What Negative Thinking Guarantees

What negative thinking guarantees is a longer journey in the pursuit of solutions, answers, and remedies.

Have you ever known a pessimistic person to be immersed in enthusiasm and a positive outlook? Me either. In fact, the negativity that appears to reek from pessimists reminds me of static electricity—energy in the vicinity that gets encased and stuck in its sphere.

Negativity in a person tends to guarantee a toxic energy that breeds ill—physically and emotionally. Negative-focused persons have the appearance of mentally shackling the people around them into a mindset that diminishes any encouraging conditions in life. It’s all Armageddon to them.

Pessimists spend a good portion of time engaged in discussions on only what’s dreadful, what is deficient, and what is wicked in the world. Their focus tends to lack any concrete observations of what’s effective, what’s good, productive, and positive. If this describes you, allow me to stretch my hand out and shock you back into worthwhile thinking.

Imagine a planet where blame was missing. Picture a world absent of faultfinders and pessimists.

Now, try to be a part of creating that vision. Put down any doom and gloom binoculars. Stop peddling criticism. Stop the negative rehashing of the problems we face in this society.

The more we stop the blame and catastrophic views, the more of us there are available to focus on solutions, answers, and remedies. Blame keeps us glued to the dilemma instead of adhered to a resolution. Explanations keep us attached to the problem instead of fastened to improvements.

We all hold a position on this earth. And our positions are better served in discovering tonics for peace and understanding instead of judgment and condemnation.

In Working and Thinking on the Waterfront, Eric Hoffer wrote:

Fair play is primarily not blaming others for anything that is wrong with us.

 

the problem with religionThink about it.

drsandy@life101blog.com  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, Life101Blog.com  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com unless otherwise indicated

 

How To Stop Hate

Only a person with self-contempt can contemplate murder. Self-esteem and self-respect can’t co-exist with hatred. But organized hatred helps give new meaning to the lives of those who feel marginalized. That’s how one learns to hate.

In 1915, D.W. Griffith used the technology of motion pictures to make Birth of a Nation. This film prejudiceportrayed African-Americans as being stupid, lazy and inferior, and glorified the Ku Klux Klan for standing up for the rights of the white supremacy majority. It was so effective in fostering hate against African-Americans that even Griffith himself was said to have been shocked.

One hundred years later, in Charleston, South Carolina, Dylann Roof, a Caucasian male, walked into a Bible study on Wednesday evening, June 17th with a mindset of hate. His reason for attending was to shoot and kill everyone there—all African-American’s. For an hour, Roof sat with the group and participated in their discussions about Scripture. Later, Roof told police he almost aborted his plan to kill the group because they were so welcoming and kind to him.

Michael Daly of The Daily Beast wrote:

But that would have meant giving up the hate that filled the hollowness of being born of a fleeting reunion between his parents three years after their divorce and of getting no further in high school than the ninth grade, but wearing a jacket with an “Academic All Stars” patch rightfully worn only by seniors in the top 10 percent. 

He had compensated for that false claim by sewing two other patches on the jacket, flags of apartheid-era Rhodesia and South Africa, symbols for those seeking another kind of supposed supremacy. 

And his older sister, Amber, was to be married on Sunday. To have just left the Emanuel A.M.E. Church on Wednesday night would have meant going to the wedding at the end of the week as a rank loser from a fractured family who could rightly declare himself supreme in nothing at all.

Even so, Roof seems to have understood in his moments of indecision that these warmly devout people of the Bible study group were putting the lie to his racism. He may have sensed that the faith filling their lives might also fill his own.

After an hour, just as he was apparently losing his resolve and his hate was slipping away, Roof seized it anew. He allegedly produced the Glock .45 automatic that he is reported to have purchased with birthday money from his father.

That was when Tywanza Sanders is said to have told him, “You don’t have to do this.”

Roof is said to have replied as if he were also trying to convince himself. He was not some loser. He was a champion of the white race about to start a race war.

“I have to do it,” he reportedly cried out.

His next words were the language of white supremacists. “You rape our women, and you’re taking over our country. And you have to go.”

Hate is a painful state of being because the mind is not ordained to hate. Everybody is born to love—to love our Creator, to love ourselves and to love others.

IMG_2247It is not only our hatred of others that is dangerous but also, and above all, our hatred of ourselves: particularly that hatred of ourselves which is too deep and too powerful to be consciously faced. For it is this which makes us see our own evil in others and unable to see it in ourselves, wrote Catholic Monk Thomas Merton in New Seeds of Contemplation.

A zero self-love is a developed misery. It’s miserable because it’s painful and unnatural to hate one’s self—it goes against our very nature. Our core disposition is to love, not despise; to include, not shut out; to embrace, not isolate.

When we, as a society reverse the hate, overturn the prejudice and embrace all human beings with dignity and respect they’re entitled to, then maybe the violence will rescind. When we encourage and support one another, then the inner flames of self-esteem and self-respect are not extinguished.

FullSizeRender (6)Think about it.

drsandy@life101blog.com  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, Life101Blog.com

The Problem With Religion

It was shocking. And for most Americans, it was unexpected. And then the problem with religion was on center stage.

On June 26, 2015, the SCOTUS, in a landmark decision ruled that same-sex marriages were legal. The hashtag #Love Wins flooded the internet, as did #Equality For All.

People were shown hugging one another with tears of joy. Now, for the first time ever, same-sex couples are protected under the Constitution from any bans that would deny them the same rights as heterosexual couples.

That’s how love won.

A paragraph of the majority opinion in the ruling authored by Justice Kennedy prompted comments from people on what they believed to be a beautiful, compassionate and romantic definition of marriage. An hour later, the paragraph had gone viral:

No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right. —Justice Anthony Kennedy

Then the love that was won hit the wall.

The problem with religion was ablaze. Conservative Christians, some GOP leaders, and Presidential candidates disagreed, intensely, with the ruling.

Probably the most wigged-out reaction came from Bryan Fischer of American Family Radio. In just one paragraph, Fischer compared the ruling to slavery, 9/11, the attack on Pearl Harbor, and Sodom and Gomorrah. A frenzied Fischer announced:

From a moral standpoint, 6/26 is the new 9/11, because it was on this day that five justices of the United States Supreme Court became moral jihadists, They became rainbow jihadists and they blasted the twin pillars of truth and righteousness into rubble. And they did this by imposing sodomy-based marriage on the United States through an act of judicial tyranny. Today, June 26, 2015, is a date which will live in infamy. On this day, the United States became Sodom and Gomorrah.

Yikes! That’s an offensive thing to say. That’s the problem with religion.

But Fisher was not the only conservative Christian who reacted with agony and sorrow at the prospect of gay marriage across the land. Indeed, there was a great deal of weeping and gnashing of teeth.

All of the nay-sayers seem to believe the institution of marriage is at stake. Their priority is to uphold this sacred union. This is God’s will. The Bible states marriage is between a man and a woman.

Now here is where this Bible-quoting loses credibility.

Divorce is against God’s will and against the teachings in the Bible. Having sex outside of marriage is also a big no-no according to Bible teachings. And living together in sin? A huge taboo in Scripture.

What’s the difference between these sins and the implied sin of same-sex marriage?

Can someone explain that to me?

I asked that question in a Facebook group that was declaring how America was on the verge of collapse and every American was going to hell because the ruling is against the inerrant word of the Bible. The group could not answer my question, but they did send me a short video of why they thought Obama is bad for America.

I moved on and had a three hour back and forth conversation on a Facebook group belonging to Fr. James Martin. Even with over 11,000 comments, no one could answer my question. That’s the problem with religion.

My point is there is no difference. Every sin is against the inerrant word of the Bible.

Divorce is against God’s will, and Christians get divorced all the time. There’s no revolt about that sin. Christians have premarital sex and cohabitate outside of marriage. That’s a sin in the Bible. Where’s the protest about that to the Supreme Court? Why is that seemingly tolerated with little objection, but same-sex marriage qualifies for continued flogging and imprisonment?

That’s such hypocrisy and that’s the problem with religion!

God is love. As followers, we are to love one another. Why is that so difficult? We are all created equal in the eyes of God, but that equality is blurred by many so-called Christians who believe themselves superior.

It reminds me of the dogmatic practices and beliefs of the Pharisees. They were so blinded by greed and power, that they missed the possibility that the Messiah could be the humility and grace in a man called Jesus.

FullSizeRender (5)Think about it.

drsandy@life101blog.com  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, Life101Blog.com

Is Self-Pity Wrong?

Who is to blame for the dire circumstances of your life?

American author John W. Gardner was Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare under President Johnson. During World War II he served in the United States Marine Corps as a Captain. He wrote, Self-pity is easily the most destructive of the non-pharmaceutical narcotics; it is addictive, gives momentary pleasure and separates the victim from reality.

But wait, I think self-pity is a necessary condition to experience before recovery can occur from any unfortunate event. Grieving losses, depression from painful memories, and mourning unfortunate events are part of the healing found in the condition of self-solace. God knows I have visited self-solace many times in my life.

Self-solace is where acceptance of reality creeps into us in amounts we can handle. If we didn’t have these periods of self-solace that enable us to come to terms with the unfairness of life, I dread the thought of damage it could do to our mental health.

However, when we get wrapped up in our misfortunes and hang onto blaming someone or something for the circumstances of our lives, then we are no longer healing—we are feeling sorry for ourselves, and that adds to the problem.

11255216_10153260316333908_4245992246248920802_nSoon a sense of entitlement arrives—we may feel a right to certain privileges and a right to leave behind certain responsibilities because of what we endured. Unhappy comments can often be said to others to enlist sympathy and call attention to what happened unfairly to us. In no time we could set up camp in Victimville recruiting empathy and excusing unhealthy behaviors. Self-pity reeks from us and our healing is kept away.

Whatever has occurred unjustly to you may not have been your fault, but to heal you need to recognize that even though you were blind-sided, the injustice is your responsibility to overcome. It landed in your lap.

Today, ask yourself if there is someone or something you are holding responsible for why your life is the way it is. 

FullSizeRender (5)Think about it.

drsandy@life101blog.com ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, Life101Blog.com  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay unless otherwise noted