By Rev. Kurt Condra
My name is Kurt and I'm a recovering pessimist. I'm addicted to negative thinking. I know how instantaneously a new idea or approach can trigger an avalanche of rationalizing why it won't work and justifications for not trying. I know first-hand negativity's toxic nature and how it sabotages growth, relationships, success, joy and grace-filled living.
But having been in recovery for 25 years (since finding Unity and beginning to practice spiritual principles), I'm getting better at catching and interrupting old tendencies to complain, blame and obstruct. Still, recovery is a life-long process.
First step, as in all awareness practices, is noticing you've fallen off the wagon. Sounds easy, but even the most masterful students of Truth get mired in the muck of stubbornness and pessimism without realizing it. Next is admitting there may be another perspective, a more fruitful way forward, and asking for guidance. After that, it's just a matter of thinking, believing and acting in concert with the divine solution wanting to express.
Understand, I'm not suggesting that considered criticism and honest assessment of problems and challenges are not valid. But too often, such claims arise from fear and insecurities. They serve to preserve ego and the status quo rather than as stepping stones to productive change.
Philippians 4:8 provides excellent coaching for us recovering pessimists: "Finally beloved..whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things."
It works if you work it.