Our mind is one of the most powerful tools we have been given, and its power is often underestimated and misused. As humans, we can use our brains for good or for evil. Being conscious of our thoughts and choosing a positive perspective is where mastering the art of positive thinking begins.
My favorite story which demonstrates how our perspective plays a vital key in our happiness is about two five-year-old twin boys whose parents took to see a psychiatrist. The boys were polar opposites. The psychiatrist took one boy into to a room piled high with new toys, expecting the boy to be thrilled. But instead, he burst into tears.
Puzzled, the psychiatrist asked, "Don't you want to play with these toys?”
"Yes,” the little boy bawled, "but if I did I'd only break them.”
Next the psychiatrist the put the other boy into a room piled high with horse manure. The boy yelped with delight, clambered to the top of the pile, and joyfully dug out scoop after scoop, tossing the manure into the air with glee.
"What on earth are you doing?" the psychiatrist asked.
"Well,” said the boy, beaming “There’s got to be a pony in here somewhere!"
As alcohol and addicts, we are often known for our ‘stinking thinking.” It’s like being in a rocking chair. We go back and forth, but we don’t really get anywhere. Fear is a liar, and it wants us to feel so afraid that is the only solution is to drink or use.
For years of my recovery, I was plagued by stinking thinking. My thoughts would tell me, “You’re not enough. You are a terrible employee. A terrible mom. You will die a lonely old lady with cats crawling all over you.”
I know I’m not alone with these negative thoughts. Most of us are walking around expecting the worst. Our negative thinking says to us, “You are going to fail so why try? You don’t deserve. You are not smart enough, not pretty enough, or skinny enough.”
It was time for me to do something about my negative thinking finally. I realized I was making up a story which was fea- based. I thought to myself; if I was making up a story, I might as well make it a good one! I started telling myself, “I do deserve, I am enough, and I can!”
One of my favorite quotes about fear was from Joyce Meyers, “Courage is fear that said its prayers and decided to go forward anyhow.” My biggest fear break-thru was when I was writing my first book but scared to death. I was so afraid of rejection. My head said, “No one will read it, don’t waste your time, who do you think you are?” One day a voice inside me said, “Why not me?” I stopped listening to the negative voice and just kept writing. When I got stuck, I picked up the phone to another author I knew and told her about my fear. She said, “ Writers write, so just keep writing.” Instead of focusing on my fears I focused on the desired outcome. My intent of the book was to help just one mom suffering from the effects of addiction.
When we walk through our fears, it proves our negative thinking wrong. People in recovery helped me walk through my fear, and I prayed like heck to God to help me get out of my own way. When Hazelden called to tell me they wanted to publish my book, I broke down in tears, and it was like God said to me, “See you do matter.” I had walked through my biggest fear of rejection and proved that negative voice in my head a big fat LIAR!
Many suggest saying mantras which I believe helps change our negative thinking. Although we can’t just lay on the couch, mantra away, and expect results. We must get off the couch of fear and get into action. Here are some of the actions which work for me to change my negative thinking to positive thinking.
1. Hit the reset button. When you find yourself thinking negative thoughts, just change the thought to a positive one. Your brain can only hold one thought at a time so choose wisely what you feed it.
2. Surround yourself with positive people. We are known by the company we keep so stay away from the Debbie Downers and Wendy Whiners.
3. When you realize you have been invaded by the negative thinking monster ask yourself, “Is there a positive action I can take right now about this situation?” If so, take action.
4. Try meditating on a positive thought like, “All is well.” Even if you don’t believe it, just keep doing it until you feel some relief. Plus, your brain is probably exhausted from all the crap you have been feeding it so give it a timeout.
When negative thinking gets ahold of you, it can be like a dark hole. As soon as you realize you are in it, yell for help to have someone pull you out quickly and show you the light.
As with all changes in recovery, the art of positive thinking requires a lot of practice. The beauty of recovery is that anything is possible when we take the right action. Being kind, loving, and compassionate to ourselves and others makes the journey a lot more enjoyable.
Leave me a comment below. I'd love to hear your thoughts and ideas.
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