The power of positive thinking cannot be understated.
As someone who has lived a life based upon the principle of strong faith, it is so very seldom that I am doubtful or pessimistic.
As a child, my mother often cautioned me against wearing “rose-colored glasses,” or in other words, always looking at the bright side of circumstances. Mom wasn’t being harsh; rather, I believe she was trying to protect me from any upcoming disappointment.
But, in spite of her cautioning, I tended to look at the upside of any situation. For instance, when I got off the school bus one evening and my beloved dog didn’t greet me, I simply believed he had left my house for a better home.
If someone I loved very dearly passed away, I wouldn’t bemoan my never seeing them again. I’d relish the fact that they weren’t suffering any longer with a prolonged, chronic illness. It was easier to be happy for an end to their suffering than it was for me to concentrate on not being able to make more memories with that person.
This isn’t to say that my life has been a tribute to positive thinking. Like anyone, I’ve had moments of struggle, particularly when my dad and grandparents died. But, I didn’t wallow. I didn’t mope.
Reared in the church, I was immensely fond of Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” It’s based, for me, upon the notion that God is not a God of failure. Surely if He took care of people of the Old and New Testament, I’m sure he could help take care of lowly, ole me.
This scripture from Hebrews also reminds me of the stance from the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. — one has to take the first step even when not able to see the staircase.
Historically, King may not have seen an immediate end to the Montgomery bus boycott (it lasted 381 days) that brought an end to discrimination onbuses, but he knew an end would be accomplished. He may not have known that the sit-ins, which originated at my alma mater, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in Greensboro, on Feb. 1, 1960, would end segregation at lunch counters nationwide, but he must have known that the outcome would be better than the beginning.
How could a God who took care of slaves on plantations, sharecroppers in the South, Negro migrants to Northern cities, children integrating schools in the 60s and 70s, my daddy in Vietnam, and so many others … how could that God not care for me in a one-stoplight town in North Carolina?
I never believed He couldn’t.
But, this positive mindset is something I learned from my great-grandfather Clad, a man who lived to see a man land on the moon, the invention of the computer and personal printer, the telephone answering machine and mobile phone, automatic teller machine, the microwave and the artificial human heart.
He also saw the invention of the pacemaker, a device that helped prolong a life he lived with gusto and fervor. I’d ask granddaddy how he was, and without fail, he would say, ‘I can’t mumble or grumble.’
From that example, I learned not to complain, not to whine. The Bible teaches that as a man thinks in his heart, so is he (Proverbs 23:7).
I believe that if I think defeat, I am already defeated. Positive thinking is good physiologically. There is no need to add unnecessary stress or worry to my life, which could lead to high-blood pressure, hair loss, headaches, etc.
I’d rather read a Bible verse and live by it.
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”