What is one thing you would love to do for yourself?
Often, when we are asked this question, we think of our dream vacation. Or, maybe a hobby we’ve had our eye on. Many times, our thoughts go to a place where there are no distractions from outside influence. It’s our “me time.”
What if I asked you to focus the question more towards your way of thinking? Is there one thing you would love to do for yourself regarding how you foster your thoughts? Our minds are powerful at manipulating. The way we focus our thoughts can have a direct impact on our physical and mental wellness, ambition, relationships, confidence….really, the list can go on and on. The truth is, how we think is connected to how we function.
Our mind’s influence can take us to the worse-case scenario while calculating each step along the way. It will illustrate step-by-step how others will act – respond – feel and how we will react – question – reject. We rationalize our feelings and give them jurisdiction in our lives. It’s true, our feelings can be spot on with no reason. Those feelings should be easier to recognize because they don’t need validation from others. And, in your heart you know the risk of being wrong doesn’t outweigh being right.
It’s incredible the power our minds have over us. Especially when it concerns other people. And what is even more incredible is it doesn’t differentiate. Thoughts are in everyone! And so are insecurities. When insecurities bubble up into our forethought, there is an unrestrainable hold over all reason. Think about it. Insecurities can make one act a certain way when it wasn’t their intention. One may question another’s motive for no practical reason. Interactions are made with people who are prelabeled. Personality traits are looked at as flaws if they aren’t aligning. Strengths are devalued. Relationships are questioned. People are criticized.
I have a personality that wants to get things done. I can only “think” about something for so long before I need to take action. I have family members who can’t make a decision unless their life depended on it. It would frustrate me when we would be making plans for a family get together and days would pass with no one wanting to commit to a plan. Hitting my limit of discussion, I would lay out a plan. I heard the talk of how I always have to control everything.
It wasn’t that they couldn’t make a decision, they worried about making everyone happy. And, it wasn’t that I was controlling, I needed to have a plan so I could clear my mind. It didn’t matter to them that I included everything they discussed, and it didn’t matter to me that they weren’t sure what they really wanted.
I was given advise when I was younger. “It’s not if they will do it, but when they will do it.” I felt a burden of relief when this was shared with me. It released a lot of anxiety because I didn’t overthink the “if.” Instead of being caught off guard I was able to prepare myself.
As time went on, I started to question that advise. Not if, but when. I was allowing myself to experience suffering before it happened. The people in my situation didn’t have the opportunity to show me they could change. I put them in a box – not if, but when. This didn’t make me the bigger person. I wasn’t growing and resolving issues. And, I wasn’t allowing others to show me they could either. Instead of continuously waiting for the when, I learned to find my boundaries. I didn’t put myself in the situations that would cause triggers (on either side) and I retrained my thought process. Instead of “what will they do” it was “what can I do.” I was able to find ways I could improve the situation rather than focus on the negative aspect of the situation.
The way we think is connected to how we function. Our thoughts can lift us up and bring us down within a 10-minute period. That is why it is important for us to be in tune with our feelings. There is a correlation between every feeling and an experience we’ve had. Some links are unmistakably easy to identify. Others may require a deliberate approach to identify. Awareness of why we have certain feelings towards others can lead us to having positive interactions and prevent damaging rationalizing. It’s not always an overnight process, but it does require action.
It is easier said than done. I’ve battled with my thoughts for a long time. And, I still do. Our thoughts require constant managing because each experience gives us knowledge. Here are some things that have helped me.
- Listening to music
- Reading my Bible
- Speaking to a counselor
- Understanding not everyone thinks like I do
- Accepting my strengths and weaknesses
- Accepting other’s strengths and weaknesses
- Accepting I am worthy of good relationships
- Loving others for who they are and not what I need/want them to be
- Accepting past experiences and letting them go…..
This is a topic that can be explored countless ways.
What is one thing you would like to do for yourself?