Cultivate Contentment Instead of Negativity

grow-seedling

(Editor’s Note: This post was originally published April 2012, and is re-published at request of readers like you!)

Do you ever feel sorry for yourself?

It’s a dark place where all you can see is negatives. One negative feeling leads to another just like blowing dandelion seeds to spread more weeds. It’s hard to find anything to lead you out of this dark and rooted place.

When you are cultivating worry and anger, it is hard to view life differently. While you may not feel happy and joy all the time, it is possible to change how you feel by changing your thoughts. You can go from negativity to contentment by cultivating different seeds of thought.

3 Steps to Cultivate Seeds of Contentment

It’s time to pull the weeds of negativity out by their roots.

Step 1: Recognize a Negative Mindset: A negative mindset is narrow, future predicting, or history repeating. It is not being fully present to what is, because you are so worried about what did happen or what could happen.

What is your personal marker for recognizing you are caught in over-focusing on the negative? It may sound something like this: no one cares about me, everyone leaves me, everything I do fails. This is a miserable place to stay and the roots may be deep.

Step 2: Challenge Your Negative Assumptions: There is another way to think about almost anything. If you challenge your thinking, your feelings will follow.

For instance, if your marker for negativity is feeling left out, isolated, and lonely. Then look at how your thinking leaves you out. The more you think negatively, the more you keep to yourself or act based on the assumption that others don’t want to be around you.

If you challenge this thinking, you can find a more objective way to think about others actions or inactions. Then you will be more open to making personal contact with others without presenting only negatives.

Step 3: Practice Gratitude: Focus on what you have more than what you don’t have. Embrace what is instead of what if.

Once you have poked holes in the negative thinking, you are ready to plant new seeds. Grab your journal and fill in the following until you run out of ideas: “I am grateful for ___________________________”

A few seeds that I am cultivating:

  • I am grateful for friends that don’t judge, criticize, or advise.
  • I am grateful for my children’s unconditional love and affection.
  • I am grateful for being debt free.
  • I am grateful for living in a house that we can afford.
  • I am grateful for doing work that I find challenging and interesting.
  • I am grateful for a spouse that works hard and accepts me.

When you get stuck in the negative, it’s so hard to see life any other way. But once you start digging up the negativity, it starts to crumble. Trickles of light are let into the darkness. And problems turn into opportunities, so that life can grow instead of weeds of negativity.

Please share the seeds of gratitude and contentment you are cultivating.

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Photo Credit: “Child Tending Broken Baby Seedling” by Sharon Pruitt

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