DEAR KRISTIN: You talk about mindset and the power of positive thinking all the time in your column. Well, I believe in the power of positive thinking as much as the next person ... but it feels like my life is turning upside down and my positive attitude is slipping through my fingers like grains of sand.
I just lost my job. My landlord just increased my rent by a tremendous amount, which means I’ll have to move, and my long-term partner just ended our relationship. The good news is that I’m healthy, intelligent and basically an all-around decent human being.
Even so, all this bad stuff is weighing me down and my flame is burning low. I know that lots of people tend to pooh-pooh all this talk about positive thinking, and they count it off as a bunch of -- well, the polite word I will use is “hooey.” But I don’t want to count it off. I don’t want to become cynical and closed-minded. I want to continue to believe that a positive mindset actually matters. I guess I just need to be reminded again that positivity is still possible ... even when things aren’t going in a positive direction. -- IN NEED OF LIGHT
DEAR LIGHT: You just hit the nail on the head -- and I’d ask that every single person who is reading my column right now go back and read those crucial last words of your sentence: “Positivity is still possible ... even when things aren’t going in a positive direction.” Amen and amen again.
Hold tight to this knowledge as you navigate the choppy waters of your own life right now, Beloved. Hold fast to the belief that your positive mindset should not be dependent upon the events you’re experiencing in your daily life. A healthy mindset exists independent of what’s happening around us; positive energy is not anecdotal or episodic. It is intrinsic.
When we realize that a positive mindset is ours to create and curate on a daily basis -- regardless of the events swirling around us -- it elevates us to another level, a level that allows us to remain positive even when not-so-positive things are happening around us. Our mindset is not dependent upon the stuff that’s happening in our lives. No, curating a positive mindset doesn’t stop bad stuff from happening ... but it does allow us to absorb and process this bad stuff in a way that keeps us afloat. We will not sink.
And yes, you are right when you say there are plenty of people out there who say this kind of talk is hogwash. So stay away from those folks. Let them believe what they want to believe. Let them write what they want to write -- snarky comments, toxic messages, all the negative nattering we hear that’s designed to disrupt the flow of our positive energy. Let them stew in their own negativity. As for you -- as for me -- as for all of us interested in living lives filled with grace, gratitude and joy -- let us stay on this positive plane. It’s where we belong, and it’s where we will thrive.
Keep moving forward, Beloved. Commence your search for a new job and a new place to live. Grieve the loss of your long-term relationship ... but then allow your heart to open and expand. Don’t allow your hurt heart to close up on you.
You asked for a reminder, and that’s exactly what I’m going to give you -- and to all of my readers: Maintaining a positive mindset is not only possible but mandatory when you’re down and out. Thoughts are THINGS. They have weight and energy and ballast -- and most important, you have dominion over them. Make sure you keep your mind clean. Don’t let toxicity sneak in; this is particularly true when you’re trying to keep your head above the swirling waters of conflict, trauma and pain.
Consider seeing a professional to help you navigate these waters. Don’t let your pain trick you into thinking you’re in this by yourself. You are not alone.
And kick the naysayers to the curb. Let them be cynical, nasty, snarky and desperately toxic if they choose to be.
But not with you.