I have. And I’m astounded at the stigma surrounding them when you consider the immense power they hold. I correct myself – the power we all hold. Negative thinking is contagious and I’m the first to admit that wallowing in self pity has at times been second nature, but I’m not the only one. If I wasn’t wallowing in self-pity then I felt numb or empty and would regurgitate in detail the next unbelievable thing that has happened in my life to anyone who would listen. Yes I am aware after the incident that I behave like this – it is deep rooted, learned behaviour which is hard to change, but not impossible. I know more people who negatively think than positively but is that because like attracts like?
The thing is, as with all things, what is second nature to one is another one’s mountain. At uni I was surrounded by people who instantly picked up what was being taught, who managed to work, have a social life, while I had to cut everyone off to be a parent and to really go over what I was learning – I felt I had to work twice as hard to achieve the same output as the high achievers. In Macklemore’s Ten Thousand Hours, Ryan Lewis sings “The greats weren’t great because at birth they could paint/The greats were great cause they paint a lot” Is there shame in this? I think not. It’s frustrating but not shameful. So why is there shame around learning anything – even positive thinking?
Years ago I was recommended a book by a professional Feel the Fear And Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers. I got about half way through reading it at the time and felt empowered beyond belief, so much so that I decided to go back into education….GCSEs, an Access Course and then onto completing a degree with a not too shoddy result. Strangely, I met the professional’s son at university who taken the same course as me! And all because of his dad recommending ‘the book.’ Had I not read the book I would never have tapped into my self belief that I could achieve something reserved for….well not me.
I now have two grown-up daughers who are at times a product of my critical, negative environment. They both received ‘the book’ for Christmas (as did my mother 5 years ago) but I’ve clearly not conveyed its magic well enough because none of them have opened it yet!