Personal Growth

Positive vs. negative thinking: how have you been conditioned?

Sometimes, it is funny to see how people experience a situation, positive or negative, and from which perspective they see something. Something that is a challenge for one can be threatening for the other. Something that delivers the one pleasure can give the other person stress. For one, the glass is half full, half empty for the other.

The way we look at things is decisive for how we experience them. If you expect people to act in a particular way, they will usually not disappoint you. If you expect people to be kind, you will find that you meet nice people more often. If you expect people to be ignorant, you will also often encounter this “kind”; maybe more often than you would like. It is our focus that determines what our attention is.

A person with a positive orientation sees more good things happen in his life than someone who thinks negative. He sees more opportunities and opportunities where others do not see them. And, as a rule, has a better life with less stress.

We are bombed by information that we have to record every day: The people we meet, what they tell us, the tasks we have to accomplish and possibly anxious or even dangerous situations that we have to face.

Our brains as a filter

Our brains filter this abundance of information. This filtering is determined, among other things, by our upbringing, the country in which we live, our education, our friends and previous experiences (which may be traumatic). In other words: We behave as we are “programmed”: our conditioning. This conditioning determines how we see and experience people and events in our lives.

Conditioning not only determines how we experience things, but it also determines our standards and values. Furthermore, it also defines a large part of the choices we make. Do we opt for a safe or for a more adventurous existence? Do we choose a life dominated by fear or a life full of hope?

Is your glass half full or half empty?

Let’s do a small test. How do you see things or situations in your life? To what extent are they determined by your programming, your conditioning? Do you see them as positive or negative? Take a few minutes here. Below are a few questions that can help you:

During the last elections, did you vote out of fear or hope? Is the current economic situation a reason for concern, or do you see it as an opportunity? A chance of change on something better?

What about your work? Do you have a permanent job? Or are you more at risk, freelance or maybe you are your own boss?
Have you already thought about the next holiday? Have you been there before? Or is it something new, maybe even an adventurous destination?

What about the circle of friends, your relationship?

For clarification, there is no right or wrong answer. The only intention of this article is to become aware of the influence that conditioning has on our lives. The situations and the people we encounter and how we respond to them. Only with this knowledge can you consciously make changes to the way you look at things.

Finally, I want to give a free translation of a statement from Wayne Dyer:

If you start looking at things differently, they change automatically.

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