A while back Leslie posted about how we should spend some time remembering our past, in order to learn from it, but we should be careful not to dwell on the past–especially past pain, slights and hurts. Dwelling on negative experiences can cause anger, depression, shame, anxiety and other unhealthy emotions. In his letter to the Philippians, the apostle Paul tells us what we should dwell on:
“Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” Philippians 4:8
Have you heard the expression, “garbage in, garbage out”? The original meaning is if we put inaccurate data into our computer, or equation, the answer we get will be equally wrong. In the same way, if we spend time feeding our minds with regret over our own past mistakes, annoyance with the bad behavior of others, and anger about the things we don’t have that we deserve, what we get out of life will be equally unpleasant. Nobody will enjoy being around us, and we’ll be unable to recognize the gifts that we have. On the other hand, if we focus on the positive aspects of our own personality, if we build others up instead of tearing them down, and are thankful for the many blessings we receive daily, we’ll soon develop an “attitude of gratitude.” We’ll appreciate ourselves and others and be thankful to God. Wouldn’t you rather focus on the positive?