The positive power of negative thinking

I talk about my boys a lot and the reason, well because through their transformations I have been able to look from the outside in rather than look at my own transformation from the inside out.  My boys have given me lessons I could not have learned even if I paid one million dollars to a psychologist, not even spending 10 years living with Dr Phil or Tony Robbins would I have learnt these real-life lessons.

I remember my first year of extreme change.  You know the TV show The Biggest Loser where you see each contestant on the first night and you are gobsmacked when you see the transformations after three months.  Well looking back at my first year of change if there was such a TV show centered around my transformation it would have left the viewers with the same reaction- gobsmacked, only my transformation was life changing rather than weight changing.

After seeing such drastic changes in my life, I assumed that when someone wanted to change their life it would be easy so as my life was changing at an almighty rate I was dishing out my new learnings to everyone and anyone. I wanted everyone around me to experience what I was experiencing.

As my life was changing for the better my son Josh’s life was changing for the worse and one day when Josh was a teenager he hit rock bottom and came to me begging for help.  I put my big change guru hat on and dished out my exciting advice. He took it on board and the transformation was insane.  I high fived him and the excitement I felt was exhilarating.  I shouted out from the treetops to everyone that would listen how my son had changed his life.

I never in a million years anticipated that he would go back to his old habits, why would he when he has found this new positive life. But a humongous lesson I have learnt from my son is that when you don’t have a big enough purpose to change, the uncomfortableness and uncertainty will be too much to maintain and he went back to his old habits.

I had a huge purpose to change; my kids, so for me I was forced to ride the uncomfortable and uncertainty, for Josh he had no purpose and went back to comfort and certainty.

The experiences of my boys changing their lives short term and then going back to old habits are the reason’s without even knowing the stoic philosophy of how I adopted a stoic practice of ‘negative visualisation’.

The stoic practice of negative visualisation is that no matter how positive our thoughts are and no matter how hard you try to prevent things from happening to us, some of these things will happen anyway. Seneca a Roman stoic philosopher once said “misfortune weighs most heavily, he says, on those who “expect nothing but good fortune”.  Epictetus who was a Greek stoic philosopher says “we should keep in mind that all things everywhere are perishable”.

This takes me back to Josh and Jack.  When their lives go swimmingly and they are both kicking positive goals I rejoice in their positivity, however, I always practice negative visualisation and always expect this to be short-term and visualise them going back to their old habits so when they do I am not left feeling distressed.  There are certain people in our lives who see what goes on behind the scenes and marvel in excitement when my boys go back to old habits because they see me writing positive facebook posts (yes, they stalk my page LOL), they see me shout my boy’s great news from the treetops and when they see them going back to old habits they tell others that I live a fake life and that I project a fake happy life. These people don’t understand why I am not feeling considerable distress and they assume it’s because I am putting on a fake front.

Truth is months earlier in my mind I have already visualised this so when it happens I know how to deal with it, rather than have it debilitate me.  For all you people who are now saying that I am making it happen by visualising it, your opinion is perfectly ok. I live in reality rather than fantasy. Fantasy is that everyone on earth including my boys will live a happy life 24/7.  Reality is everyone has to fall down to learn lessons. My boys are 18 and 23-year-old males say no more LOL, they NEED to make mistakes so they can learn their own street-smart lessons. These mistakes are crucial to their success. Right now, they are both kicking huge goals, will it last?  Who knows, that is up to them.

I never take Dave for granted either.  I am not sentimental when it comes to material things or people-heck I bought a brand spanking new car two weeks ago and it was ready for pick up on a Friday and I left it at the car dealer until the following Friday because I had better more fun things going on and I didn’t want to be interrupted in my work ha ha.

I often imagine a life without Dave. Reality is, we are human and humans change their minds. Five years ago I could never have imagined I would be a married woman. I can’t tell you where I will be tomorrow let alone five years from today.  Dave might get up one day and decide he can no longer deal with my non-stop active lifestyle LOL. One of us could drop dead tomorrow, you just don’t know what is around the corner.   I don’t ever want to become so attached to someone that I can’t mentally or physically cope when and if I lose them.  Some psychologists might diagnose a childhood trauma in that LOL, however, this is the way the stoics lived and I live and breathe their philosophies, their practices make so much more sense to me.  Of course, I would be completely devastated if I were to ever lose Dave because I bloody love the guy but I don’t ever want to be the kind of person to constantly live in fear of feeling like I couldn’t live without someone in my life.

I set my life up so that I am completely detached from feeling dependant on others.  I set myself up to be 100% independent.

Have you been taught to only practice ‘positive visualisation’ only to have shit go wrong time and time again and then you question if this ‘positive visualisation’ bullshit is even true LOL.

Shit happens in life.  There are people who think their marriage is perfect and one day one of them gets up and leaves out of the blue, these people only visualised a positive married.

There are people who visualise their child growing up, getting married, having children only to have their child pass away.

There are people who have built very successful businesses based on positive visualisation only to have it crumble under their feet and lose everything.

These situations are reality and to be constantly watching interviews, reading books and even throwing your money at guru’s who tell you to only practice ‘positive visualisation’, this practice alone can leave you feeling considerable distress when you experience misfortune.

Are you one of these people who keep saying to everyone who will listen, “but I am doing my positive vision chart”. “I have been visualising what I want”. “I have been thinking positive thoughts but nothing is happening”.  Perhaps you can start practicing ‘negative visualisation’ too so that when things are going right in your life you can focus on feeling deep gratitude and genuine happiness and raw excitement like I do LOL rather than constantly be focusing on things not working for you.

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