How much do you remember about driving to work on Wednesday last week?
How much do you remember about that last dispute with your spouse or a friend, even if it may have been a long time ago? What did he or she say that hurt?
We not only remember things and events better when the energy level connected with them is high, but many of us have an ingrained negativity bias. Wikipedia.org describes negativity bias as "the psychological phenomenon by which humans have a greater recall of unpleasant memories compared with positive memories. [Such] People are seen to be much more biased to the avoidance of negative experiences. They seem to behave in ways that will help them avoid these events. With this, humans are much more likely to recall and be influenced by the negative experiences of the past." The assumption here is that remembering negative experiences will somehow help us avoid them.
One way scientists explain this bias is that, during the history of humanity, it helped mankind survive. If there was a rustling in the bushes, the (negative) assumption that there was a tiger out there lurking to get our ancestors helped them escape. So they lived and passed on that trait to us. Would-be ancestors without that trait ended up as somebody else's lunch and thus could not pass on their characteristics.
The world we live in, however, has changed. Very few of us still need the negativity bias trait in order to survive their day. For most of us, it is unnecessary and an obstacle on our way to health, happiness and fulfillment. In my own life, I have made the experience that the negativity bias can lead to unwanted emotional incidences and to the constriction of possibilities, limiting our potential and range of what we go for and can achieve.
Here is an approach for reducing the influence of this obsolete negative bias in your life:
The first aspect is becoming conscious and aware of your thoughts, reactions and restrictions about a person or situation, knowing that you can actively change those thoughts to a positive or at least neutral evaluation.
Changing your thinking to neutral or even positive helps in more than one way. It enables you to "see" more fully, in a more unrestricted, unlimited, unbiased way. You may discover aspects you had not been able to recognize and/or appreciate before. At the same time, neutral or positive thoughts help to reduce the tension in body and mind that automatically builds up when in "negative mode."
Then allow yourself to delve in that neutral or positive way of perceiving, let it sink in and give it some amplified attention. Often, at this stage, an idea for resolution comes up. Whether or not this is the case, send blessings to any or all aspects involved, including yourself. This process can be applied in an instant for a lot of negativity bias situations. If the issue or situation calls for it, however, give yourself more time to work things through.
You can also use this process for resolving limitations you placed on yourself, or accepted based on the comments of other people. When you were a child, did somebody tell you that you cannot draw or paint, sing or dance? In all likelihood, you believed it at the time, and are still carrying this limitation with you. But really, this was just another person's opinion, a point of view that you accepted, and it was rooted in a weird kind of negativity bias, or maybe in thoughtlessness.
My suggestion is that you make it a habit to pay attention to your negativity bias and the limitations it places on you. Then actively create your own, positive reality in a conscious way. Find what you love, and do it, or do more of it.
The proposition here is that if you really love to do something enough to give it attention, focus, energy, and very likely some hard work, too, you will be successful at it and will make a positive contribution to making the world a better place, regardless of what other people think or say about what is possible or not, about what you cannot or can do.
Set off and leave your own, personal, positive tracks in the world.
Astrid Mohr-Kiehn is a translator, author and photographer and an Alaka`i of Huna International. She offers Huna and Lomi Lomi workshops in Germany and beyond (in German and English). Further information can be found at www.huna-for-success.com.