You Become What You Think About
Earl Nightengale famously says, “You become what you think about”. The same can be found in the Bible, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” Proverbs 23:7. Often one can go through life completely unaware of what he is thinking about on a regular basis. Becoming aware of our thought patterns can be the most important step in totally turning our lives around. If we truly become what we think about, then it might be a good idea to be aware of what we are thinking about. If we are thinking in a way that is damaging then we may want to consider thinking differently. This can appear to be a very challenging task, but with a few tools in your bag, you can physically change how you perceive and think about every aspect of your life.
How To Change Your Thinking
Have you wondered about how to change your thinking? As children, many of us learned negative thought patterns. Blaming, judgment, sarcasm and the like were possibly the norm in our environment. The good news is that we can change our thought patterns. How we think is completely up to each of us. We can choose to see things in the negative or the positive. For example, so often we hear a person say that they can’t buy something because they can’t afford it. What if we changed how we said that and said, “I am working towards being able to afford that”, or “I’ll be able to afford that soon.” That tells our mind that we are working towards being more free financially and that the state we are in right now is not permanent. This would go along with making other choices such as spending less money, being disciplined with our finances, starting a savings account and making responsible decisions about the things on which we choose to spend our money. You might like to make a plan and save for a particular item. Then, before you know it, you find that if you do decide to make a purchase, you have the money and you have essentially become what you thought about. You have taken control of your situation instead of allowing your circumstances to control you.
It is easy to get caught in a cycle of feeling despair and what I have found very effective is to sit down and listen to myself and find out exactly what I am thinking right now. I may be upset that my current living conditions are not ideal. So, OK, now what? Now I figure out if I am angry, sad, upset and just feel it and validate it. It’s important to feel what you feel as long as you don’t hurt others in your anger or sadness. Usually once we allow ourselves to feel it, then we can move on. The next crucial step is to write down some solutions. What am I going to do to change my current circumstances that are upsetting to me. Will I spend less money, make more money, start saving, get a new job or just find somewhere else to live? It is in the solution that we find hope which is essential for getting out of our rut of negative, self-pitying self talk. That won’t ever solve anything for us. We can choose to be in the dumps or we can decide what we are going to do about it and take action.
It is a good idea to begin writing down what you actually hear yourself think and then take the negative thoughts and change them into positive ones. Tell yourself what you are going to do about your challenges. Remember that challenges are what help us grow and they are just part of life, it is how we react to the challenges that makes such a great difference.
I have heard that our brains do not hear the word “don’t”. For example, if I tell you not to think about a purple horse with pink spots and wings that can fly on a magic carpet, what is the image in your mind right now? Of course, it’s the horse. Your brain didn’t listen to the word don’t. You can substitute the “can’t” in there and the same thing will happen. So, speaking to yourself and others in the positive is more effective. If I want you to think of a horse other than the one above then I would choose to say, “think about a brown horse.” Then you would automatically not picture the horse in the first example. Tell yourself what to do instead of what not to do or what to think instead of what not to think.
Here are some examples of how to change your thinking from the negative to the positive using the exact same circumstance:
I can’t do that, it’s just too difficult »> I choose to make this as easy as possible.
Don’t run »> Walk!
I feel terrible all the time »> I choose to take very good care of myself so I can be energetic and feel great.
My marriage is terrible »> We are working through some challenges. (and make a plan to work things out instead of doing nothing!)
I am so fat »> I have chosen to change my eating habits and start exercising so that I will be happy with my body.
My house is too small »> I am so thankful to have a roof over my head and a heater to keep me warm. I love to hear the birds chirping.
As you can see, learning how to change your thinking literally can change how you live your life. So much of it is the perspective that you choose to embrace. Gratitude is the ultimate antidote for self pity. If you are struggling with self pity, stop every hour and be thankful for something, even if it is the same thing every hour. Or, the minute you wake up, think of three things you are truly thankful for. Try changing your thinking and see what happens!!
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