Sunday, September 26, 2010

You Are What You Think

Your mind is incredibly powerful. The stories you tell yourself can alter your reality. Be careful what you think, because it creates its own reality in your life and in your relationships. Many people have a story that would be better to collapse, so they could live a more satisfying life.

It is a bit like your mind is a garden, and you need to weed it regularly from negative or victim-like thinking. If you aren't conscious of weeding out the negative thoughts, you can develop behavior patterns that reflect your negative thoughts. To have a great life, and healthy relationships, you need to focus on your blessings, the things you are grateful for, and not the shortfalls.

In a love relationship, the stories we tell ourselves are powerful. If we tell ourselves that our partner isn't making us happy, aren't we less likely to try in the relationship to do our part? What if your partner isn't supposed to MAKE you happy, but you are supposed to make yourself fulfilled and share your happiness with your partner? If you have a different story you tell yourself about your relationship, like you want to do everything possible to be the best partner you can be, won't your actions be an important part of writing the love story you are a part of? You play an active role in creating each of your relationships. You are not the Russian judge at the Olympics, just there to grade your partner critically. Your partner is only part of the equation. You need to be your best self!

Abraham Lincoln said, "Most men are about as happy as they make up their minds to be". Your daily mind set, and telling yourself positive things about how you feel, and what you are going to do that day, is important each morning. See whether you can smile at a couple of people tomorrow. I love to ask families to share at dinner the best or funniest thing that happened that day. It really is true that what we think about---negative or positive---expands to fill the space available.You can make a decision to make it a great day or have a wonderful relationship with your spouse or child, and that decision will help you take the actions that help create improvements.

There are, of course, difficult things that happen in life---losses,breakups, illness, etc. Sometimes all we can control is our reaction to challenging situations when they happen. Most people that I see that are resilent in the face of tremendous difficulty, deal with their feelings,but don't take up residency in victimhood. You can choose to,have a good life, anyway, for the time that you have, including today.

One of my favorite books about overcoming negative thinking is 'You Can't Afford the Luxury of a Negative Thought' by Peter McWilliams and Jon Roger. Also helpful in learning to identify and eliminate negative thought patterns is,'Feeling Good' by David Burns,M.D. If this area is a challenge for you, you might read some positive input the first and/or last few minutes of the day.

In wrapping up todays' blog, consider the words of Theodore Roosevelt, who told us,"Do what you can, with what you have, with where you are". Watch what you think this week, because your thoughts are powerful things. You might be happier if you give up your story.

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