Overcoming Negativity and Learning to Let Go
Overcoming Negativity and Learning to Let Go
Categories: RECENT RESEARCH
Dr. Gregory Jantz, Ph.D.
Originally posted 7/3/15
Don’t miss Dr. Jantz speaking at the AACC Fall CMHC summit in Naperville IL, Nov. 3-5 2016! Click Here for More Information!
The fabric of our lives is made up of all the threads we choose to hold on to. Every event, every circumstance, every impression produces a thread. Especially as counselors, it is important to be intentional about the threads you choose to keep so that we may remain available and intentional with our practice.
There is an interesting verse in Scripture that talks about these threads. The book of Luke starts out with the story of the birth of Christ. In the second chapter, the Bible speaks of how the shepherds in their fields at night saw the glory of God proclaiming the birth. Excited, the shepherds go into town and find Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus, and tell of all the amazing things they’ve seen and heard. Verse 19 says, “But Mary treasured all of these things and pondered them in her heart.” I’ve always liked that verse because it provides a little bit of insight into the remarkable woman who was the mother of Jesus. Mary took in what was happening around her, what was being said about her child and about herself. She treasured these things and tucked them deep into her heart. Mary kept a record; she wove a thread. These amazing events would help sustain her in the confusion and heartache to come. Perhaps she even thought of the things of his birth at his death.
We have the capacity to remember a great deal, and as counselors, we are faced with great human difficulty. This can also make it difficult to let things go. Again, Scripture speaks about this propensity to hold on to things. In the apostle Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, he gives a beautiful treatise on love in the thirteenth chapter. I would venture to say this passage is one of the most beloved and quoted in all of Scripture.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.’’ –1 Corinthians 13:14-7
That’s a very tall order. I want you to especially think about the part that says “it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” When you keep a record of wrongs, when you choose to weave in threads of hurt, resentment, pain, frustration, irritation, and negativity into the fabric of your life, you will become easily angered. Or, put another way: if you keep a record of wrongs, you will be consumed by the negativity and lose your capacity to fully be a servant of God.
I can’t remember all the studies I’ve seen over the years, but it has become almost conventional wisdom that to counter a single negative, you have to have multiple positives. Maybe you’ve heard something similar, that it takes ten positive statements to counterbalance a negative one. I don’t know about the actual numbers, but negatives just seem to carry more weight than positives do. I’ve seen it in others and felt it in my own life.
I have spent a good deal of my professional life speaking at seminars and giving interviews. Of course, I always want to do a good job whenever I speak. Invariably, after the seminar is finished or the interview is over, I’ll go over in my mind how it went. If I’m not careful, I’ll end up dwelling not on what I did say but on what I should have said. And if, heaven forbid, I should mix something up or say it differently than I meant to, I have a tendency to fixate on that. One misspoken word can threaten my view of the entire event.
It’s not just me; it is human nature and the power that negatives have in life. This is why it takes so many positives to counteract the negative. It’s as if you don’t quite trust the veracity of all those positives, while the one negative becomes proof positive. If just one negative, one “wrong” has such weight, can you imagine the critical mass generated by an extensive “record of wrongs”? This pressure becomes overwhelming, and harmful to our practice and our wellbeing.
If you are suffering under the weight of frustrations, disappointments, and negativity, I encourage you to take a step back, and focus on self-care. It is imperative that we as counselors take appropriate care of ourselves in order to be available for others. I have experienced these moments of darkness in my own life, which is why I created a Professional Health and Wellness Program in conjunction with the AACC. For more information call1.888.726.8125 to discuss any of your questions and to confirm your reservation.
Like what you read? Come hear more from Dr. Jantz as he joins us as a plenary speaker at the Fall 2016 Church and Mental Health Summit. This incredible event will be held at Calvary Church in Naperville, IL on November 3-5th, 2016. Come listen, learn, and fellowship with other professionals and experts. The Church and Mental Health 2016 Summit is one that you do not want to miss! Visit www.cmhcsummit.com to learn more!
Gregory Jantz, Ph.D., is the founder of The Center • A Place of HOPE and author of 28 books. Pioneering whole-person care nearly 30 years ago, Dr. Jantz has dedicated his life’s work to creating possibilities for others, and helping people change their lives for good. The Center • A Place of HOPE, located on the Puget Sound in Edmonds, Washington, creates individualized programs to treat behavioral and mental health issues, including eating disorders, addiction, depression, anxiety and others.