Responding To Negativity

It’s easy for negative thoughts or negative inferences to take root. They can be as subtle as “I can’t do this” to something extreme we won’t say to others like “You’re (I’m) stupid”, or excessive worry and downplaying ourselves or others.

One outcome of negativity is that it can lead us to a striving mode, needing to fix or improve ourselves. We sign up for a bunch of courses, throw ourselves into projects to shut off the pain, make ourselves feel like we’re progressing in life. A striving mode can also mean to deliberately avoid situations.

This is not to say we don’t do anything to improve our life outcomes or to purposely invite difficulties, but we want to be more discerning about what thoughts we want to act on and what actions are really necessary, lest we end up distressing ourselves further or shy away from living a full life.

In this meditation, we acknowledge thoughts as they are (just thoughts), and practice restoring a sense of being or balance. When we’re in a less driven-doing, judgmental mode, we can see our priorities and what really matters with more clarity.

We also use the poem Negative Thoughts (extract) by Murray Lachlan Young to convey the theme of the practice.

Negative thoughts

Oh, they come and they go

And sometimes they come

A lot more than they go

Then do what they like

And say what they please

To stifle your life

With their negative squeeze

So why not breathe in

And exercise choice

Why not breathe out and say “No” to the voice

And say “I’m worth more much, much, more than all that

And that negative voices

Are uncool and old hat”

So why not decide

That it’s time to get free

And stand up to the (deeply uncool) voice

Of Negativity

Guide: Noelle Lim

Duration: 14 mins

Image credit: Dim Hou, Unsplash

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