‘Focus on the good!’
These general statements can be REALLY annoying for someone who hasn’t been practicing them. In fact, it can make us want to commit acts of violence towards the bright-eyed, goody-two-shoed types who seem to think it’s so damn easy to focus on rainbows, unicorns and lollipops all the time.
But let’s face it. We all want to be happy.
It’s a major goal. In fact, when the apocalypse comes, isn’t it the most important thing?
“At least, I led a happy life?”
Yes, it matters that we reach for more, grow, develop, achieve, love, all of those things. We only do what we do, though, because it will make us happy. Or we THINK we’ll be happy in the achieving of our desires (Abraham Hicks, anyone?)
These general statements do nothing for one who has made negative thinking a habit. ‘Be positive,’ means nothing when you’re feeling like crap. What I realised (or remembered), however, was that these trains of thoughts really are just habits.
And a habit can be changed.
Apparently we need to practise something around 18 times before it becomes a habit. Really … that’s not many. But, when you’re in the middle of a bad time, you can’t change your thoughts to fluffy bunnies. It’s not possible. What I’ve found is: all you need to do is become aware.
Don’t practice changing bad thoughts to happy thoughts.
Don’t practise pushing away your anger or sadness.
These things are hard!
Just practise being AWARE.
That’s it. Just observe. Sit back and listen, without judgement.
I was driving on the way to work and decided to observe my thoughts. Not to change them, but to just sit back and ‘listen’ to my inner dialogue. I was absolutely amazed at the BS that was running through my head, and so I stopped to take an actual LOOK around me.
There was a big beautiful mountain, with houses scattered across, in the distance. It reminded me of Italy. It’s amazing how I live in such a beautiful landscape, yet I think I have to go all the way overseas to see such beauty. We become so accustomed to what we see that we no longer see it. I often try to take a moment to observe what’s around me, but not enough! I could’ve driven all the way to work, not really seeing anything.
I did the same thing at recess that day. I stopped and observed my thoughts. They were worrisome thoughts. I was holding on to things and not trusting that life would take care of me. So instead, I turned my attention to what was happening around me.
I took a photo of where I get to be on duty as a teacher.
Check it out. This is what I get to look at!
Then, I watched a group of grade two students playing Lord of the Rings. HILARIOUS. I could’ve missed all of it.
On the way home, I did it one more time. Once again, I was in a dream state, thinking of what had to get done when I got home. I looked around me and saw nothing but barbed wire fences, nothing beautiful or inspiring. So, instead, I focused my attention onto the excitement I felt about going to pick up my daughter. I may have only seen her a few hours ago, but I couldn’t wait to get her.
When I OBSERVED my thoughts, they naturally gravitated towards something more positive.
What kinds of thoughts do you have about yourself, your life, your body, your children? I’m not saying try to ‘listen’ all day, that would be impossible. Just once or twice, and see what comes up for you.
I’d love to know if this works for anyone else.
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