We have all heard people talk about “being positive” and taking control of our thoughts- Cue eye roll and polite smile.
When I would hear people talk about positive thinking, I wanted to picture what it actually meant or even better, I just wanted positive thoughts to magically start happening in my life, through sheer will power.
Take positive thinking off your to-do list
If you have ever found yourself adding “positive thinking” to your to-do list and really not knowing what that might look like in your life, here is a small example of something that came up for me last night, that could help.
Last night, I as looking for ways to prioritize the things I really wanted to accomplish most in a day. I had the thought come to plan out the details of my schedule for tomorrow, real quick.
I opened my phone with every intention to put the schedule in and without realizing, did a bunch of other random stuff!
When I first realized I was doing this, my initial thought was: “Oh my gosh! I asked for inspiration and had a good idea and now…”. That is about where the thought stopped.
In the past, the thoughts would have continued and I would have probably felt that all the guilt was proof I was not up to the task of organizing my time anyway!
Phew! Heavy, now you get the jest of how a lot of my thought processes used to go.
Laughing at ourselves
Anyway, this time, after I felt initial thought of “Oh my gosh! I had a good idea, and now …”, I found space. I stopped the thoughts and instead said to myself, “Wow step number one of trying to get more organized was a pretty funny first attempt”.
It is hilarious that I asked for help, received it….. and got on my phone and did something else! I literally started laughing.
Here I was, exploring new ways of scheduling priorities and finding myself distracted on my phone!
The truth about our minds
For most of life, my mind, like many of ours, was just reacting, all the time to whatever was happening. I did NOT even notice it one bit, so of course, I did not know there was another option.
My good friend (and amazing health coach) Shantelle, has, a few different times, shared this quote with me, “Between stimulus and response there is space and in that space lies our power” -Victor Frankl. I find that when a stimulus happens, it is kind of the weirdest, thing but there actually really is a slowing down you can feel; instead of reacting, you feel a quiet space to choose other ways of thinking and acting.
I am super visual, so to me, it feels like a train, or ball of energy, in motion that pauses and can then can reverse or go however I choose.
If this sounds abstract. Here is one more example of the thought process train.
It's just a brownie
Recently, I have gotten a lot more physically healthy. I found myself looking at a brownie the other day and immediately the thought came into my head, “that will make me fat…” The thoughts continued, “Huh! What an interesting thought. Look at that pressure I used to feel a lot of the time!”
I looked at the brownie, slowed things down and just breathed into the feelings. I tried to let it just be a brownie. Phew! A piece of food. Not good or bad, neutral. By the way, this is a practice, I will probably always be putting time and effort into.
Real freedom from guilt
I can not express how worth it is to find some love and encouragement for myself in life, rather than guilt and feeling that I “should” be something else.
God helped bring about a blog post (my first one in fact!), out of some awkward, time management, self-sabotaging. And that my friends, is how much things are laid out for our benefit (a whole different topic I love talking about).
Exploring, not deciding
The next time you find your thoughts getting in the way of your happiness, what if you slowed it down and observed?
What if you chuckled at how much you are overthinking things?
What if you got curious about how things could feel if you looked at them a little differently?
This adventure pay’s big dividends. Remember, it is just exploring, trying things out. In no way are you committing to anything forever or even for a week! Let’s explore together!