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Anything that annoys you is teaching you patience. Anyone who abandons you is teaching you how to stand on your own two feet. Anything that angers you is teaching you forgiveness and compassion. Anything that has power over you is teaching you how to take your power back. Anything you hate is teaching you, unconditional love. Anything you fear is teaching you courage to overcome your fear. Anything you can’t control is teaching you how to let go. Unknown

Is it easier to be negative than positive? Is it easier to see the glass as half empty instead of half full? I watched a You tube video. Social Psychologist Alison Ledgerwood was saying in a study they told one group they had a forty percent chance of failure and another group they had a sixty percent chance of success. The group with the sixty percent chance of success was happy, but the group with the forty percent failure rate was not. When it was explained to the side with the forty percent failure rate it’s really a sixty percent success rate it made no difference. When it was explained to the sixty percent success rate it’s really a forty percent failure rate they weren’t happy either. Once the loss frame gets in our mind we can’t go back to the positive frame.

She showed a graph of how the consumer confidence fell along with the economy in 2008. It did not, however, rise with the economy. This shows it may be easier to fix the economy than consumer confidence.

This may be why when something good happens we feel really good for a short period of time. When something bad happens we feel bad for a longer period of time and if something good happens we enjoy it but we can’t quit thinking about the bad thing that happened.

We have a fundamental tilt towards the negative. It seems our brains are wired to be more sensitive to the negative bias. Our very survival depended on keeping out of harm’s way, our brain developed a system that makes it unavoidable to notice danger, and hopefully respond to it.

This was a light bulb moment for me. It makes sense we are affected more by a negative situation than a positive one. Telling someone to just get over it, doesn’t work and isn’t helpful. It is probably why we are told that it is easy to lose trust but hard to rebuild it. A negative situation has more power than positive situations and for good reason. Maya Angelou told us, “when someone shows you who they are, believe them.” Things were whispered in our ear that put someone in a bad light. Miscommunication, misunderstandings, and unmet expectations converge to create a negative image. Even if the negative image is not warranted, it is there. It needs to be dealt with, it will take time. Pretending it isn’t there and doesn’t need to be dealt with is not helpful. Trust, love, and security, in that trust and love, will need to be rebuilt. It will take time, it will take commitment.

It is during this rebuilding stage we need to be more loving, bring more positives into the relationship to balance the negative we are overcoming. Negativity can easily build on itself like a snowball. Someone feels judged, someone feels hurt. This is not the time to develop a hard shell and be invulnerable. If things are to work out we have to get our feelings out into the open and love each other through the pain, shame, hurt, and regret. We can’t prove what our intentions were after the fact. If actions are misinterpreted we have to deal with the misinterpretation. Just because something didn’t happen doesn’t change how someone feels about what they think happened.

A diamond is a chunk of coal that did well under pressure. Henry Kissinger

Numerous researchers have found there is an ideal balance between positivity and negativity in our intimate relationships. Even couples who argue a lot and are volatile balance their frequent arguments with demonstrations of love and passion. The ratio in positive relationships seems to be about five to one positive to negative reactions. Couples who were heading for divorce were doing too few positive things to compensate for the growing negativity between them.

The same ratio is important in all areas of our life. It is the frequency of small positive acts in a ratio of about five to one that matters the most. We can use this knowledge in our workplace, groups we belong to, relationships with our children, friends and other family members. Negativity spirals out of control we need to bring in positives to counteract it.

This means when we hit a rough spot we need to make an effort to have more fun, laugh, eat out, go out with friends, and celebrate the highs to compensate for the negatives we are going through. Find ways to fill the love tanks and bring fun and frivolity into our lives.

This may explain why during good economic times the music is more depressing and during tough economic times, the music is happier, uplifting and positive. Do people dance more during tough economic times than in happy times? Perhaps this is why we perceive the poor having more fun than the rich, and why people look fondly on the tougher times in their lives when they made more of an effort to socialize and have fun.

Tough times never last, but tough people do.  Robert H. Schuller

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Think and Make It Happen: The Breakthrough Program for Conquering Anxiety, Overcoming Negative Thoughts, and Discovering Your True Potential Hardcover – Dec 30 2008