We only have control over ourselves, our thoughts, feelings, actions and reactions. What anyone thinks, feels, says about me is none of my business or my issue. People hurt people because they’re hurting. You could slap me in the face today and I will smile and tell you to have a good day.
Everyone is going through their own shit that we know little/nothing about. Try to remember that when a person hurts/attacks/is rude to you, that’s their issue don’t take it to heart.
However if you’re called an asshole once a day, it’s not you, if you’re being called an asshole multiple times a day it’s you that’s the asshole. No not always but I think you get it.
Strive to be better than yesterday even just the tiniest bit and you’ll be amazed how your life will change.
Be patient with yourself it doesn’t happen overnight or without action and being honest with yourself. And by no means am I trying to say it’s easy but it’s definitely worth the effort, uncomfortableness, and willingness.
Be kind and love all the assholes anyway- you don’t know their story it’s not always your business to anyway and doesn’t matter- do what only you can do and control : be kind, love em anyways, let God take care of the rest!
I hope everyone has a stellar day and helps the healing by just doing others simple kindnesses.
One piece of advice: DON’T WATCH THE NEWS. “They” choose what to show/manipulate us with through the media and this continues to divide us. We need the police – BOYCOTT AND DEFUND THE MEDIA!!
The second part of step 3 on my journey to controlling my thinking and in turn having the capability of choosing happiness on a daily basis and living a simply happy life despite and often in spite of my circumstances is all about minding my business! In my last post I stepped out from under my rock (of which I have intentionally built and stay happily under most days) and shared my feelings of frustration at the overturning of Roe v Wade by the supreme court whom I feel are very shortsighted in their choice in doing so and I briefly explained my position. I ended with the simple statement that I don’t feel it is another person’s place to judge and rally against the doings of someone else that do not in any way affect themselves! But I’m past that, mostly, because well its not in my control in the least and things that are not within my ability to change or at least have a hand in changing I don’t allow to affect my mood or happiness.
So part one of step 3 is all about taking control of our thinking through reframing our negative thoughts. Now it took me a good 6 months to master this as a habit and do so subconsciously rather than having to put real effort and attention towards identifying, stopping, and reframing the negative thoughts I had. I had the times where I backslid and forgot to be on top of my thinking at all and had to start back at square one at least two times that stand out for me and it was just not natural or at least didn’t come naturally or easily for me to get in the habit of doing. But – I did it! I got it down as a habit and now I DO naturally reframe negative thoughts. It is freeing and I am happier, healthier and lighter for it. It also has helped my overcome insomnia and acute anxiety, including but not limited to panic attacks, anxiety attacks, agoraphobia, and social anxiety. I am medication free and alcohol free as well which is also freeing and healthier. I’m not saying that this will do all of that for anyone else or that it is what anyone else needs it is just what I needed and what’s best for me and my life to be! Don’t give up when it gets tough or frustrating, it can become second nature just keep working at it and have faith.
Within our negative thinking there is a large cluster of one type of negative thinking that most people are guilty of doing that is one of the hardest I found to overcome (and my dad, until recently, swore was natural and everyone does it and he didn’t believe that I don’t anymore and have been teaching my children not to do so) because at least in my family it is a normal part of conversation and thus my way of thinking – judging others, criticizing others, comparing ourselves to others. Often times when thinking of our negative thinking we don’t include our negative thoughts of others; it may seem obvious to many that these do count as negative thoughts but sometimes our negative thoughts of others are made to make ourselves feel superior or better than. C’mon at least admit it to yourself, I’m admitting my shortcomings to the world wide web so you can come clean to you – I know you can! It took me a lot of years to accept that I was judging others and then a few more to get honest with myself and identify what I was self-conscious about or what I feared that led me to judge another person for being human like all of us.
Same as with all of our negative thoughts judgmental thinking of the negative variety (to them or to ourselves through judgment, criticism or comparison) must be identified as such and stopped when they creep into our brain. We will for sure reframe those thoughts but before doing that when it comes to judgments of others, or ourselves even, we have to add a bit of introspection beyond just reframing them to truly overcome this category of negative thinking. So when I STOP a judgment like, “Those pants look a couple sizes too small for her, maybe she should have looked in the mirror before leaving the house – sausage thighs anyone?” (And that is a waaay over the top type of judgment I haven’t thought since my girlfriend and I used to have this -I am just now realizing- kind of mean girls diss that I don’t think we were as quiet about as I’d like to believe looking back in middle school saying, “Did she/he get dressed in his grandma’s closet with the lights out this morning?” or some such variation. Eww that was not cute of our little insecure preteen and early teenage selves!) So with that awful criticism of said girl in too tight (in my opinion) pants I would have to first STOP THAT THOUGHT and analyze what I was feeling insecure about or what fear I had that made me feel the need to feel bad energy toward another human being just going about her business? In this scenario, and for a lot of mine when I began doing this introspective work on my judgmental thoughts, I knew all too well what my insecurity and fears were about my own weight growing up until my early twenties and believed about my weight (although I was so very wrong but what I saw when I looked in the mirror was not a reflection of my actual size just apparently my warped perceived size) through my twenties until my very late 20s/early 30s and along with the insecurity I had had then even once I could see my amazing figure in real time the fear of going back-even if only in my own head-to being larger than I felt comfortable was real. So to reframe this thought after identifying my actual self-conscious reason for having it would be to say, “What she is wearing is not my business and I probably still wear tighter pants than that on occasion and look hot in them as well!” And for me if I am still near the person I’ve made the judgment about when I’m through with my self analysis if I genuinely find something about her style cute or noteworthy I will compliment her on that and if nothing about her style is of my preference then I will simply say something kind to the affect of having a good day and enjoying life. And no even if I were right about the pants it is never my place to give another person unsolicited advice and would be completely rude to assume I was right or she wasn’t comfortable in her own choice of clothing.
Other judgments I found myself having was of other mothers’ ways of parenting or lack there of again an insecurity about my own motherly abilities and/or having been in the same scenario and been super embarrassed/uncomfortable and rather than commiserating (even in my own head) I’d pass judgment which is exactly what I’d hoped wasn’t being done to me. Seeing happy or unhappy couples brings up feelings of my own relationship inadequacies in the form of judging and/or comparing. I found once I started really taking control of my thinking including my judgmental thoughts I really started to analyze my own self worth and we’ll be doing just that in the next “step” toward choosing our own happiness through controlling our thinking. Most of what I found I knew to some extent or another that it was there but admitting it to myself without excuses and taking full responsibility for my choices and mistakes in life opened some new doors to self knowledge and I’ve also learned to respect myself and love myself on a whole different level than before.
So what about those self judgments I’ve mentioned? I think they’re more obvious once we start looking at ourselves more honestly and without bullshitting about why we are where we are and what we are and fully learn to accept and love ourselves as the works in progress we all are. Just like judgments of others though take that extra step from just reframing to dig a bit deeper into the why we’re feeling that way about ourselves as we would another person we’re judging. I often found that my self judgments were in my head as my mother’s judgments and in her voice often as well and I often gave her credit for judgments that while she may have had them of me they were actually my own now.
And while it seems that we’re focusing a lot on the negative aspects of our thinking and selves the truth is that we are progressing toward eliminating the majority of that type of thinking and with the reframing and turning them to positive and/or worthwhile thoughts/ideas the idea is that we are actually focusing more on the positive product we come out with and letting go of that negative thinking/thought. Like everything in life practice makes progress and progress and bettering ourselves just a little bit every day is what I think life is all about. We’re never too old or young or too far gone or too inexperienced to grow and become better people.
A couple HUGELY important REALITIES I’ll leave you with that have helped me tenfold in my journey: Most people are, like you and me, focusing mostly on themselves and that little embarrassing moment you think everyone is talking about or what you wish you would have said in that conversation and are worried someone is judging you by – they’re most likely having the same type of worries about themselves and are far more likely to be thinking about themselves than you so LET IT GO!!! No need for coulda woulda shoulda thinking! Whats done is done and thank goodness for that; learn from it and move on and if possible try to do better the next time but YOU are the only one microanalyzing YOU the way WE ALL DO!! What the next person thinks about me IS NOT MY BUSINESS nor do I care anymore because 1. it’s not my business 2. I love myself and anyone who doesn’t isn’t worth my brain space 3. I cannot control someone else’s thoughts or opinions of me or anything else and I don’t want to that’s exhausting sounding at just the idea of it! 4. I love everyone anyway and people have a hard time finding fellows to hate on that with them and if they do well I don’t know about it and I love em anyway!
Enjoy your day and spread love to someone you find hard to love today! No matter what life is both too long and too short to hold resentments or grudges so LET THAT SHIT GO and love em anyway broken and trying just like the rest of us!
The act of stopping negative thoughts is a pretty effortful feat in and of itself; just being mindful and conscious of our thinking takes attention and patience. So then figuring out how to reframe the negative thoughts we stop can be flustering beings as negative thinking is weirdly more natural and our go to over positive thinking. I’m going to give some examples of negative thoughts I reframe(d) before this became a habit and subconscious effort for me in my day to day thinking process. I feel like I may have left people hanging a bit with my lack of actually portraying WHAT reframing a negative thought to a positive/worthwhile idea/thought LOOKS/SOUNDS LIKE so I’m here to remedy that oopsie!
I also came across some great on point and worthwhile affirmations from another blogger writing at empress2inspire.blog that I’ll share at the end. Or better yet find them here on their Daily Dose of Affirmation blog post I found them on by clicking the aforementioned title ;)! I’ve never been a big fan of affirmations and found them kinda corny because the ones I found in my search for some more in depth ideas were pretty basic and lacked something for me. A few days ago I stumbled upon these nuggets of wisdom that hit home for me and realized that is what it takes in most worthwhile things in our lives is us finding the right fit for ourselves and our lives. If we can find that within nearly any positive thing to do then we can find it fitting and work it into our daily lives. Sometimes that takes searching and others it takes stopping looking and when its right the fit will find you.
Back to the main topic: reframing our negative/unhelpful thoughts into positive/worthwhile ones examples: it’s easy to start noticing these types of thoughts by paying attention to the words that often go along with our negative thinking: can’t, don’t, not, won’t, never, always, shoulda/woulda/coulda (or ‘ve if you’re more proper and grammatically correct in your thinking verbiage lolol which I often am so shhh don’t judge me!), profanity often indicates negative thinking also, and of course there are more but these are some to definitely listen for and when a thought comes through with one of these STOP words do just that STOP THAT THOUGHT!!
I can’t …. I can accomplish anything I put my mind to. If I am overwhelmed can I break down what I’m fretting over into smaller parts to get to the bigger goal? I have overcame/done something harder/similar to this before and while it seemed daunting at first, like this, I was able to work through/do what it was that at first I thought I couldn’t. How did I go about doi that? How did I psych myself out almost that time and looking back how ridiculous does that worry seem or if warranted how great did it feel when I did it anyway? Is there someone I can ask for help and make this problem/project only half the difficulty? I like doing things solo most of the time or with my partner but maybe it could be enjoyable to work with someone new to get this done or talk to someone I haven’t recently to vent my issue and get a different perspective.
I really messed up…. And I will mess up again but what can I learn from this mistake so I don’t make THIS mistake again? I know my heart was in the right place so where did things go sideways and were my intentions still genuine and positive? [this mistake] taught me… helped me realize… gave me perspective on… Can I fix [this mistake] or make it better? Yes? Do it then! No? Forgive myself and let it go; today is a new day with plenty of mistakes to be made or to avoid making, onward!!
Things just keep getting worse and I can’t handle any more bad/negative stuff but it just keeps coming! Time for a gratitude list for sure – 5 things I’m grateful for… (this works for most any negative thought if I can’t specifically reframe it then gratitude is the best attitude at prevailing over negative thinking! this type of thinking does specifically call for some reminders of what I have in life that is good even if at the time it is the basics like my kids’ health, life/waking up again this morning, my sanity/my brain/my intelligence/my psyche intact, my HP (higher power, TED <for me> or God <for many>), and my health/my person’s/partner’s health to name a few it breaks up the negative roll my thoughts will get on if I allow them to keep going without a conscious effort to stop them and make a chance. I’m no victim so what is my role in why my life is having a bit of a downturn as of late? Can’t change anything by doing the same thing and expecting different results or wallowing in self pity so what is one small change I can make to my choices/actions/attitude/etc that I can start now/today and effect some change in my circumstances possibly in doing so? If I get flustered or frustrated trying to reframe a negative thought or just can’t seem to pull my head out of the woe-is-me well then along with a gratitude list I can try some journaling – either writing down what I want to be or see happen or getting out some grrrrs and writing all my negative feelings/thoughts to expel them (just being careful not to dwell on them but putting pen to paper for me is sometimes as good as having another person’s ear to vent to.
I don’t deserve this/this is not fair… …then how did I get here? My punishments have far outweighed my crimes but I still committed the crimes (not literally criminal acts but whatever mistake or misdeed I did do) and in doing so I opened myself up to other people’s interference and influence over my life. Now is time for me to focus on what is within my control and how to utilize those aspects for me to succeed. I know my worth and how much effort I put in. I don’t need outside validation but internal acceptance and what I “deserve” in life will materialize/become and every hard time in which I make the best choices and learn the valuable lessons I wouldn’t if it weren’t for these seemingly undeserved shitshow times. I do deserve the wisdom and strength I can gain from overcoming and coming out on top of the worst situation.
I’m not good enough/I’m a failure at… I cannot fail if I do not quit; each “failure” is an effort made toward an eventual success or at the very least something to be learned from/gained knowledge/ability/wisdom/etc. I’m a frikkin badass! Remember how I [overcame/accomplished/did something that made me proud of myself]? And even with their dad’s poisoning them against me with lies and judgments my daughters love and adore me and if that doesn’t make clear to me my awesomeness nothing will!! Take a moment to look at my little man and how he looks at me like I am his personal angel/fairy godmother and I’m reminded of my worth every time! I love and accept myself unconditionally now after years of negative self-talk and self abuse I forgave myself and continue to if/when I make an err in judgment/choice/reaction/et al I hold no grudges against myself which had kept me bullshitting myself as well for a loooong time and constantly second guessing myself for all that time alsobut no more thanks to changing my thinking and taking bak control of my thoughts –> actions –> circumstances!
Stuck with a/some thought(s) that just won’t quit or you can’t seem to reframe send me a message and I will help in whatever way I can/you need firstname.lastname@example.org I was scrambling around searching the world wide web for help when I was stumped and by golly ….while there is a plethora of information out there it is not all great and really really really repetitive. I figure you can search google as well as I can possibly even more thoroughly because I am definitely not claiming to be an internet search wizard. I had a counselor that was though and I’ll always wish I had kept the notes I took from him explaining how to do that…maybe I’ll look him up and ask, if so Ill be sure to share!!
Of course there are so many variations of and more specified to each of us personally negative thoughts than I could even begin to tackle but above were the most repetitive types of negative thoughts that I encountered (that I remember that is cause it has been long while since they seemed to wave the white flag and stop encroaching on my happiness!) and here are a few mantras that stuck with me along the way that can work in many different kinds of thought reframing situations and can be good to just remind us of our self worth and shut up that critique in our head once and for most often (she’ll/he’ll always be there in the back corner with a dunce hat on staying quiet so long we we stay vigilant).
My Main Mantras
Mantras to memorize (modify to your own verbage/word style to make them easier to remember and be more true to you): Nobody’s perfect (or Pobody’s Nerfect from “the Good Place” television series) This too shall pass/No season [no darkness] lasts forever Time takes time (it took me so much time to get to where I am at so I cannot expect thinsg to miraculously be better overnight) One day (or hour/minute/moment) at a time Be here, now (live in the present, be mindful) You can’t eat an entire alligator cow in one bite (When I heard/readthis one it said elephant but elephants are my spirit animal and I would never think to eat an elephant then again I wouldn’t likely eat an alligator because I don’t eat much meat as it is….) Everything is temporary/This is not permanent (this not only helps remind me that as the econd mantra says: “this too shall pass” but also that even the good things in life are not constants that will be here for sure tomorrow so to appreciate everything and everyone in my life in the present) Worry is a pointless emotion/I’ve had a lot of problems in my life and most of them never even happened (When I think back to similar situations I’ve been in in the past where I’ve had the same type of anxiety or worry pop into my brain I realize that the majority of the time the things I fretted happening never did and I wasted a lot of time and energy on the what ifs. If a situation is within my control then all I can do is make the best right choice in my course of action and if it is not then I must let go and let God [TED]) Let go and let God [TED, whatever you call your HP/Higher Power] if a situation/outcome is out of my control (which most are or at least partially are) then I’ve learned to pray (or chat with which is my kind of praying) to my HP to take my worry and then trust Him to do what is best even if that means it’s not exactly what I would’ve wanted to happen because I have also realized that I very seldomknow what is bet for me and if i had my way in a lot of situations I would not have learned so many valuable lessons that only come from dealing with the tough stuff head on. Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift that’s why we call it the present. This little nugget is straight from the halls of my elementary school lolol but it hits home at the three basic truths of mindfulness and living in the now: 1) the past is just that – past, it cannot be changed, altered, corrected, etc in any way no matter how long we dwell on the could’ve/should’ve/would’ve of it! So let it be, learn from it where you can and then let it go and move forward. 2) tomorrow will be today tomorrow and then it is worth focusing on but worry over what is yet to occur and may not happen 3) today is a gift that I’ve spent too often fretting over the yesterdays and tomorrows and so now I don’t instead I practice mindfulness and being here, now.
And finally those affirmations I brought up at the beginning of this post that you can also find > here <
I have the power to make an impact in the world.
I am a trustworthy friend who shows up.
I am grateful to wake up healthy and whole today.
I give myself the care and attention I need to thrive.
I love my body and everything it is capable of doing.
So don’t mind my mistake of thinking step 2 to this in-creation design to a life program was a multi-parter rather this step is the correct one for that aspect but I’m going to try to keep it all in one blog post since I’ve been busy with my crazy life and haven’t gotten to posting in longer than I had meant for.
sTEP 3 is putting this taking control of our thoughts idea into action. I’m not going to lie or sugarcoat it and say that this is by any means easy or a quick fix because it is not! But like anything in like the more we put in the better we get out of things I do believe and have seen work in my life. Also, my anxiety and insomnia nagged my life for the better half of it until I implemented this reprogramming of my thinking and the last handful of years since have been wonderfully free of unnecessary anxiety and I sleep soundly and wholly whenever I want to (like during the day I can nap! and if I want to sleep early I can!!!) and my life is still not easy or where I want it to be. I say “unnecessary” anxiety because anxiety is a necessity to getting things done to an extent and without any I at least became lazy and lacked any and all motivation and I’ve found many a medication regimen that has cured me of anxiety but in turn took away any drive for life and personality that I love about myself with it. We need to have a normal workable amount of anxiety to keep us doing things that need doing just not to the point of overwhelming us and causing us to lose sleep (ie being unable to sleep due to) over. And also I am being clear on the fact that my life still has its shitshow moments or months but I can fully enjoy life while dealing with these things because that is just part of life it isn’t always going to be roses and rainbows or trust the many an addicted millionaire it wouldn’t be as wonderful as we think it would be. We need to have issues to overcome and be able to cope and find happiness within ourselves to not allow those issues to take away from. But alas I digress, which is how I do more often than not and often times comes some brilliant thoughts in doing so so bear with me, or better yet learn with me and teach me what I’m missing too, please!
So this isn’t the hardest part of getting control of my thinking but it was/is the most time-consuming and took the longest of everything else to not just grasp and put into action but then to create a habit and in turn unconsciously or subconsciously do eventually out of. I never realized how negatively I thought and how often I judged people without even realizing I was doing so more often than not until I took on this total overhaul in my thinking. James Allen drives home that everything begins with my thinking and what I allow myself to think is what I allow my life to be and thus my choice and responsibility. THAT challenged me and my lackadaisical way of attempting to overcome my anxiety up until this point in my life. And that my dad had brought this book to my attention very meaningfully having me really take it in – he’d been on me the past few years about taking responsibility for my actions and my life but this really drilled it home. No more excuses! Thank you James Allen for really making clear that I was only harming myself with them anyway!
Part A of Step 3 – Reframing Negative Thoughts
Amongst my research on human thinking and probing into my own thought processes and just day to day thinking I learned that it isn’t just me when it comes to thinking negatively being a more natural and regular way of thinking. Majority of people think more negatively than positively and for whatever reason it has become the more natural way of thinking and this isn’t even going into our judgmental natures as human beings. I doubt that it was always this way and it isn’t everyone by any means that thinks negatively over positively as a majority and what comes more naturally but nowadays it seems to be. So be understanding with yourself as we delve into changing this in this step and don’t get down on yourself if it takes a few go rounds to get this mastered. Also, it takes doing more work inward in the 4th step and beyond, for me at least and I think many will relate, to fully master thinking positive instead of negative as a majority and without consciously doing so which is how we will start by purposefully reframing our thinking.
It goes like this I wake up in the morning and within my waking moments I have an overwhelming amount of thoughts I came to find out, I don’t so much anymore but sometimes I forget to slow them down and at least now they’re mostly positive versus befores onslaught of negativity as soon as I would arise. And it isn’t just big ideas or negative self talk but little things like “my feet hurt” or “my guy didn’t kiss me goodbye before he left for work” [which usually after getting flustered over this thought I’d eventually find out he did but I didn’t fully wake up to remember him doing so so it was a really pointless negative thought and path I’d grumble down frequently] and often things we worry about flood during the first waking moments to start are days off on a very frustrating foot and then it just would seem to pile on as the day progressed. In reality it did because negative thinking attracts more negative thinking and negative thoughts turn into negative actions and attitudes and that does not invite for positivity around me as I embark on the day, quite the opposite. By lunchtime I’ve started to build up a resentment against my man who come to find out had actually kissed and hugged my half awake self AGAIN that morning! Just that thought every morning for about two weeks I had to stop and reframe consciously and I may be giving myself too much credit that one has crept back around from time to time too and I have to overcome it again but that is where this starts. For me the first time working on reframing my thoughts I took a good two months of starting and forgetting and starting again until I finally started creating a habit of doing so and then a few months of still consciously reminding myself often but then subconsciously starting to really see a difference in my thinking becoming more positive out the gate and negative thoughts seeming to reframe themselves when they’d start to crop in. I still have times when I backslide but every time it is just that much easier and faster to get back to the habit and not having to consciously stop and reframe my negative thoughts because I don’t let them get as overwhelming as they used to be in frequency or amount but also because I prefer this way of living with a positive mindset and getting to choose to be happy no matter what.
It is pretty simple of an idea and putting it into practice just takes desire and discipline and not getting down on yourself when you forget to or back slide into negative thinking instead just starting at that point that you realize what you’re doing and stop that next negative thought. I mean literally consciously STOP the first negative thought that comes into your brain big or small doesn’t matter STOP THAT THOUGHT. Maybe you’re thinking as I often did “this isn’t going to work” so lets take that one and while you are stopping this thought focus just on it and weirdly those pestering incessant thoughts can’t get in until you lose focus so now take this negative thought and reframe it into something positive: “giving this idea a try definitely can’t hurt me and even if it isn’t some big life changer I could benefit from thinking more positively” or simply “let’s give something new a try!” However you see this thought being flipped on its head will make sense in your life reword/rework it to fit and then let it go. Now as you do this you’ll notice that that positive thought you reworked it into is followed by more positive thoughts and ideas but at first there often will follow more pessimism or negative refractory thinking. As often as you can each thought you can stop and reframe do so and the next one after that. It sounds tedious and it can be but this will pay off and the more often you practice like anything else in life the better and easier and more second nature it will become. So that is what we do with the basic negative thinking and thoughts that we have on our day to days but even more impacting and difficult to annihilate from our way of thinking is judgmental thinking. . .
Part B of Step 3 – Taking on Judgmental Thinking
So I’m going against what I’d thought to do earlier and going to post this so its not overwhelming and just start working on consciously reframing your thinking and next post we will tackle reframing judgmental thoughts and tackling the more introspective aspect of judgmental thinking.
Like me this idea is a work in progress and I would love to hear any of your ideas or critiques! Have a stellar day and help me spread positivity one kind act at a time, please and thanks a million!!
For thirty-something years I 100% believed I had no control over my constantly-whirring mind and not for nothing – I felt I’d tried everything (therapy, recovery programs, meditation, exercise, hypnosis, melatonin, sleeping pills prescription and otc, teas, journal writing, alcohol, marijuana, harder drugs, reading, exhaustion, sauna/heat therapy/exhaustion, etc et al) and nothing seemed to work. And since I live a life of unabashed honesty (now) I will admit that I didn’t put forth the necessary effort needed for any of those attempts to be fruitful; I do believe that all of the other methods I’ve tried have benefits that aid in what I finally found to work for me… Plus the more mental health help and positive resources and tools I’ve got/I can get the better!
Inspirations Instilled by Intellectuals I 💕
Also, alongside As A Man ThinkethJames Allenhas a plethora of written works that I have found even more wisdom in. The link when you click James Allen here or ^^up there^^ in the previous sentence takes you to his daily meditations and morning and evening reflections from the books he wrote of a year of each (one or the other is actually a compilation of his work put together by his wife after his death but all written by him prior to the end of his life).
Another couple of great authors to read and follow that are of this generation and also write blogs as well as books are: Mark Manson author of his self titled blog markmanson.net and a handful of best selling titles including The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck. ((I just purchased Will the autobiography/memoirs of Will Smith which Mark co-wrote with the superstar and am super excited to see what those two phenomenal brains and introspective personalities put together. Especially after reading <listening to> Green Lights by Matthew McConaughey and having my socks knocked off by the absolutely topnotch quality of his narrative making me not want it to end, I can’t even imagine what Mark and Will have in store for us!!)) & Alfred Jameswhose blogPocket Mindfulnesshas saved my spiralling mind on more than a handful of occasions; it’s as though he’s in my head because the needed post is always right there when I go to his page.
And to be clear these guys do not know of my existence so I’m not pushing anything for monetary or other value or affiliation; I’m just telling you what works for me to live happily even when my life’s a shit show.
Walk With Me Working It; Choosing Happiness IRL(in real life)
Here’s the reality of this step guide situation – I’m giving you the method that worked and works for me day in and day out and after a few years of fine-tuning the nuances and sharpening my toolkit I feel I have it about 50% 100% dialed in for public consumption LOLOL (laughing obnoxiously & lovingly out loud).
“He who would learn to fly one day must first learn to stand and walk and run and climb and dance; one cannot fly into flying.”
But as the world turns and feeling that even in it’s roughest draft of an idea that getting this concept out to any and everyone now and with the help of my Higher Power and folks looking to enhance positive thinking and choose to be happy and give this way a try we will fine tune it to embrace everyone’s quirks and needs along the way. Or more likely, at least in the short term, broaden my track to incorporate all levels of abilities and capabilities.
So without further ado, and putting aside my wavering confidence in what I do know works because I am working it!, Step 2 on our path to simple happiness and choosing so, sounds straightforward enough …. ONWARD to how to start thinking thoughtfully.
I’ve got you!
As described and repeated ad nauseam by Mr. James Allen in my personal Thought Life Bible or as he titled As A Man Thinketh our life starts and ends with our thoughts. The thoughts we think create the actions we do, the reactions we have, and the inaction we avoid; all we do begins with the thinking going on in our head.
After 3 decades of living with my constant, nonstop and oft overwhelming thoughts dancing, sprinting, sometimes spiraling around my brain I could not longer honestly claim that I was not able to control my thinking, that I was victim to my thoughts; Mr James Allen, *fist shaking in mock frustration with the messenger of what has always been while I’ve unhappily been unaware of the fact within my control* annihilated my excuses and victimhood <which was something I wasn’t aware I was not only playing into but was holding fast to because then I wasn’t responsible and I couldn’t change anything…right?! oh but how incredibly wrong I was! and sans first growing pains of disdain at having to own my shit, I am forever grateful that I was wrong; whenever you’re ready to accept ownership of your life we’ll be over here on the other side waiting with open, understanding arms but no pressure this is a “at-your-own-comfort” pace and so long as you’re making an effort to better yourself a little bit each day or whatever measure works for you then you’re making progress toward self-awareness, acceptance and ultimately unconditional self love of a variety that gives you the choice of happiness in any and all circumstances> and in doing so the incorrect beliefs of lifelong uncontrollable anxiety and insoluble insomnia ever pervaded by my anxiety’s acuteness and all the hunkering down I’d done in acceptance of such a miserable existence ruled by unhappy, unkind, unhelpful, repetitive, mocking and negative thoughts more often than the opposite variety had been for naught.
My perspective was completely changed by my interpretation and understanding of the concepts and correlations involving my control over my thinking and thus my control over my life as laid out so simply and basically in As A Man Thinketh.
Thoughts >>> Actions
So now what? I got it but I was still me and my way of thinking was pretty thoroughly ingrained being how I’d done it for thirty plus years. And I wasn’t even unhappy really, looking back with my hindsight 20/20 vision I can see that I also wasn’t happy at all, not actually even though I tried to sell the idea that I was to myself even, while hiding from myself and pretending that my life was shitty because of other people’s doings and causes/unwarranted and unwanted interference which to a large extent was the truth and still is the why and the how of certain happenings and unfairness that was out of my control.
But even in those parts that I may not be to blame for the outcome I played a role somewhere that created where I was at then and factors into where I am at today. At that point in life I wanted to leave the past in the past not for the right reasons but to slam shut the ugly truths that it held about me and my mistakes/missteps/misguided choices shut tight and run fast and far to freedom from their knowing looks and murmurings of my shortcomings and failures that blared loudly even though nonexistent and just a part of my own skewed thinking and thus far negative self talk that weirdly is more natural and the normal than its counterpart of positive self affirmations.
First, I decided, I had to know what my end goal was in making any change to begin with. I figured once I had that no matter how lofty or far off it may be, I could map my way toward it with baby steps and sometimes throwing in the needed sprint when inspiration lit a fire under my tush.
My dad is a goal oriented fella and has always promoted and suggested and reminded me and my brother that the only way to achieve anything is by setting a goal to do so and writing it down. I had avoided doing so for my then thirty plus years and had always known it would be part of the simple happy life I was determined to live yet had no real idea of how to obtain and then maintain said simple happiness. So that is the first part of Thinking Thoughtfully in Step 2 : defining our desired outcome – D.O! D.O!
Defining Our Desired Outcome(s) : : Do!! Do!!
We have arrived at part A of our second step toward choosing happiness and controlling our life and circumstances instead of pandering to what happens TO me. Depending on your way of brainstorming ideas this can be done whatever way is most comfortable and workable for you to come up with the best desirable outcomes (yes plural on purpose!) for your life that you hope to actualize and can foresee your life benefiting from taking back the reigns of control and owning your life from thought to outcome.
Brainstorming techniques I find useful:
Thought Write (I’ve read it called Brain Writing recently)
whatever you’re thinking write it and don’t delete, edit, leave out anything. Write your stream of consciousness. While this may not be the best way to brainstorm goals or specific ideas it will loosen up your creative brain and get words flowing.
Word mapping/Mind mapping/Goal Mapping
Lists. Make lists of lists. Lists of ideas for each area you want to focus on making a change or putting forth more effort.
Word associations/synonyms/word breakdowns – prefix suffix/definitions
this will loosenup your rather than writing your ideas sketch/doodle/draw out what ideas come to mind. This can broaden and expand initial ideas especially for us less drawing capable bc our attempt to draw an idea may come out in such an abstract fashion as to extract different ideas from your artwork.
No matter what enjoy the process. There are no right or wrong answers or goals. This isn’t about or for anyone but you.
For more brainstorming ideas Google some variation of “list of brainstorming techniques” adding in “for goal setting” or other specificities will help get more than just the repeat copycats in your search results and since you can Google as easily as I can I’m not going to regurgitate them here.
In case you aren’t one to pay attention to images (since I often am that type with all the ads constantly sneak-attacking what I’m reading so that I click them by accident!) and/or my lack of proofreading and double checking that my shared images are able to be viewed at the proper size necessary to read any text on them depending on the screen size you may be utilizing to do so and/or just to be thorough 😉 here are the goals I set and have met and/or am still working toward obtaining:
take control of my thinking
reduce/eliminate unnecessary anxiety
overcome insomnia caused by incessant thoughts
disprove mental health diagnosis (misdiagnosis)
control how I allow my emotions/feelings to affect me and my current state of happiness
regain self confidence
know my worth and act accordingly
set and stick by boundaries in all my relationships
learn to control my reactions
let go of worry/care of other peoples’ feelings and/or judgments about me
disprove the liars/lies used against me to take my daughters
stop allowing negative people and toxic relationships headspace
take responsibility for and control of my actions
own my shit 100% and forgive myself my mistakes and shortcomings
love and accept myself completely and honestly flaws, faults and fuckups included
when the courts open up with COVID ending (fingers-crossed) get my butt in there and get my daughters back home and safe
be a positive role model for my girls and show them that it’s okay to be fallible and own my mistakes so long as I try
I’d love to hear some of your goals in the comments or direct message me if you’d prefer. I based my categories around those aspects of life that are within our control, which I either hadn’t really been taught or had forgotten and subsequently fallen into feeling like a victim to my circumstances and life’s “unfair” treatment. What I’ve come to learn or remember/relearn is that the only things we have control over in life are our own thoughts (I promise it is possible!! Next part of this step is the how of it!!), our actions and reactions, our attitudes and behaviors, our mindset and perspectives, the words we use and the tone with which we use them, our amount of effort we put forth and the choices and decisions that are ours to make, and how we feel and to what degree we allow our emotions to affect our state of being.
Boohoo Me was a clever little manipulator always able to find ways to get my way and do so without upsetting the people I was stepping on to do so; it took this complete overhaul of my personality and finally meeting a man who wouldn’t cosign my bullshitting ways -plus a bit of wisdom and self introspection- to finally see the narcissistic tendencies and victim role I had played unwittingly for so long. While I wasn’t the type to harm others mainly because I didn’t want to experience the fallout that could possibly create for me I wasn’t living as the person I believed myself to be and want to be and role model I want to be for my children.
I’ve raised my daughters and will continue raising my son and my girls to accept everyone, not be judgmental and love themselves always. After going through the process of owning my life, the good the bad and the ugly and learning to control and utilize my thinking thoughtfully to be happy within myself independent of my circumstances, I now walk the walk AND talk the talk. I’m a firm believer in practicing what you preach and find “do as I say not as I do”ers an incredibly frustrating bunch especially as co-parents!
The Thought Life as I like to think of this in-the-works quasi-life program geared toward anyone wanting to live a simply happy life and have the choice to be happy despite anything life throws at them, is also inspired by AA and NA’s 12 Step programs and can go hand in hand with any of the Anonymous step programs and will have some similarities but without the focus on addiction and alcoholism (or codependency, overeating, etc et al) but rather can help anyone take back control and stop giving outside forces the power that only we should have over ourselves, and just have to choose to practice self acceptance and taking responsibility for our lives to do so.
So for step 1 in my previous blog post I gave the simple task of listening to/reading As A Man Thinketh by James Allen in it’s entirety in one sitting (preferably but so long as you read/listened to the whole book however you accomplished it is fine and works). I don’t expect that you had the same experience or epiphany that I did, although if you did too that wouldn’t surprise me as it has had a huge impact on a few people I’ve recommended it to who actually heeded my recommendation. It’s a very old book and the author is unapologetically redundant, I think with a purpose, which he succeeded in doing, in driving home his message. So did you get it?
Mr. Allen gives examples of how thought affects every aspect of our lives and of our selves. He explains best in the book’s forward:
“It is suggestive rather than explanatory, its object being to stimulate men and women to the discovery and perception of the truth that— ‘They themselves are makers of themselves.’ — by virtue of the thoughts, which they choose and encourage; that mind is the master-weaver, both of the inner garment of character and the outer garment of circumstance, and that, as they may have hitherto woven in ignorance and pain they may now weave in enlightenment and happiness.”
From the day I read this book my life was and is forever changed in the best of ways. Of course as is life it wasn’t simply having the knowledge of how my thoughts affect everything in my life and in themselves create my world that brought about my ability to choose happiness every day; that took action and training my thinking. Which is the third step in how I took control of my thinking and have found consistent happiness despite, and often in spite of, my circumstances. Next up, and importantly before any real work towards our goals is started we must figure out what we are striving for personally and define our desired outcomes aka D.o! D.o!
Step 1 Choose Happiness introduction to the Thought Life by way of Jame’s Allen’s As A Man Thinketh
The crazy reality is that we do have the choice. It took me over 30 years experiencing life tormented by anxiety and insomnia that I believed I had little to no control over until finally I learned that I have complete control over my thoughts. Even crazier – this epiphany came from listening to my first audio book and first self empowerment type writing I’d ever actually completed; which are two things I had, up until that point, vehemently disapproved of and thought were gimmicks or, to be completely honest, too much effort without a guaranteed or instantaneous reward. My dad actually called me up out of the blue one day and said, “Daughter I’m sending you a link to an audio book I want you to sit down and listen to the whole thing right now, it’s only 45 minutes long, and then call me back after you do.” I didn’t even disagree and he was still trying to convince me to just do what he was suggesting and call him right after because he knew my aversion but just the complete determination and confidence in his demand of me had me intrigued to say the least. He didn’t tell me what it was about or any type of synopsis or clue as to what I was about to hear and when we hung up I did what he said. He had text me a link to Audible’s version of As A Man Thinketh by James Allen and for the next 45 minutes I sat and listened with a weirdly open mind curious as to what had my dad so intent on me hearing.
Now I’m not going to pretend like all it took was listening to the book and wham bam thank you ma’am I was choosing happiness and free of anxiety as though just hearing James Allen’s words hypnotized my life into alignment. And as weird as it sounds I’m really glad it wasn’t magic or an easy fix because 1. Nothing worth a damn is ever that easy or without some sort of effort and 2. Enduring the journey it took me on to get to the reward of being able to choose happiness every day makes it more fulfilling and real/actual and oops 3. The lessons I’ve learned parallel to accomplishing control over my thinking amongst so many revelations and insights about myself I am so grateful for acquiring as young as I am especially since I can see that some people may never have these realizations in their entire lifetimes. On the flip side of that though it also didn’t take an enormous amount of time. However because I was so moved upon hearing my first read through of this book I dove in at full speed to adapting the concepts described in As A Man Thinketh to my life and ridding myself of the anxiety I had so long believed was a lifelong curse I’d been afflicted with. So, as with anything in life results and time-frames will vary, oft drastically from one person’s experience to the next. I can guarantee one thing: you can control your thinking and choose happiness every day if you so choose.
I’m not selling anything, I am simply sharing my experience in hopes that even just one person may benefit from hearing about it. As A Man Thinketh by James Allen is free and a public domain book and in my post I’ve linked to with the audio and written book versions that I made pretty at the bottom of the post are links to other places to download either version free as well.
Step ONE: READ/LISTEN TO AS A MAN THINKETH BY JAMES ALLEN and come back for my next post on how I began implementing Mr. Allen’s simply brilliant concept into my life and the changes I started to see and feel right away!!! ENJOY!!