How can we turn negativity to further our purpose?
Communication or influence from a naysayer, can it be all bad? Whether we are related or working with someone at a job or volunteer location, focused and determined criticism toward us is usually unsettling. Negativity against our values, abilities, and our dreams is cutting and even mind-numbing. Does that mean—nothing can rescue us—when naysayer(s) speak criticism to purposely direct what we can and cannot accomplish? What if their attitude and comments cause us to question our worth? Are they truly correct in their judgments?
I would have to say that not everything about a naysayer is negative for us. That critical eye not only discourages and is oppressive, but there may be some truth to what is said. But don’t listen to the point of where someone else’s words hinder developing that special gift or excellent desire held inside your heart. Measure their words against what is known about the particular craft, or dream. Yes, become so knowledgeable and skilled in that said desire that gratitude for the prompting from that naysayer replaces all bitterness, anger, and insecurity.
BEGIN by making a list of ways to strengthen your presentation or accomplishment—if there is something mentioned in the criticism that is worthy of notice. (Sometimes naysayers’ offerings are so far from the truth that there is nothing to redeem from the time spent under their influence.) But, then again, we may have a niggling sense that we should begin or end differently. Maybe we needed to become more professional with our advertisement or writing presentations. We need not wallow in self-pity. Make the truth and skill of your dream arise to new heights.
THINK on the positive, building, and excellent notions that will increase skill, productivity, and benefits of the dream. Our thoughts are powerful, which places us in the position of being our best friend or worse enemy. There are studies about our brain and the influence of negativity—especially what we allow ourselves to ponder. Pushing forward and advancing toward silver lining thinking and increasing the benefits of our positive influence for others actually creates physically changes our brain. Look to Caroline Leaf’s book Switch On Your Brain The Key to PEAK HAPPINESS, THINKING AND HEALTH.
REMEMBER those who have gone before. For example, I’ve been reading ‘Tis Herself AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY by Maureen O’Hara with John Nicoletti. Maureen O’Hara allowed a painful situation with two negative teachers to motivate this internal—not spoken out loud—goal at a very young age, “I’m going to become the most famous actress in the world and one day you both are going to boast to everyone you know that I was in your class.” Major General, Lew Wallace’s Ben Hur: A Tale of Christ 1880, which was appreciated by President Grant and considered the most influential Christian book of the nineteenth century for its popularity, was born from criticism. Lew Wallace, unable to defend his belief in Christ to a well-known atheist motivated him to study deeply and immerse himself in historical truth, so that he could write Ben Hur as a witness.
CHALLENGE Yes, I challenge you and myself to push toward our own purpose and possibly our own ‘Ben Hur’ blessing to the world. The joy of the Lord is our strength. Hang in there and prosper your spirit by encouraging and developing that special gift you have to share. It is worth the work – believe it!
Susan Marlene Kinney is published in Splickety Love Magazine, The Novice and newspapers. She writes devotions, fiction, and nonfiction. She is a member and co-founder of Pens of Praise Christian Writers and is a member of Jerry Jenkins Writers Guild, American Christian Fiction Writers, ACFW WISE, and Lighthouse Christian Writers. She speaks at writers groups and prepares devotions and teachings often for Pens of Praise Christian Writers. She is a wife, mother, grandmother and At-Risk Teacher’s Aide. She loves antiques and training her Leonberger, who in turn loves to train her. But don't tell the cat, she thinks she has everyone under control.