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Here at the-Coaching Blog-run by Gerard O’Donovan, our aim is to constantly bring value to those seeking to improve their lives. Therefore we have a policy of publishing articles and materials by guest authors whom we value and appreciate. Today’s guest author is Clayton John Ainger (United Kingdom).
The New Year is always a time for reflection and forward planning. When Christmas and all of the festive excitement is over, many of us enjoy a period of calm with quiet anticipation and excitement for the year ahead. It is the time of year that evaluating our lives feels more natural than at other times of the year.
Perhaps we are even more aware of the cycles of life, as one chapter draws to a close and another begins; the end of the year and the beginning of the next is a perfect time for us to slow down, take stock, look around us and go within.
Whatever it is that we are looking at or looking for, we see it through the lens of emotion. In particular, the feelings we have about areas of our life, which cause us concern, appear problematic, or we just know are wrong with our negativity distorting our view of those areas even more.
We all experience negativity from time to time. Most of us experience some level of negativity on a regular basis; the feeling is definitely familiar to us all, but it can be hard to pin down the experience of negativity in a way that actually helps us to understand what’s going on.
Despite our desire to dismiss it and make it bad or wrong, negativity itself is not harmful; it is a natural and normal psychological, physical and spiritual message from your body, with profound importance. How you choose to deal with it is equally as important as the message it brings.
Negativity can have a profound impact on our lives – emotionally, we can feel anxious, guilty, overwhelmed… psychologically we can fall into patterns of withdrawal, self-sabotage, at an extreme self-persecution…and physically we can feel tense, sad, restless, drained and exhausted.
While the experience of negativity is unpleasant, it’s typically our reactions to our negativity, which result in harmful outcomes. Negativity is an evolution of our basic ‘fight-flight, or freeze’ response, and it’s easy to see the way in which our reactions to negativity typically follow this same pattern. Our automatic, unconsidered reactions are designed to keep us safe, and they typically do this by encouraging us to withdraw, avoid change, and side-step challenges.
Keeping away from similar future situations gives us a sort of short-term resolution to our negativity: when our reactions keep us safe, we receive an internal communication that everything is as it should be, harmony is restored and therefore it is a good thing. But is this really true? The internal feelings and external feedback identifies that the immediate negativity has been resolved, but what if doing so maintains a status quo which does not help you, or even harms you, e.g., through self-punishment (overeating), or unkindness (beating yourself up) or it prevents you from experiencing the best of you in your life (by embarking on a new career or enjoying a new relationship). Is it good then?
Generally, the reaction to negativity is not a one-off: our negative experiences and the way we deal with them result in our forming perceptions, judgments and attitudes about those areas of our life. Our perceptions, judgments and attitudes keep us out of situations which we think might cause us pain by limiting our capacity to live our lives to the fullest, undermining our confidence in taking on challenges, deteriorating our sense of self-worth and dismissing our own abilities.
By continuing to avoid and ignore the messages from ourselves, we end up allowing the areas of our lives that we are least satisfied with to cause us further negativity, to make less progress and allowing it more and more power over our lives. The stories we tell ourselves are typically unconscious and can range from fairly trivial (e.g. ‘I’m a bad driver’ after taking five times to pass your test) to extremely harmful (e.g. ‘I’m unlovable’ after a failed relationship).
The main reason this continues to happen in our lives is that we live unconsciously and that over time we have been conditioned and programmed to react in a certain way, creating patterns of reactions when certain external or internal buttons are pushed. This will continue until we take ownership of how we feel and realize that the true purpose of negativity is to serve us, not to hinder us. In my experience, information leads to transformation and with a proper understanding of negativity, we will stop repeating unhealthy patterns of behavior and instead we will be living our dreams every day.
ALL negativity is energy, and therefore all energy can be changed, released and transformed into something that will serve you rather than hinder and incapacitate you.
But where does come from? All negativity relates to and comes from events in your past, both in current and past lifetimes. Every time you have a negative experience, you are literally reliving an event from your past in the ‘here and now’. Your negativity acts like a beacon sending out a signal, to attract back an experience, which matches your negativity. So if you give your negative thoughts, feelings, actions, behaviors, self-talk a meaning that equals ‘this is bad’ rather than I have something here to learn, your experiences will then match this ‘bad’ meaning, which in turn shapes your personality, and ultimately the life you live…in essence, your outer world is a reflection of your inner world.
So, the first step toward making any change is to notice you and pay attention to your negativity. There is a pattern to it and it is happening for a reason. Search your own thinking to become aware of your thoughts and self-talk. Notice the behaviors which stop you, seek to understand the motivation behind your negativity, get honest with yourself about what is going on and why you really want it. Then give yourself permission to receive it. There is feedback everywhere in your life, for you to notice. Depending on the meaning you give it, it will serve you or hinder you… which do you choose? Do you want to live 2016 through negativity and fear, or joy and happiness?
When we use negativity as fuel for change it motivates you, bringing clarity to how much you want to make that change. It gives you a chance to feel the impact of negative parts of your life, and in the thoughts that spring up around these areas. Then you can find the solutions to those problems. Negativity is there to learn from; it is a message from you to you, a series of lessons, which you highlight for yourself as you go through life. The faster to acknowledge it, allow it to come to the surface and own it, the faster your life will change for the better.
Shaping your approach to the year ahead around what you actually want rather than what you could do without or passionately want to avoid will give you the best chance to bring real positive change to your life. Working on building your confidence in areas of your life which you feel uncomfortable allows you to see that you are capable, you are competent and you are equipped not only to pursue our goals in every area of your life but to achieve them.
No matter how uncomfortable it may be initiated to challenge the negativity which keeps you ‘safe,’ it will never serve you to answer that quiet internal call to withdraw because avoidance, denial or giving up leads to sabotage, which only guarantees failure. When you start to focus on living as much as possible as the person that you know yourself to be, by focusing on what makes you happy and bringing your behavior into alignment with your true values, your life will start to transform on all levels.
As we do our best to hit the New Year running, to bring change to those areas of our lives that cause us dissatisfaction, I invite you to notice you, to own what your hearts desires and to embrace your negativity. Listen to you and hear the lessons you are trying to teach yourself and go through the void to the radiant landscape the other side. Choose to use your negativity as a resource rather than an obstacle, that way you are transforming the negative energy that holds you back into something that will take you to new heights and new horizons! Remember, where your focus goes, your energy flows.
To discover even more new insights and understanding to change old belief patterns and perceptions about negativity, I invite you to read my award-winning book The Ego’s Code because you deserve to live in joy and with happiness.
About Clayton John Ainger
Clayton is a dynamic and energetic speaker who cares about people, understanding their needs and inspiring change. His philosophy is based on making every person matter, every time. From once being a Tax Accountant with Deloitte’s Clayton now works and speaks in the UK and Internationally helping Individuals to enjoy more balance, happiness, and fulfillment in life, and Companies to transform performance and achieve growth, by unleashing passion, nurturing natural talent and bringing vitality to their workforce.
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