Everything seemed to be going wrong for so long that I started expecting the worst. I realized the other day that I had gotten stuck in a cycle of negative thinking.
They say you are what you eat, but it’s more accurate to say we are what we think.
The Bible says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” (Proverbs 4:23).
Winston Churchill said, “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”
Herm Albright says, “A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.”
The other day I was riding to work in the pouring rain and I was angry. I just knew I was going to get sick from being soaked all day and everything would be bad. An old pick up truck swerved into the gutter as it passed so that a wave of gutter water doused me. A wave of red hot anger washed over me with the dirty water and I threw a dagger glare his direction right as he got caught in the stop light.
Suddenly I realized that no matter how bad things seemed for me, at least I hadn’t turned into someone nasty enough to splash someone with gutter water. I rode up next to him and suddenly it hit me that it didn’t matter if I’d been hit with that wave or not. What harm could it do? I was already soaked!
Suddenly I was laughing and as I pulled up next to him I smiled as he looked up. He was lighting a cigarette and just as I passed he dropped it into his lap. I pedaled on as he desperately patted his lap for the lost coal. I grinned as I went on my way and thought about how negative thinking had become a bad habit for me. I vowed to get back to being my perpetually positive old self.
By the time I’d gotten halfway to work the sun was shining and the ride was beautiful. I stopped by to see my sick friend for a few minutes and had a great visit. At work I was praised by my big boss, found a quarter, was treated to lunch by a co-worker and had a great time. The ride home that night was fresh and clean under the starlight. If I’d been still locked in my grumpy mood would the day have stayed gloomy and soaked?
I used to believe that there were two realities for us all. I called them the High Road and the Low Road. The High Road is a positive place where we just coast thru life on a smile and happy thoughts. The Low Road is overshadowed by our negative thoughts and everything always goes wrong there.
Did you ever run into someone in a bad mood when you’ve had a great day? It’s like you are living in two separate worlds. Where you say sunny they express too hot. You can say crisp and they say too cold. Even shared events are remembered differently. It makes me think that we do indeed have two planes of existence that we all share.
Somehow I got switched to the Low Road but I am breaking out of the habit of negativity so that I can cruise merrily along again instead of trodding miserably to the end. Things are never as bad as they seem. As William Allen White once said,
“I am not afraid of tomorrow, for I have seen yesterday and I love today.”