It really dawned on me last week how much our thinking contributes to the way we create our day to day reality and experience life. Especially after my interview with Annika on Forgiveness. I will try to explain this insight as best as I can though stories and examples. That is the wondrous thing about this philosophy, because it is spiritually based you can’t ever fully explain it, but you know it is there because you feel it and see it manifesting in surprisingly delightful ways throughout your relationships and life.
One such story is a few weeks ago when I was out with some female friends. I am always surprised how the conversation quickly turns to male bashing and how men are evil and so on and so forth. I find this rather humorous because I can remember not to long ago when I would jump in on that band wagon. These women, like many, innocently rant and complain about all the men they’ve dated, have yet to date and certainly under no circumstances will ever date. As I sit and listen, my heart goes out to them because I realize they are the only ones standing in their own way, or rather their thoughts and perception are creating a illusion of reality that is keeping them stuck. I don’t think they realize how these thoughts are manifesting themselves in their lives.
If we are the thinker and are sending instant messages (both positive and negative) to ourselves all day long via our thoughts and if those thoughts come back to us in the form of feelings then every time we think negative thoughts we essentially self-validate them and end up with the very thing we said we absolutely didn’t want. In chapter thirteen of The Relationship Handbook, George Pransky PhD., describes The Power of Memory:
Humans have the ability to store memories and bring those memories to mind so vividly they seem real, in the same way movies and dreams seem real. You dream your partner is having an affair with the milkman/lady. When you wake up, would you confront her/him and file for a divorce? Laughter is a more likely response. The past is no more real than a dream. Once an event is over, it becomes a mere memory. The past has only as much power as you give it through your thoughts. If you and your partner harbor unpleasant memories you will be unhappy. You may think the past is at fault, but actually you are looking at life through dark glasses spotted with negative thoughts and feelings. Remember, the spots are on the glasses, not on the relationship.
Until I recognized that my problem with men wasn’t with the men, but rather the spots on my glasses or the lenses I was looking through, I thought the same way my friends did. Like these women in the story, when I would meet a guy and things would start to go south, I would fall immediately into my old habitual thinking patterns, without recognizing what I was doing and the guys always turned out to be “jerks.”
Additionally, after reading Joe Bailey’s book, Slowing Down to the Speed of Love, I realized I was looking outside myself for my happiness and my fixation was relationships. Until I learned that I had everything I needed inside of me and that I was whole already I couldn’t drop those thoughts and I needed to be in a relationship as an alcoholic thinks they need to drink. Much like a person on a diet who is caught up in constant thoughts of food and eating, I was caught up in being coupled up, finding happiness in a man, feeling like a failure or less of a person without a man and simply I couldn’t be happy until I had the right man. Unwittingly, like so many women do, I was innocently putting so much stress and pressure on myself, men and the relationship in general.
George goes onto to say:
The way you feel when you remember an event has everything to do with your level of understanding. Consider the example of a man who has been turned down for a date.
Ruined My Life
You link being turned down to every painful memory you’ve ever had. “This is the story of my life. Women just don’t like me. I’ll never have a family.” You recreate the pain of all those memories and feel horrible. You assume your intense unhappiness validates the importance of this on incident, and languish in the dark thoughts generated by your low state of mind.
Left a Scar
You react to the event by limiting yourself, “I will never ask someone out again unless I am sure she will say, yes.” You blame the incident for limiting your future happiness and hold the memories in your head, where you feel the pain frequently.
In the grand scheme of things, what does this incident matter? Everyone has his share of adversity. “Not every woman is going to turn me down or say, yes!”
A Turning Point
Before that event you didn’t have the opportunity to enjoy life as you do now. That incident opened your eyes to your limited perception of life. You see possibilities you never saw before. You also see self-imposed limitations for the first time. When someone says something that once triggered an emotional tailspin, you realize the tailspin was all in your mind. You used to protect yourself from other people. Now you don’t have to olive in a shell. Your life has opened up. You have a fond memory of the event and the people associated with it. “She reminded me that I could be more discriminating. I used to ask out anyone who I thought would go out with me.”
Blessing In Disguise
You think of the event as a plus. Your inspired state of mind generates insight that helps your life even more. In retrospect it seems you “lucked out.”
Many of these women (and men) spend their time in that first category as I did. Sadly we keep making the same mistakes because dwelling in that low state keeps us very insecure and perpetuates the very thing we dislike. After a few self-inflicted broken hearts from our exceedingly high expectations and misguided thoughts about what love is, we swing to the opposite side of the pendulum with distance, anger and bitterness hoping that this thinking will protect our hearts and stop us from picking the “wrong” men. This actually works against us as George goes on to say:
When we put our attention on the past rather than on the present we end up making the mistake over and over because we are distracted by their memories. They step into an open manhole because they are thinking about their problems instead of where they are going. The injuries from the fall just add to the problems.
The hope is that all of this is unnecessary when we stop looking outside of ourselves for happiness and completion and recognize we are in charge of our happiness and realities. Negativity is a practiced bad habit and what is marvelous about that is that once we recognize we have free will to think, we can unlearn it and change our thinking to create a life experience that is what we always hoped for. I am seeing this manifest in my life, my families’ lives and my clients lives as well. It is all according to how much of your ego, beliefs and conditioning you are willing to let go of and how open you are to these ideas. Just being willing is all that it takes to experience a shift in your thinking.
If you want to find the mate of your life, change your perspective, change your thinking. Empty your mind of those past experiences, see your contribution and be open to the idea that there are so many possibilities and potential for you. Let go of your fears, worry, stop planning your future, and live in the moment. You will be pleasantly surprised at what happens. Start creating your life from the inside out and watch how your life unfolds in more positive ways.
Truly the title of this blog could be anything just fill in the blank: How Your Thinking Is Keeping You Fat, Addicted, Unhappy, Broke … you fill it in. Negative thinking spills over into every area of your life and essentially spoils it.
Many of us innocently use our thinking against ourselves. Negative thinking lowers the spirit. Any thinking that lowers the spirit is not good. Your thinking and the state of your spirit are directly linked and create your life experience—George Pransky PhD