The other day when I was driving, a roadside sign caught my eye. It said: “Worry is the darkroom that develops our negatives.” Wow. What a powerful statement, and how very true.
To worry means to feel anxious or uneasy. All worry is a product of the mind. We can use our minds to keep us in either a positive or a negative state. When we begin to imagine negative things— about how a situation will turn out, what people will think of us, whether we will succeed—we put ourselves into a state of fear. When we replay the same fear thoughts over and over, they begin to take up permanent residence in our minds. Before long, they take on the aura of truth.
Isn’t this a little like a photographic negative develops? At first the image is very faint, but gradually it takes on a clear, bright focus. Now imagine there are many aspects of life about which one worries. Think of all of these negatives being developed over time. Soon, our mind is cluttered with pictures that do not make us very happy. Our world may seem to be an unfriendly, inhospitable place.
But wait, did this not all start with our imagining negatives? Could we have made it otherwise? The fact is that we are in control of our own minds, and our minds control the reality in which we live. We can choose how we look at things. We can choose to focus on the good in ourselves, others and our world. We can choose not to judge others, and not to take offence.
We can do this even if we think we have been wronged. Nothing can truly hurt us unless we allow it to do so. If another person behaves badly towards us, that is their issue, and we do not have to take it on. We can refuse to get into a negative process in response.
So if we find our minds wandering into negative territory, it may be wise to remember that the negative, in life as in photography, is not the true picture. What is real and true is the positive.
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