem, most of which, comes from experiences in childhood when our core beliefs were formed and established as our mindset. We have gone to counseling or coaching to make changes. The first thing we have to change is our core beliefs, which create our mindset.
Your choices are based on what you belief. If your beliefs are contrary to change you will find yourself stuck and unable to move forward to success, to fulfill your dreams or goals.
It’s not because you are a victim or because that’s just the way you are or just the “hand you’ve been dealt.” It’s because your beliefs and your choices are contrary.
You can change your beliefs so that your beliefs and choices line up in perfect harmony. Start with the questions above.
Will it take work? Yes!!! But, it will be worth it.