My teenage daughter was complaining about a list of things that went wrong for her last week and how other people ‘made’ her feel upset, or angry or frustrated. She was genuinely stunned when I told her that no one could ‘make’ her feel a certain way. I explained that she chose her reaction to every single situation, whether that was an emotional response or physical action or negative self-talk. We went on to discuss the importance of her being in charge of her life and the relevant consequences. I could see her posture change to one of confidence as she acknowledged the positive of having a choice around every aspect of her life. Then just as quickly her shoulders fell at the realisation that choice comes with responsibility!
Most of us are either unaware or unwilling to accept the responsibility that comes with taking control of our own life. It is easier to accuse others and blame circumstances and let our emotions take over and give in. At least this way, we might win a sympathy vote.
However, that is not the way to get on in life and I wish someone had explained the power of the mind to me when I was a teenager.
IT’S AN INSIDE JOB!
It all starts with your thinking. If someone walks past and ignores you do you immediately think: (choose one of the following)
He is upset with me, what have I done?
I knew she didn’t like me!
Something has obviously upset her today?
He got out of the wrong side of bed this morning!
What a shame she didn’t see me.
PUT WORRY AWAY
The mind is a powerful tool and so we should aim to have powerful thoughts.
I often use this quote with my kids when they are uptight:
“90% of the things we worry about don’t happen.” (I don’t know who wrote it) We decided to do a test on it and for a whole month, every time there was something they worried about we watched and waited to see what happened. The quote was proved true! Most of the worrying situations were either cancelled, forgotten about or took a different turn. Make the conscious choice today and everyday – don’t worry, be happy.
THE PRESENT IS A PRESENT
Enjoy the gift of today. No matter how much we like to think we have control over the future, we cannot predict anything for certain. So let it go and live in the present. A buzzword at the moment is ‘mindfulness’. Is it crazy that we need to be reminded to stop and ‘be’ in our daily life? That we need to be told to make the most of now? That we are human ‘beings’ not human ‘doings’. In 1948 Dale Carnegie wrote “today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday” and we are still doing it.
Try doing this exercise, it REALLY makes a positive difference.
Put a ten minute slot in your diary every day (during lunch break?) where you stop and ‘be’. Listen to the sounds around you (preferably birds outside, not colleagues arguing in the office!) Look for beauty (art, sunshine). Really taste your food, consciously think about the flavours being released as you eat. Touch the grass and feel aligned with mother nature. And finally, smell the roses!
BE REAL : BE REALISTIC
“Life is difficult.” (The Road Less Travelled by Scott Peck)
This one quote has helped me to be real with myself and have a realistic perspective on life, especially when my internal dialogue is being negative. (Do you know that most of the harsh things we say to ourselves, we would never say to a friend!) So stop it now! It’s time to become your own best friend and accept that:
Life IS difficult,
We DO make mistakes,
We WILL have regrets,
We AREN’T perfect.
We CAN’T do it all.
AND THAT’S OK!
I was disappointed about something that happened recently and my daughter said “it’s ok mum, you tried our best!” Maybe we should listen to our kids more often.