To read part I of this series, click here.
I have gained awareness about my negativity and, because of that awareness, I no longer want to walk that path. Now what? Ephesians 4:28-32 in the Bible says that the person who steals must stop stealing, but it doesn’t end there. It goes on to say, “rather he must labor, doing good with his own hands. . ” And, similarly, if you are going to stop unwholesome talk from coming out of your mouth, the idea is not to stop talking completely, but to choose words that benefit and build up the listener. The same is true of negativity. When I made a decision to stop being negative, that negativity needed a replacement. I wanted to insert joy in my life, but trying harder wasn’t enough.
Surface change is only temporary, so to dig deep and truly change it was necessary to make core changes. The initial awareness was a big factor, followed by some lessons I learned and poured over in the book The 4:8 Principle. This book is based on the verse Philippians 4:8 which encourages us to choose which things we think about. It was the study and application of the principles in this book that brought about lasting change.
A couple of sentences that contributed to my changed outlook from Tommy Newberry’s book, The 4:8 Principle:
“Start programming your mind by first disciplining your mouth.”
Changing my language is a relatively simple and very practicle way to reprogram a negative mindset. Try this little exercise: Next time someone asks you how you are doing, respond with “I’m great!” or “Doing fantastic! Thanks for asking.” This may seem silly, especially when you aren’t “feeling” it, but please give it a try and see what happens. You may just surprise yourself. My husband, Joe, has a great illustration of this. You can read his story here.
“You will always feel what you dwell on.”
Creating financial abundance in my business has been wonderful, but it hasn’t always felt wonderful. While creating this financial freedom we were also facing enormous amounts of debt that had accumulated from hospital bills, sewer problems in our home, etc. When I dwell on enormous amounts of debt it doesn’t matter how many dollars go into the bank account each Friday; I only feel the burden of debt. If I want to feel abundant, then I must dwell on abundance.
“You can starve negative emotions by tuning in to the big picture.”
This is what I call a heavy dose of perspective. I think about how busy, stressed, and overwhelmed I felt at times in high school. Relationships and homework were all-consuming. Everything was a big deal. Then I went to college. I could not believe how busy, stressed and overwhelmed those high schoolers acted. They had no idea what life was really like! The reality is that college gave me some experience and perspective. Sometimes I need to step outside my current situation (and negative emotions) and see life from a bigger vantage point. The big picture helps me release negative emotions and see the positive, potential, and promise of my situation.
Does your negativity need to be replaced? What steps will you take to begin this life-changing process? I would love to hear about your journey.
Change is not easy, but it is always worth it!