There is an exercise, and I have done this with clients: You count and keep a running log of every time you have a negative thought throughout the day. Through the tabulation process, you first start acknowledging those thoughts, and through practice, are able to decrease them until eventually getting to a place of controlling them – instead of them controlling you.
The same exercise would be fascinating right now. How many times does (insert political figure that you ‘hate’) come into your thoughts? For example, how many times do you think of “Trump”?
For many, I am guessing, the number would be staggering. But, all that is doing is giving attention (and most importantly energy) to that, which you don’t like. With the self-fulling prophecy, you will then find anecdotal evidence to support those thoughts.
The question becomes, if that is the case, how’s that working for you?
Maybe it is, or maybe you don’t even realize that it is happening (just as you don’t realize how many times you are thinking a negative thought). Maybe once you recognize that you energetically being consumed by one, or a few people, that are not serving your higher good. It may result in additional frustration, anger, lack of sleep, and overall displeasure for the world as a whole. That can not only negative affect yourself, but your family, your coworkers, and even strangers on the street.
Using politics as an example is easy, because in today’s climate it is so divisive, and it is a slippery slope that can quickly become all consuming. The same though can be said for your boss, your significant other, or everyone on the road while you are driving. That exercise of counting how many times you have a negative emotional outburst throughout the day can be quite enlightening.
The point and significance is understanding that we do not have a “Trump” problem, or a a “Hillary” problem, but rather we have an issue with giving outside stimuli control over not only our emotions, but our feelings, thoughts, and worst of all, our actions.
It is absolutely natural (healthy even) to be angry, frustrated, sad, disappointed, but allowing ourselves to become consumed in it, is not taking control of the only thing we can truly control, which is our own thoughts, feelings, emotions, and actions.
Maybe it does work for you. Maybe you are so inspired by the current political climate that you are taking action by not only volunteering, but running for office. Maybe you have such a strong desire for change that for the first time you are participating in the voting process.
It is also not necessarily that having repetitive negative thoughts is a bad thing, either, but how those are being utilized. Are they a motivating factor, or are they debilitating? Elite athletes, for one, have used negative thoughts of not being good enough as a motivational tool to be the best in the game.
The key question is still the same. Is that working for you? And, for you, that means specific to you not your parents, your children, your spouse, your friends, your fans, the media, or anyone else in the world.
For devil’s advocate, let’s say for a second though, that it is not working. What is the answer? Better yet, what is the solution?
For starters, stop giving it energy. If you don’t like a particular politician, stop constantly talking about him (or her) and find a healthy outlet to replace those thoughts and actions. Stop posting about them, and stop arguing about them.
Negative thoughts though can be quite addicting. If it seems impossible not to talk, post, or argue, about a particular thought or person maybe it is time re-evaluate it. The stronger the emotional attachment, possibly the greater the need to let go of it, and them.
If we replace negative thoughts with positive ones, is that being non-authentic? It can certainly feel that way, especially in the beginning.
A much more radical solution is to give them, or whatever you have such a strong disdain for, love. Love thy enemies.
That seems counterintuitive to everything that feels right, and often everything that we are taught. It is also a very disciplined practice. And, the mind can easily play tricks by saying, “What difference can I make?”
It is true that unconditional love has not been historically sustaining. We have seen periods through religious figures such as Jesus Christ, Buddha, and Muhammad. They all have a common theme of love.
The message is the same, but how everyone interprets that message is personal to each individual.
Love, as well as peace, is a very powerful tool. Ghandi, for example, shut down an entire country in an incredibly short period of time without resorting to violence. As equally incredible is how quickly upon his demise did everything go back to “normal”, or more precisely back to the way it was.
Maybe that was because he had such unconditional love, peace, and passion for the cause himself but those others who his followers had not yet found that own internal love for themselves. And, maybe that is truly the answer (to all problems) is to focus on within. Maybe if each and every one of us were so filled with unconditional love, peace, gratitude, and acceptance, what would a world like that look like?