Every waking moment of every day the voice in the head chatters on. It tells you stories about who has wronged you; stories about what you can’t do; and stories about who you should blame. In conflict, the voice adds up other people’s faults and your virtues. Don’t believe everything you think! Seldom are these thoughts new. They are repetitive stories and recurrent memories playing over and over again. These memories create negative emotion. This kind of thinking is common to all of us in varying degrees... Is there a cure? Can we transcend our negative tendencies and limitations?
It has been written that we think around 60,000 thoughts per day, and that over 90 % of them are the same thoughts we thought yesterday. We are creatures of habit. If you would step back from your thoughts and look at them, you will find that your negative and blaming thoughts repeat themselves. There are certain people you complain to yourself about many times over. You may resolve some of those complaints only to replace them with new people and situations to complain about. The theme is the same. It may be frustration, or feeling victimized, or being outraged. The problem always seems to be someone else..
If you are happy with that, you need not read the rest of this article. However, if you are like most people, you are tired, and perhaps stressed, when you think of certain people or situations. You would like to feel more joy, more peace, and more empowered with others. The quote from Robert Greenleaf at the top of this article is a universal truth. The problem is NEVER out there. It is ALWAYS in here. It is in your own mind, but don’t blame yourself. There is action you can take..
How you perceive your interactions with others is rooted in either of two mindsets. You are either a center of attention, or you are a center of influence. As a center of attention, the world revolves around you. You expect others to think, feel, speak, and act in ways that make you feel better. As a center of influence, you are aware that your thoughts, feelings, words, and actions influence others. You recognize that you are all that you can control. You also recognize that you cannot control others. Most of us spend most of our time as a center of attention. Even though we may be aware of our personal responsibility in relationships, we slip into the center of attention mode and emotions take over..
As a center of attention we blame and complain. We are focused on what others should be doing for us or what they are doing to us. As a center of attention we seek to preserve the ego, which is our self image, our view of self. The ego is easily threatened. It usually sees itself as better than or less than others, because it is always comparing. The ego is vain. It is in love with its own thoughts and opinions. We all have an ego..
The truth is, you and I are not our egos. The ego is a part of us, but it is not who we are. Who we are is something much deeper. You may call it your soul, or your Higher Self. You may call it your conscience or any other name. The point is, there is a deeper part of you that is an observer of all your thoughts and behaviors. It is a higher mind that is capable of making good choices. It is through this higher mind that your intuition speaks. It is through this higher mind that you feel compelled to seek the wisdom of a higher power..
If you notice that you are feeling resentful toward someone, the part of you that notices, is the real you. The part that is resentful is your ego. The voice in the head (the ego) will keep telling you the story that makes you feel resentful. It will tell you that it is the other person’s fault that you feel this way. Yet, it is your story. It’s your movie and you are the writer, producer, director, and the star of the drama. As you focus on this story you become more and more resentful. At this point you may ask yourself, why am I doing this to myself? There are several answers to this question... You think repetitive negative thoughts because:
• it is a form of mental entertainment
• you are addicted to these kinds of thoughts
• you like the drama
• it justifies your opinions and behaviors
You can decide to stop giving these thoughts your energy. As you give energy to blaming thoughts, you are the one who suffers. As you play it over and over again in your mind, justifying your behaviors, and criticizing theirs, it really doesn’t make you feel good. Believe it or not, Greenleaf’s advice that change begins in here does make you feel better. As you open yourself to seeing how you may be affecting another; as you begin to offer compassion for others; you will lighten up..
When we have negative thoughts and feelings toward someone, our view of them is distorted. We see them in ways that justify the way we feel. Humility is the answer. Humility is the understanding that you really don’t know anything. When you take the attitude that you don’t know anything, you are open to learning something new. You are open to seeing people differently..
These words I offer here are well-known to me. I have studied this and practiced this. I have a passion for this work. Yet, despite my study, I still find myself blaming. I have conversations with my mind. I have taught myself to ignore my ego’s rantings and ravings and focus on what I really want---peace, resolution, or goal attainment..
There are still times when the emotions are overwhelming, My conscious mind wants to resolve the situation, but my ego and my emotions have totally taken over. In this situation, I pray. I let go of the situation and give it to my Higher Power, Sometimes I have to give it away many times because the thoughts keep coming back. What matters is the intent. Regardless of how self righteous you feel, if your clear intent is to let go and be at peace, then you will accomplish that..
There is no need to hate, be disgusted by, or to condemn anyone. Accept people as they are, and hold no grudges. You will feel better for it. Of itself, the human mind is not dependable. It is full of stories, memory fragments, jingles, and disconnected thoughts. The mind has to be managed. The mind is sometimes like a patient that needs healing. Other times it is a child who needs correcting. Undisciplined thinking will lead you into many unpleasant dramas. Be aware of what you think, but don’t believe it. Ask your Higher Power for help in seeing truly. Withdraw attention from repetitive negative stories and focus your attention on solutions, opportunities and blessings... Your thinking, then, will serve to uplift both others and yourself!