Some time ago I bought an unusual piece of software: It runs positive affirmations on my computer, so they can influence me while I work. Sentences like "I am full of confidence" or "I love everyone I meet".
The kind that is supposed to help me so that I stop being negative.
I liked the idea, but much to my surprise, it didn't feel completely right. I just couldn't understand why. After all, I was doing the right thing...
I was, wasn't I? I mean, I tried to ignore the not-so-positive thoughts I'm capable of, and I was reinforcing the good ones instead of. That's good, isn't it?
Maybe not. Imagine we agree that, in order to prevent further killings in our world, we will remove every killer from the face of the earth. Kill the killer. If we do that consequently we will have to kill the person who killed the killer as well. In the end, there will be no one left here to enjoy the peace...
What happens if we negate our negativity?
For some reason it makes me think about the Middle East conflict. How did it all begin? Being Jewish I can see it from the Jewish point of view. Having been a refugee earlier in my life, I can see it from the Palestinian point of view as well. But, I know very little about history or politics, so what I am going to say here is merely a picture, nothing more. This article is not about politics - it's about inner conflicts. That being said, here is my picture:
I suppose it all started with the mutual lack of acceptance between the Jews and those around them. A conflict that often led to suppression, isolation, violence. Out of the conflict the idea emerged, that the only way to resolve it was to remove the problem. The Nazis tried to remove the problem by removing the Jews altogether. Some of the Jews decided to remove the problem by removing themselves from a hostile world and create their own home somewhere else. To ignore the negativity and to move to something more positive. Naturally they (and the United Nations) agreed on their biblical home: Israel. But, there were people having their home there already - the Palestinians.
Now, all the Jews wanted was to live in peace, alone. So did the Palestinians, I'm sure. Apparently none of the parties wished to blend, to cherish and love each other, to share the home. Over time, the old negativity reappeared, the mutual lack of tolerance and understanding accelerated, leading to the bloody situation we witness today.
Could it be, that trying to remove the problem doesn't lead to peace?
If I have a problem or if I see one, my immediate reaction is to do something about it. I want to get rid of it. I don't want it to bother me. If I encounter negativity, within myself or within someone else, my spontaneous reaction is: Stop being negative!
It's only natural, isn't it? We don't want negativity. We want peace, happiness, joy of life, and love. But do I create joy of life by trying to remove negativity? In my experience, mostly it just leads to more negativity...
Telling the negative person not to be negative certainly doesn't help. Even only ignoring the negativity can make things worse.
Thinking "I love everyone I meet" doesn't lead to love if it is being said to suppress the part that does not love everyone.
The only thing that does it is love itself.
I don't think love removes or ignores anything at all! Love just is. Love doesn't fight those who fight. Love doesn't turn its back on them either. Love embraces the battlefield. Love embraces everyone and everything.
Which brings me back to where we started. Boy, would I love to say: "I love everyone I meet." Only it wouldn't be completely true. Cause pretty often I just can't feel that love.
So... So what if I say: it's OK. My negativity is here to stay. Like a little rock inside of me.
But then... Love is here to stay too! It's like the air, all over, and within me too. (If I let it in, that is. If I don't stop breathing.)
If I don't hide the rock, love will find it. And love doesn't want to remove it at all. It loves that rock! (Love just can't help loving, you know).
The rock can feel that... Little by little, without knowing it, the rock will feel it so much, it will become love itself.
If you too have a rock inside you (maybe it's not a rock, it's just something that you don't like)... don't hide it from yourself. Don't ignore it. Feel it. Feel it for as long as it takes. Give it your love and attention.
Then listen to some loving music (like New Age Music) and take a walk. Neither music nor nature will try to change you. They'll embrace you. That's just the way it is. Let them love every single part of you.
But, you might say, I can't possibly remember to be open all the time, and just to accept and love my negativity!
Well, you could work with an affirmation like: "I love my negativity too."
But you don't have to, darling! Don't worry!
You are all right!