Over the last few months, within a social group, I have got to know a young man called Andy (not his real name). What I noticed about Andy from the beginning, was that his attitude was quite a negative one. As I have quietly observed him through several interactions in this group, this negativity has manifested in so many areas of his life: he is estranged from his family, he doesn’t have a job, he is always short of money, he often gets into arguments with people, he just can’t see the good in anything. In conversations with him, whenever I would try to point out a silver lining on the cloud, he would immediately repaint it black. We have a saying “For every problem, there is a solution”. Andy seems to have rewritten this “For every solution, there is a problem”.
A couple of evenings ago, after witnessing a particularly intense argument Andy got himself into, with somebody who I know is by nature a calm and reasonable guy and who was actually trying to let Andy know that his problems stemmed from his negativity, I felt inspired to speak to Andy personally. I didn’t get involved in the argument, I took Andy to one side privately. I told him that from what I could see, he didn’t seem to have much happiness in his life. I didn’t see much point in sugar-coating it. Andy agreed with this. However, he seemed to be blaming everyone and everything else for his unhappiness. I gently told him this was not the case, and I gave him my telephone number. I told him I would like to help him, and that I believed I could if he would give me a call.
“When the student is ready, the teacher will appear” – Buddhist proverb
Andy called me today. We had such a pleasant chat for about 90 minutes. I could tell that Andy had reinforced so many negative thoughts and beliefs over the years, and he admitted that he suffers from depression and a lack of confidence in himself. He is angry at his father who won’t help him get a job at his father’s works. I found that his father has actually secured him employment several times but Andy has always lost the job because of his negative attitude. I told him I could only help him if he could see what he was responsible for creating and if he was open to making a few changes. He said he is! I asked him how much better would he feel if he could find his own job, rather than expecting his father to get him one. He liked that idea. So far Andy has already taken 2 important steps: he has made the call, and he has said he wants to change. Excellent start.
“If you always do what you always did, you always get what you always got.” – Anon
I heard this quote many years ago, and whenever I see the same unwanted manifestation in my life that has occurred before, it pops into my head like it’s on auto-pilot and I know I have to change something, however small.
I used the boomerang as a metaphor in my talking with Andy. I told him that what we put out there, by our words, thoughts, feelings and actions, is like a boomerang, it will come back to us. To change what we are receiving in life, we must be conscious of what we send out from ourselves. Fear, anger, resentment, blame will come back at us and of course we will not feel very good when it hits us. However, when we send out gratitude, appreciation, acceptance, patience, love, oh they feel so good when they come back.
I set Andy three exercises to do, to raise his energy and put some good stuff on his boomerang.
1) Go out and help somebody, with no expectation of reward.
One of Andy’s biggest problems is his lack of work. He feels he is not worth anything because he is not contributing to society, he is not paying his own way.
Andy lives on a housing estate where I know there are many elderly people living. I suggested he could go out and look for someone to help, perhaps with a bit of gardening. He hadn’t thought of doing anything like that, however he liked that idea. I told him not to ‘expect’ any payment, ‘expect’ being the operative word because an expectation can produce a negative emotion if it doesn’t materialise. He would be rewarded by his own sense and good feeling that he has helped somebody, and that is a really good thing to put on a boomerang.
2) In the evening before going to sleep, write down at least 5 things that you are grateful for.
“I haven’t got anything to be grateful for, my life’s shit”, said Andy. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t expecting such a cut-and-dried negative response as that, however I was pleased to recognise just how basic a level we needed to begin in this training. I reminded Andy that he does have a roof over his head. He said he’d been waiting in for 3 days for his landlord to send a repairman that still hadn’t turned up. It was a relatively minor repair that didn’t impact on his quality of living, other than his decreased energy level in complaining about it. I told him I recognised this emotion, and that while he was sending out that boomerang, the repairman wouldn’t turn up. I told him about how I changed my boomerang about issues like this, and how they began resolving themselves easily. He had to stop complaining about little annoyances like this, because they only get bigger and bigger. We talked more about things he could be grateful for and he agreed to try and write a few gratitudes every day.
I explained that the purpose of this is to reduce the amount of negative thoughts and replace them with positive thoughts, which you take into your sleep with you, and have a much better-quality of rest.
3) Get up in the morning, draw the curtains, look out and say “What a gorgeous day!”
“I don’t have any curtains,” Andy said “I can’t afford any”. “Even better,” I said “you can see the sunshine before you even get out of bed”. Andy laughed. I told him the purpose of this is so he can start sending out good-feeling boomerangs right at the start of the day. It really does make a difference to your energy level and the brightness of your day.
When you affirm what you want, you send that intention out on a boomerang. It makes it more real, and far enhances your chances of receiving what you want. However, the affirmations you choose need to FEEL real and achievable to you in the present.
In Andy’s situation at the moment, he wants a job, but he hasn’t got one, so it will feel like a lie for him to say “I have a great job”. However, if he can say “I really like to work”, this feels more real, which is why I suggested doing some gardening for someone, because he can think that thought as he is working in the garden.
Andy wants to be a more positive person. He told me that. So rather than saying “I am a positive person” when he doesn’t really feel it at the moment, I suggested to him the affirmation “I CHOOSE to become a more positive person”. He quite liked that one and repeated it a few times, each time sounding more confident.
We chatted a bit more, he sounded more fired up and guess what happened as we ended our conversation? The repairman knocked on his door! YES, the boomerangs can come back that quickly 😀