As humans, we’re a genetically competitive species, even our cells compete against each other on a daily basis. We compete to prove who has the most strength, who can eat the most hotdogs and who can make the most drain-o’s in corn hole. I’m going to ask a question that I’d like you to answer honestly in your mind, have you ever engaged in a conversation where the other person was explaining about their negative experiences, and found yourself adding you own negative narrative and both found yourselves bragging about those cynical tales? I, without a doubt, answered yes.
Initially I was going to include this in, If the Buddha Got Stuck Part: One, but felt as if this ‘stuck’ trait needed its own post. How often have you caught yourself in a difficult situation, and continued to live in the stress and unhappiness afterwards? Quite often right? I noticed with my own self, when someone would be sharing about how bad their grades were, horrible drinking stories, and negative work life, I was adding and building the animosity with my own negative stories. But why? What do we get from bragging about all the turmoil in our lives? It has us reliving those bad thoughts, feelings and experiences over and over again. We actually find ourselves bonding with others via the pain and unhappiness.
In my own experience, the relationships that I acquired via bonding over negative feelings and interests, are no longer existing. When I’m in conversation with a person and it begins going in a negative direction, I’m diligent to put a positive twist on telling my own story. For example if someone was speaking about how their math class made them hate school, I’d say, “math was a rough subject for me as well but the one class that made up for it, was my World Lit. class, I loved reading greek literature and interpreting the exerts in my own way.” If they continue to focus on the negative, rather than to acknowledge the positives in the bigger picture, that’s a choice.
We all have to ability to change our thoughts from a negative to a positive within a millisecond, we just have to catch ourselves and REACT to it. At the end of chapter one, there was a particular exercise that caught my attention that I would like to share, “notice whenever your mind goes to negative or helpless thinking and say, ‘negative’, or “oops.’ ” The thought in my mind when I first read that was, “how silly”, but wants not silly was the fact I was judging the technique before I gave it an actual try. I was painting a negative experience before it even began. After I tried it with no bias, and it actually worked, I started laughing at all the negative experiences I had created by my prejudgements. I took a look in the mirror and finally found the person that was making my life harder and thoughts darker.
Whether you’re the hotdog eating champion, gold medalist power lifter or ‘king’ of corn hole, continue to be competitive in finding joy and power within yourself and others.