This week, I challenged Ariyawen members to put only positive words and thoughts into the universe. At the end of the week, a member noted:
“I spent the week trying to be only positive and friendly. I failed at times, and it got me thinking. As humans we are going to get frustrated and upset, and we need ways to vent those things so they don’t fester inside. Swallowing our feelings is never good. How do we vent without affecting the universe and those around us?”
It got ME to thinking. Why do we get frustrated and upset? What are the things that are WORTH being frustrated and upset about? Is a snippy client worth emotional turmoil and an adrenaline response? An idiot driver? A disappointing conversation? The Ariyawen member is right. We are human. We do react emotionally, physically and intellectually to people and circumstances around us. But why do we default to a negative response? Why does that feel *good*? And it must feel good, or we wouldn’t do it. People avoid those things to which they have even a mild aversion. Think of brussel sprouts. Math. Speaking in public. Many avoid these things at all costs, merely because they find them unpleasant. We are well trained to stay away from that which we find repugnant. That means we must *get* something from our anger and frustration.
What do we gain? A sense of righteousness? A sense of entitlement? A feeling of familiarity? We need to identify what is feeding us, so we can choose a different, positive reaction that accomplishes the same thing. You see, it doesn’t matter if we have a positive or negative reaction. We’re still responding. We’re still ‘letting it out’. We’re just choosing a different method of release. But if a positive response doesn’t feel as ‘satisfying’ as a negative response, is it that being positive is the ‘wrong’ reaction, or is it that we’ve fed ourselves on adrenaline and drama for so long that we’re addicted?
Ouch. These are the hard questions I’ve been asking myself lately. The answers I’m finding are painful, but they open the way to self-evolution. And for that, I’m grateful.
The bottom line is, we can train ourselves to be positive, just as surely as we’ve trained ourselves to negative response. All it takes is a lot of work and self-awareness. Discipline. Intent. Forgiveness – of ourselves when we fail, of others when they annoy. The willingness to keep trying in the face of repeated failure, because we are, after all, human.
It helps to remember we are responsible for action, not outcome. Outcomes are the purview of God and the Universe. But with persistent action, we will change ourselves, and in so doing, we’ll change the world. Awen.