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Tough Times: What to Do (and What Not to Do)

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Yesterday on my blog, we started talking about facing the truth. It really is where it all begins. To live the life we’re meant to live, to live a rich, rewarding, fulfilling life, we have to get real. But we are good at keeping the truth from ourselves.


So how do we know when something is off? How do we know when we’re in denial?


You’re going to hear me say this a lot. Our thoughts will tell us. If we begin to notice what we’re thinking, we’ll begin to notice where we’re not being real.


What’d You Say?
What you’re really thinking will come out in your behavior.


For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. – Proverbs 23:7


And if we learn to pay attention, our thoughts can also lead us to pay attention to the thing that we’re avoiding.


When we aren’t being deeply honest with ourselves (or others), it will often sound like “That’s just the way it is” or “I have no choice” or “It’s not really that big of a deal” or “It’s not that bad.” Maybe it sounds like “just one more” or “I’ll start tomorrow” (diets anyone?). It could sound like, “I can make this work” or “If I can just get through this …


Just Think Positive Thoughts!
There are a lot of people out there who will say “just be positive!” And it’s true. Thinking positively has a tremendous impact on your life. There’s just one thing. We can actually use positive thinking as just another form of denial.


Face it. If the dog abandons her housebreaking training and leaves a certain kind of horrific mess on your living room floor, you can decide to be positive and think, “It’s okay! She didn’t really mean to do it. It’s actually kind of decorative! And unique!”


Guess what. That isn’t going to change the fact that it stinks. Nor is all that positive thinking going to get your dog to start “going” outside.


I Think I Can, I Think I Can
It actually cracks me up. Mostly because I’ve done it. I’ve done it a lot and it looks funny in hindsight. We learn about how important our thinking is, so we just start thinking (and saying) all the right things.


“I’m happy! I’m happy! I’m happy, dammit,” we say. Or even better, we start quoting, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!” or “God uses all things for good!” through gritted teeth and with tense and tightened shoulders.


The truth is … we know when we’re faking it. So does everyone else around us.


Going Deeper
The truth is actually deeper than that. The truth is that underneath all that denial, underneath every self-defeating behavior, underneath any place that you’re stuck or place you’re staying that isn’t really the best place for you to be, you’re believing (and telling yourself) something that isn’t true.


Maybe it’s that you’re not good enough. Or maybe it’s that if you face the truth in that relationship, you’ll end up alone. Or maybe it’s that you don’t deserve it (whatever it is) … or worse, that you do.


The truth is that the dog made an unspeakable mess in the living room.


The good news is that once you acknowledge that, you can do something about it. The good news is that it’s actually a huge relief to release all that tension and energy you’ve been using to keep from seeing the truth.


The good news is that you can now use that energy to get up and clean the living room floor. And the good news is, you won’t have to do something about it alone.


Oh. And the good news is your house well smell much better.


What are you really thinking?


By Deb Owen, Work Her Way Expert

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