If you’re a Star Wars fan you probably know that the ‘Dark Side’ is that of the evil Darth Vader, and that the ‘Light Side’ is that of the heroes including Luke Skywalker.
Whilst the popular use of this phrase dates from the appearance of the Star Wars franchise in the late 1970’s, the concept or meme of it stretches way back into folklore – for instance the Biblical story of Cain and Abel.
In more modern times, the founder of modern psychiatry, Carl Jung, first described what we now call ‘the shadow’ persona that he claimed everyone has. These are the things we call ‘evil’ and which we deny to ourselves.
“For the sake of understanding, it is, I think, a good thing to detach the man from his shadow, the unconscious… One sees much in another man which does not belong to his conscious psychology, but which gleams out from his unconscious.”
With all this in mind, we all find ourselves thinking ‘negative’ thoughts at some time or other, and depending on your upbringing you most likely try and suppress them.
There are 2 causes of ‘negative thought’.
- When you rationalize (not reason) about things, you are more prone to thinking negatively. For instance, when you make excuses for any type of failure, you are rationalizing, and this leads to negative thoughts. It also leads to a victimhood mentality and being ‘at effect’ to the things that happen in your life. In other words, you think that things happen to you, rather than ‘you happening to things.’
- The other cause is hypersensitivity to other people’s speech and behavior – if you’re consistently worried about what people will think about you, you will consistently have negative thoughts – both about yourself and of others. Some people’s entire persona is governed by what they want others to think about them. They have little sense of self worth or value.
So what are the remedies to ‘negative thinking?’
- Accept personal responsibility for your thoughts, feelings an actions – be ‘at cause’. Even though you may not be aware how you came to feel a certain way, it was your decision, conscious or not. To take responsibility is to empower yourself.
- Resolve to avoid negative thoughts – however, frame it as ‘resolve to encourage positive thoughts’. You can do this as general affirmation you say each day. This can be said something like this: ‘I will respond positively and constructively to every adversity’
- The next time you find yourself speaking or thinking negatively, say to yourself ‘I am responsible’ as many times as you can. You will find that the negative emotions will disappear, along with the negative thoughts.