Whether we realize it or not, all past events leading up to this moment have conditioned us. Everyone views the present with a skewed, biased perception because of this conditioning. And, of course, everyone else wants to give us their opinions of how we should see the world. I personally have been referred to as a “Negative Nancy” or a “Debbie Downer” many times in my life because of my negatively slanted view of reality.
But how do we change something that is now deeply ingrained in our thought processes? Recognition is the first step. When we recognize and fully acknowledge that past events are exerting control over our present and future decisions, then we can begin to shift that control back into the hands of our present self and see things as they really are. We can mentally remove ourselves from current situations and look at the overall picture objectively. It probably goes without saying that these changes are not going to happen overnight, but they can happen over time if we are deliberate in maintaining our focus on the present moment.
Along with our pursuit to develop an objective perception, we also must consider what a truly healthy one entails. As with everything in life, moderation is key. We are aware that constant negativity can be detrimental to our mental, emotional, physical and social well-being, but ignoring the negative and attempting to fake positivity can also be toxic. It has to be genuine, and for that to happen, a middle ground must be found. After all, true positivity is not the absence of negativity, but persevering in spite of it.
Our journey to find this middle ground is a very individual experience; what works for one may not work for another. I personally am now analyzing my “demons” and trying to understand how they came to be rather than hide them away because I have come to the understanding that we must “feel it to heal it”. I am also attempting to find what brings me contentment and become so engrossed with making that life happen that I have little to no time to start comparing myself to others and invite negativity back into my life.
Of course, I am not certain that a total “rewiring” of my brain is possible because I suffer from depression and anxiety, but I do believe that I can tweak the programming a bit by surrounding myself with what promotes inner peace in my life. I will never be a complete optimist, but I really don’t want to because being too far left or right on the scale is unrealistic. I’m now striving to be an “Optimistic Realist” in order to live my best life.
And I now turn the discussion over to you: what are your thoughts on this topic? Have you ever engaged in this type of in-depth soul-searching? What can you do to help retrain your brain?