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 Thinketh James Allen has 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 James whose blog Pocket Mindfulness has 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.”Friedrich Nietzsche
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
- Draw it!
- this will loosen up 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.