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Negative Thinking – One of Our Greatest Enemies

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Our negative thinking and certainly speaking, causes there to be others that think and speak negatively against us – however if we use our thoughts and words for prayer and Torah-study and we pray for our enemies, then their evil dissipates.

(Baal Shem Tov)

There are days when you happily arrive at work and find yourself in conversation with a colleague who can only “grumble”. No matter how good your humour was, it affects you, and there is a good chance that you will be in a less good mood yourself afterwards. You might even walk away “grumbling” at your colleague…gone good humour because of your “whining”.

But this also happens visa versa when yourself start “grumbling” at another person or venting your bad mood. * The negative feeling you give others will also start sharing with others, making it more and more widespread like ripples in a pond.

It is not difficult to understand that this is how words work. But it also works this way with our thoughts. Our thoughts influence our behaviour. If we think gloomy or negative, our behaviour will show it. For instance, by our facial expression, our way of walking, the tone in our voice.

Our negetive thoughts/feelings are our biggest enemy. When we realise this, we want to start fighting them, however, often without desired results, or indeed we strengthen our negative thoughts as a result, because giving negative attention to negative thoughts/feelings also strengthens the negative thoughts/feelings.

We need to pray for our enemies, for our literal enemies – if we have any [chas weshalom] but certainly for our own inner enemies. Do not fight when a negative thought arises, but recognise that we have one and then pray to G-d that He will use this thought or feeling (or the basis underlying it) for good.

Suppose your negative thought is “I can’t do that” then you can start fighting that with “I can do that” but as soon as you notice that it doesn’t work out anyway you give up and your thought of “I can’t do that” is confirmed and thus strengthened. By Torah study through prayer we bring that thought to G-d in the conviction and emunah (complete trust) that He who gives Everything to us for good will use this thought for good at the time He deems right.

By Angelique Sijbolts

Sources: 850 Sayings of The Baal Shem Tov – Kesser Shem Tov by Rabbi Yisroel

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