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In a recent post, I talked about how we should all follow our dreams, and ignore all the negative thoughts surrounding us.

So what about those external negative factors — the naysayers? Those friends and family and people in authority who tell you to stop dreaming, to be realistic, to take a more traditional path? Those who tell you that you can’t do something?

You have to learn to block them out. Or, if you have a contrarian attitude about life, learn to let those naysayers fuel your determination — make it your desire to prove the naysayers wrong!
How do you block out naysayers? The same way you block out doubts and negative thoughts in your own head: you squash them. OK, don’t literally squash another person. But when they say something negative, or something that is likely to cause doubts in your head, take that thought (in your head) and squash it. Then replace it with something positive.

If someone is constantly bringing you down and constantly making you feel like you can’t do something, you might consider removing them from your life. This sounds drastic, and it can be, but the truth is that having a life full of negative people will drag you down to their level, and stop you from doing what you want to do.

I’m not saying you should give up all your friends or never see your parents again (if they’re the naysayers), but I am saying that you should pick your friends carefully. Instead, surround yourself with positive, encouraging people. If you have friends like that, you can do anything…take my word for it.

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We live in a culture that uses labels as a means of understanding the world and the people living in it. As a result, many of us find ourselves laboring under a label that has a negative connotation. Unless we can find a way to see the good in such a label, we may feel burdened by an idea of ourselves that is not accurate. It is important to remember that almost nothing in this world is all good or all bad, and most everything is a complex mixture of gifts and challenges. In addition, different cultures revere certain qualities over others, but this does not mean that these qualities are inherently good or bad. For example, a culture that elevates outgoing behavior will label a shy person in a negative way, calling them antisocial. In truth, the ability to spend time alone is one that most great artists, mystics, and visionaries share.

Many famous artists and musicians were considered to be isolated loners or disruptive troublemakers, or sometimes both, yet these people altered history and contributed to the world an original vision or advances in our understanding of the universe. We should try to remember this as we examine our own selves, and when we label others because they don’t behavior like us or share different opinions. There is a bright side to any characterization.

If you have been labeled, remember that all you have to do to see the positive side is to turn the label around. For example, when I first met my fiancée I considered her to be overly emotional, and the fact that I have perceived her in such way got me in a lot of trouble in the early stages of our relationship. But notice, too, the gifts of being able to feel and express your emotions, in a world that doesn’t always encourage that and labels you to be weak. Being labeled as overly emotional, might help you see yourself as brave or open-hearted enough to stay alive to your feelings.

Everyone of us at one time or another in our lives have been labeled as something we’re not; sometimes it’s merely to the amusement of others – particularly here on our nature island. But as you turn these labels around, let them guide you on your way.

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