By Emily Clawson
As a student of the philosophies of abundance, I have learned that it is important to always keep a positive outlook on life. I’ve learned that when I think positive thoughts about my life that more positive circumstances come my way. Sometimes, I really struggle, though. I know that my negativity is making it harder for the things that I desire to find their way to me but I just can’t seem to muster any positive energy. Do you ever struggle with this? Let me share what I’ve learned that has helped me.
In Leslie Householder’s book Hidden Treasures: Heaven’s Astonishing Help With Your Money Matters, she talks about seven laws of thought that we can use as tools in our toolboxes. When we are struggling we can pull out the tool that will help us at that time with the exact trouble we are facing. The second law, the Law of Relativity, states that nothing that we face, no circumstance or event, is fundamentally good or bad unless we compare it to something else. When I first heard that I thought, no way! The money problems that I am facing are fundamentally bad! But as I learned more I came to understand this law.
At one point in my early married life my husband got a bonus paycheck. It was unexpected and that five hundred dollars made us feel like we were rich. Our conscious minds assigned a positive meaning to that five hundred dollars and we were very happy. Contrast that to a few years ago when my husband was working for a company that was struggling. When we received our paycheck it was only five hundred dollars. We were devastated. How were we supposed to support our family for two weeks on only five hundred dollars? In both instances we received checks for the same amount of money. What made one good and the other bad? You might say that the circumstances surrounding the check were what made the difference. In reality our perception was what made all the difference. We perceived one as good and one as bad because we were comparing it to something else. With the bonus check we were comparing the five hundred dollar check to getting no check at all. With the paycheck we were comparing the five hundred dollars to the much larger sum we had anticipated.
How can you use this law to help you over a financial hurdle? By applying the Law of Relativity in your favor. When you face a circumstance you have the choice to compare your circumstance to something better than what you are facing and consequently assign a negative meaning to the event or you can choose to assign a positive meaning by realizing how much worse things could be. Let me share an example.
Some time ago we were facing some serious financial hardships. Our savings was gone, bills were piling up, cars were breaking down, my husband needed to have minor surgery which would cost a few thousand dollars and, in addition to that, he would be out of work without pay for a few weeks. Every way I turned it felt like something new was being thrown in my path. I was extremely overwhelmed. Whenever I would try to dredge up those old positive thoughts they felt false and I eventually stopped trying all together. It was at the height, or should I say depth, of these stresses that I read a book called Left to Tell, by Imaculee Ilabageza. It was about how this remarkable woman had survived the Rwandan Genocide by living in a tiny, hidden bathroom with six other women for three months time. As I thought about her experience and the experiences of all of those involved in this horrible tragedy I was suddenly able to see with great clarity just how much I had to be thankful for and this one thought came to my mind over and over again. I am able to put my children to bed every night knowing that they are safe, fed, comfortable and warm. What a comforting thing! Just that tiny spark of hope began to burn again and it led to another and another as I realized just how blessed I truly was. The most amazing thing happened. As I compared my circumstances to those of the people who had lived through this horrifying genocide I began to feel joy even while I was still facing the same struggles. My positive outlook returned, stronger than ever and I was able to see new ways to handle our financial burdens.
It’s important to never use the Law of Relativity against yourself. Remember that these are tools in your toolbox. Use the right one at the right time. Frequently we use this law against ourselves by comparing our circumstances to someone who we see as having more favorable ones. This can lead us to feel depressed and discouraged and when we are in that state of mind we can’t see the solutions to our problems. Instead we should always be grateful for what we have, using the Law of Relativity to help us to assign positive meaning to every situation that we face.
Through using the Law of Relativity, and the other Laws of Thought, you can have joy even while facing difficult circumstances and your mind can be open see and understand the answers you are looking for.