Just like a habit is a story we tell of what we’ve done before, what we’re doing right now, and what we’re planning on doing in the future, a negative cycle is only a story we're telling of negativity. The first step to breaking a negative cycle is to realize we're in it- and that we're telling a story of that cycle, which reinforces it.
“It is the energy projected by an individual's own mind which creates his experience.” -Hua-Ching Ni
Yesterday, I found myself starting a cycle of negativity – and once I began feeling negative, the “cycle” seemed to take on a life of its own! It is amazing to me how fast negativity is attracted to us once we dip our toes in the water. I was consciously aware that I was drawing more negativity to me, and for a few hours, I struggled to overcome it.
Negativity is unbearable to me now, so I wanted to switch to love fast. I committed myself to finding love and moving out of that negative space. Then I began to see that these little “shoulds” were desperately running through my thoughts, trying to get me to think them. And I did! I was the one who decided to listen and respond. I was the one who kept going in the negative when I could’ve switched to the positive. But when we're in a “cycle” of negativity, it doesn't feel like we can break free of it so easily.
“The best way of removing negativity is to laugh and be joyous.” -David Icke
The truth is, no matter how simple it may sound, is that at any moment we can decide if we want to feel good or feel bad. We can decide if we want to focus on something negative or focus on what is positive. We choose.
Once I took radical responsibility for my mood and my choices, I found incredible freedom. I stopped blaming others around me for my negativity and started looking inward. I remembered that everything I see and experience is a reflection of my inner self, and I understood (again, and I may need to remember it again and again) that no outside thing was causing me pain, there was no “cycle”- only my story of it, and there was only one way to feel better – through an internal change.
How to Break Negative Cycles:
1. Recognize that every moment you’re staying negative, you’re asking more negativity to come to you.
My mind tried to trick me into thinking, “Well, I’m positive so much of the time, I can have this little thing that I’m annoyed about. Can’t I just be annoyed about this one thing? It won’t hurt anything.“
That is a lie from your ego. Your ego wants to hang on to those little annoyances and slights, and it doesn’t have to. In fact, it does hurt when you’re negative, even a little bit- it causes more and more negativity to come in, and your ego says, “Well, you’re annoyed about that, let’s get all upset about this, shall we? And would you look at that, can you believe she said that?”
Know that this isn’t just a “little” bad mood, and it’s not just a “pet peeve.” It’s not love, and that’s incredibly damaging!
“If you realized how powerful your thoughts are, you would never think a negative thought.” -Peace Pilgrim
2. Practice radical gratitude. To help switch my mind, I wrote a “radical gratitude list.” This is immediate, present, all-encompassing gratitude – everything from what you’re wearing to the simple fact that you’re here, now:
“Thank you for my body, thank you for my skin, thank you for the clothes on my body and the shoes on my feet. Thank you that all I have is this moment. Thank you for the love I have now. Thank you that there is nothing from the past I’m carrying with me right now. Thank you for this glorious moment. Thank you for the ability to love and feel good now. Thank you for the ability to be grateful.”
“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” -G.K. Chesterton
3. Stop telling the story of the negative cycle. I could’ve started this post with, “I’m in a negative cycle today,” but that wasn’t true, and I didn’t want it to be. Say to yourself, “I was experiencing negativity, but I’m giggling now. I don’t have to feel that way – I prefer to feel good!”
4. Start telling a different story. I love having fun with this. What’s the best experience I can have right now? “I am in love with this moment! I am so grateful to be present. I am so grateful for being able to transform that negativity I experienced earlier. I am so grateful that I am full of love now. I am so grateful I can let go of what I thought should’ve happened and accept reality. Thank you for reality!”
“What we focus on, we empower and enlarge. Good multiplies when focused upon. Negativity multiplies when focused upon. The choice is ours: Which do we want more of?” -Julia Cameron, Blessings
6. Take radical responsibility for your happiness. I know that no one and nothing can make me unhappy, so this story I’m telling about “this or that” causing me to be unhappy is a lie. Too funny! I even believed it! Since it’s only up to me, it’s time to be happy. I choose to feel good!
“Happiness depends upon ourselves.” —Aristotle