Letting Go of Negativity

Daily Awakenings #39

The Prayer:

Spirit -- help me let go of speaking, thinking, and acting in negative ways.

The Exercise: A 21 Day Negativity Fast

I read something in a book by Edwene Gaines recently (The Four Spiritual Laws of Prosperity) that struck me, which probably means I need to pay attention to it. As a young minister, one of Edwene's mentors challenged her to "Stop Complaining!" Apparently at that point in her life, Edwene focused her thoughts and words on everything that was wrong, both in her own life and in the world around her, and she made it a point to let everyone know by complaining, almost constantly. Her mentor challenged her to a 21 day negativity "fast" to show her how letting go of negativity would improve her life. Edwene described it as very challenging, enlightening, and finally, freeing.

Here's the challenge:

  1. Don't verbalize any form of negativity. That means no: complaining, whining, criticizing, nit-picking, put-downs, gossip,  verbal bullying, manipulation, lying, picking fights, demeaning words, verbal abuse, etc. 
  2. Don't act in negative ways. This means no: violence of any kind, aggressive behavior, road-rage, throwing things in an argument, physical abuse, slapping, shaking, physical intimidation and bullying, etc.
  3. Don't think any form of negativity. This is probably the toughest of the three. While we may not speak or act negatively, we might be thinking negative thoughts about someone else, or ourselves. This part of the challenge asks us to clean up our thoughts. Some examples: don't criticize someone else in your mind ("Wow, he dresses horribly"); don't criticize yourself ("Ugh, I'm so STUPID"); don't think violent thoughts ("If I could only punch him, I'd feel better").

This challenge goes along with some of the things I learned in my near-death experience: that our words, thoughts, and actions do have a tangible effect on the world around us. 

I consider myself to be, overall, a positive person, but I definitely have room to improve. So I'm taking the challenge myself, starting today. If you'd like to join me, I'd enjoy your company in this little journey and would also LOVE to hear your experiences along the way. 

You can take the challenge at any level (verbalizing, acting, thinking), or all of them. It's totally up to you. I'm going to work on all three.

I expect this challenge will force me to be more conscious of what's going on in my brain, what I'm saying, and how I'm acting. I view this as a good thing, but I do wonder what I'll do when confronted with a tough situation -- one that, in the past, would cause me to say something negative.

Edwene has some suggestions:

  • First off, don't "bury" stuff. If you have a legitimate issue with someone that needs a resolution (such as with a family member), don't lash out. Take a moment or two to come up with a calmer, more productive way to handle things.
  • If you need to, and it's safe to do so, walk away from a tense situation.
  • Instead of being critical of someone in your mind, send them a genuine prayer or blessing  ("Bless her," or "God, take good care of him").
  • Instead of using negative words against yourself, take a deep breath and find something within yourself to praise.
  • Find good things in other people, and praise them. 
  • Notice, and be grateful for, the small stuff: flowers in the park, the blue sky, or the food on your table at dinner.
What do you do if you slip up?

It's simple: you have to relax and forgive yourself.

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