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I read some helpful advice in Joel Osteen’s new book, Every Day a Friday, recently: “Replay the victories. Every setback is a setup for a comeback.” Osteen suggests creating an encouragement file, filled with your past achievements, compliments you’ve received, and photos of people who love and support you. It’s especially helpful to peruse these items whenever you’re feeling down, depressed, or discouraged.
Best-selling Chicken Soup for the Soul series editor Jack Canfield suggests that you take it a step further and write down every time you have a negative thought, or hear or see something negative. Canfield believes identifying the culprit is the first step to detoxifying your life from such downers.
I personally don’t believe you can shield yourself from all negativity. Nor do I believe this is necessarily a good thing. Sometimes you need to provide sympathy to a friend, a kind word to someone who is discouraged, or company to someone who is lonely. However, this type of negativity is receptive for you. While I don’t advise that you associate with people who chiefly complain and criticize, I also think you should stand by people who are usually positive and uplifting through their times of need and sorrow.
The type of negative thought I am talking about eliminating is self-created. You can’t expect to build a positive, creative, productive life as long as you’re replaying thoughts of inadequacy and past failures in your mind. You need to think of yourself highly in order to rise. Take Beyoncé Knowles, for example. When she first began her career, she created an alter ego she called “Sasha Fierce” in order to project herself as ultra-bold and confident. In her mind, Beyoncé envisioned Sasha Fierce performing her best before each performance. Although Beyoncé claimed in 2010 she no longer summons “Sasha Fierce” in her times of need, it shows the power of thinking positive and visualizing successful events – not insecurities or failures – beforehand. Many Olympians and other world-class athletes reportedly swear by positive visualization.
So while you cannot shield yourself from all negativity, you can do your part to make sure the thoughts you create are frequently and inherently positive. After all, if you have 30,000 thoughts per day, why not make them work for you rather than against you?!