I read an article about two kids who slipped while on playground equipment. Both were hanging on waiting for someone to help them down. One child’s parent told them “don’t fall” the other child was told “hang on tight”. The child that was told not to fall fell and the child told to hang on tight did so until help arrived. The article didn’t discuss each child’s physical ability to hang on. It discussed the power of each parent’s suggestion. The child who was told not to fall now had that image in their mind. The child who was told to hang on tight had the image and encouragement to continue doing what they were already doing.
As part of our martial arts training we have the opportunity to go rappelling. Everyone there who is helping or encouraging sets the tone for the experience of going over that cliff. Some people will say “don’t look down” (I’m sure I’ve said that to a few people myself). What do most people do when told that statement? They look down. Or at least now the thought of “down” is the prominent image in their mind. The person sitting at the top talking everyone through going over the edge (usually Ms. Betsy) will say “look at me”. What a difference that one statement can make. Speaking from experience as my brain is screaming at me to move away from the edge and go to a safer area, that statement makes all the difference. It’s a positive thought. Nothing negative. It doesn’t start with “don’t”.
Which brings me to my attempts in my everyday life to use positive thoughts. One example, my kids needed to bring forms home after being signed by their teachers. The forms weren’t coming home. The kids were forgetting them at school. I decided to write a note for each child and put it in their backpack as a reminder. Each note started with “Don’t forget”. I looked at the notes and realized I had created a negative statement. I was setting the thought of exactly what I didn’t want them to do. I rewrote the notes to say, “Remember to bring home the forms”. It was a positive thought only saying what I want them to do. I’m happy to say they did remember the forms that day. I realize it may have been the multiple times they were told to bring them home that did it. However, I like to think the positive statement helped. At least it made me feel better to send them with a positive thought that maybe even helped to set a good mood for the day.
I have found the more positive people I can surround myself with the more positive I remain. I’m very fortunate, through my martial arts journey, to have met so many of these wonderful people. I am encouraged to look at things in a positive way. Sometimes we have to look deep to find that positive aspect, but it’s there. Something, somewhere or even someone will be that positive thought.
For me, changing how I think is an ongoing process. I am continually working on looking for how to remain positive. Some days are easier than others but I feel it makes a difference for myself, my family and my friends.