Recently, I heard an individual claim that he felt constantly happy. His explanation was that when he awoke each day, he began to think with gratitude about his life. Not only what he had, but what he learned, who he knew, and the opportunities he’d had. Before he got out of bed, his thoughts were firm in what he had going for him. Best of all, he said he was never sick. I realized, who could entertain sick thoughts with all those great ones filling one up full!
Follow up that talk with my daughter. She was regularly watching a new TV show with speakers that emphasized paying attention to your thoughts – the old adage, ‘what you think is what you are’. This led her to identify the thoughts she had about herself: how she looked, what she listened to others say about her. She realized that self-criticism made her not just unhappy, but miserable. As she thought better thoughts, life was looking good. Her conclusion – “Why should I believe what others say? I know who I am.” Right on.
Jump to a recent lesson I learned from the two of them. I serve on a committee that always seems to be disorganized, pushy, and downright angry. Talking it over with a friend, the recommendation came: “Let go of my thinking that was determined to ‘be right’. Pause, let the others think after you say something. then wait longer and see if they say what you would have said.” That night at the meeting, I paid attention to my thoughts. I was totally amazed. The very ideas I had mentioned slightly days before came back at me better than ever. A direction for action that I was going to suggest and ‘plead my case for’ was laid out beautifully, and it wasn’t me talking! I had changed my thoughts and actions, and the world changed with it. Epic.
A long ago poem springs to mind:
I am not what I think I am.
I am not what you think I am.
I am what I think you think I am.
And now to add:
I will think what I want
me to be.
And… Be grateful!