As I’m getting ready to put words together, I’m not sure what I want to say. I wanted to write about my dad and his passing, and what that meant, but it doesn’t seem to fit right now. I don’t know why. Maybe because there have been so many changes in my life, and his passing is one of them, so the changes put together are almost too much.
I remember when Covid first hit, and I thought to myself, “This will blow over in a couple of weeks.” I couldn’t imagine an actual pandemic, but look what happened.
And now there’s Ukraine. This world we’re living in is really insane at times, if not most of the time lately, and people are going crazy, literally and figuratively.
How do people cope?
I don’t want to be blind to our world’s problems, but I’m not going to drown in continual sorrow. What that means is I don’t watch the news for long stretches, and I don’t care if I miss a certain president’s speech. I’ll hear about it sooner or later anyway. I DO know what’s happening in the world but despite this, I try and stay positive.
Sometimes it’s easier than other times to stay positive. It’s impossible to be positive all the time, but there’s benefits for seeking the sunnier side of life.
Enter a book published in 1952.
I had put away a favorite book and a couple years ago I found it, perhaps not accidentally, and placed it on my coffee table, its new home. The book belonged to my mom, and when I was in high school, she’d remind me to “stay positive” and she raved on and on about Norman Vincent Peale’s book, The Power of Positive Thinking. It had been a number of years since I’d read it, so I read it again. And again, and again.
This time, I read it slower. I mulled over the chapters. I noticed that they don’t actually have to be read in any particular order because each chapter kind of stands alone. I began to practice what this author suggested, and the more I re-read his words the more his words were etched in my mind. His words are positive and inspiring, and his suggestions challenging. The more I read this book, the more things I picked up (which is true with many good books) and I must say, Dr. Peale was an amazing individual. I kind of laugh at some of the things he said, because he can be blunt and very transparent, but it’s all good, in my opinion.
I’m going to outline seven points Dr. Peale makes in the 13th chapter called, “Inflow of New Thoughts Can Remake You.”
- “For the next twenty-four hours, deliberately speak hopefully about everything, about your job, about your health, about your future. Go out of your way to talk optimistically about everything. This will be difficult, for possibly it is your habit to talk pessimistically. From this negative habit, you must restrain yourself even if requires an act of will.
- After speaking hopefully for twenty-four hours, continue the practice for one week, then you can be permitted to be ‘realistic’ for a day or two. You will discover that what you meant to be ‘realistic’ a week ago was actually pessimistic, but what you now mean by ‘realistic’ is something entirely different; it is the dawning of the positive outlook. When most people say they are being ‘realistic’ they delude themselves; they are simply being negative.
- You must feed your mind even as you feed your body, and to make your mind healthy you must feed it nourishing, wholesome thoughts. Therefore, today start to shift your mind from negative to positive thinking. Start at the beginning of the New Testament and underscore every sentence about Faith. Continue doing this until you have marked every such passage in the four books, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Particularly note Mark 11, verses 22, 23, 24. They will serve as samples of the verses you are to underscore and fix deeply in your consciousness.
- Then commit the underscored passages to memory. Commit one each day until you can recite the entire list from memory. This will take time, but remember you have consumed much more time becoming a negative thinker than this will require. Effort and time will be needed to unlearn your negative pattern.
- Make a list of your friends to determine who is the most positive thinker among them and deliberately cultivate this society. Do not abandon your negative friends, but get closer to those with a positive point of view for a while, until you have absorbed their spirit, then you can go back among your negative friends and give them your newly acquired thought pattern without taking on their negativism.
- Avoid argument, but whenever a negative attitude is expressed, counter with a positive and optimistic opinion.
- Pray a great deal and always let your prayer take the form of thanksgiving on the assumption that God is giving you great and wonderful things; for if you think He is, He surely is. God will not give you any greater blessing than you can believe in. He wants to give you great things, but even He cannot make you take anything greater than you are equipped by faith to receive. ‘According to your faith (that is, in proportion to) be it unto you. (Matthew 9:29)’
The secret of a better and more successful life is to cast out those old dead, unhealthy thoughts. Substitute for them new vital, dynamic faith thoughts. You can depend upon it – an inflow of new thoughts will remake you and your life.”
So that’s what I wanted to share with you, a new way to remake your thoughts.
Life isn’t always easy, and it’s normal to be depressed from time to time, but it’s a good thing to be optimistic and positive. And it often takes effort.
If you haven’t tried those seven points above, start by picking two or three of them and see if following them makes a difference. See if it makes you a little more optimistic if you’d like to add a little more positivity into your life.
In a world where we’re flooded with so many negative things, it’s a good thing to counter our spirits with positive thoughts. For me, shifting to positive thinking makes a difference.
Whatever you’re doing now or this evening, I hope you take some time and make a cup of hot tea (or beverage of your choice!) and let your mind go, let yourself relax, and let good thoughts flood your soul.
“Positive thinking gets positive results.” Norman Vincent Peale