The Negative Mind

Negative thinking is subtle and deceptive.  It wears many faces and hides behind the masks of many excuses.  It is important to strip away the mask and discover the real, root emotion. ~Robert H. Schuller

This past weekend made me, unexpectedly, reflect on the few changes that has happened in my life.  I have just begun incorporating the phrase, “I am a positive thinker” in my daily life, even when I know it is very difficult for me to be optimistic, but after being held accountable a few weeks ago, by someone who I believe was sent to literally walk right into my life during the worst time, I am slowly beginning to take the phrase more seriously.  Being in a constant battle with your thoughts can be toxic to your mind, body, and spirit, but you hardly notice what the negative thoughts are doing to you physically and mentally because you, unknowingly, make excuses for your negative mind.

For example, I always had negative conceptions about my looks, my ability to do new things, and if I was ever good enough.  School, family, relationships, friendships, or just about anything you can think of, I had doubts about being successful.  Overall, I rarely noticed all of the positive attributes about myself because my negative thinking had me wearing “the masks of many excuses” such as, “That person does not like me”, “I cannot wear that outfit because I’m too small”, “I am not smart enough”, “I am not pretty enough to be with him or “thick enough”…hey I’m a slim chick!  Or, “I do not do enough for my family to show that I love and care about them”…you see what I mean, my list of excuses could probably cover an entire page, front and back.  Now, while I kept replaying these negative thoughts in my head, along with a few more, I forgot to congratulate myself when I was accepted into a prestigious greek letter organization, graduated from college, began working as an educator, or continued my education and being two months away from graduating with a Masters in Teaching Special Education, while dealing with random trips to the emergency room and a few procedures.  One of which I have coming up this week!         

I realized it was time for me to take off my masks and when I had the courage to do so, I began seeing myself for the first time and I know that may seem a little weird to say.  Yes, I have mirrors in my place, so I see myself everyday, but I SAW MYSELF.  The real beautiful me with no make-up, gorgeous smile, and a mane that is only fit for a queen.  Suddenly, I saw the insecurities creep back into my mind, but I had to make a choice.  To continue to hide behind that masks and look at the many excuses I made up for myself or marvel at the intelligent beauty that was looking back at me saying, “I was here all along, so what took you so long?”

Since making that decision, things have not been the same, but they have not been easier either.  The negative mind is a strong, tough, and powerful being that takes a lot to get over, at least for me and maybe I will never be completely over my negative mind.  However, on the days I feel discouraged and I want to give up, I tell myself, I am a positive thinker and I think about the many things that I accomplished in the midst of my many storms and I also think about the good things that are to come.  Have you been hiding behind your masks of many excuses because you continuously think negative about your life or yourself?  When you are ready, and you will know when you are ready, take off all of the masks and discover the real you and be ready to face the root.

Living a Life of Gratitude

Gratitude is defined as being thankful or showing appreciation and the willingness to return acts of kindness.  In my opinion, gratitude is an act that is rarely portrayed because everyone often expects something at the click of a button or believes that they deserve much more than they actually do.  I believe that in order to live a life of gratitude, you have to get out of your own way and practice humility.  Once you are able to adopt the characteristic of being humble on a daily basis, you will realize that there are countless things to be thankful for and you will want others to experience the same positive feeling you receive as well.  After all, who does not want to feel appreciated!

 

Now let’s face it.  It is very difficult to experience gratitude when you are constantly worrying, in a state of fear, or in an angry space.  If you are expecting an apology that you have not received, the promotion you eagerly want, or even chasing an appearance that is deemed acceptable by society’s standards due to your personal fear of not being accepted, it is quite natural that you may forget to stop and show appreciation for everything that you currently have.  Eventually, you end up forgetting about all of the positive things that you should be grateful for.  You may think they are small and they are not worth the time acknowledging, but all of those little things amount to big things that directly affect you and make you…you.  So be thankful!

 

Take some time out from your busy schedule and life on social media and really reflect on everything that has occurred in your life.  Yes, I am sure there will be bad situations, but believe it or not there are plenty of good ones too.  Make a list of all of the things you are thankful for…I mean everything.  For example, I am thankful for friends, family, the ability to make my own decisions, even the fact that I have food in my refrigerator makes me happy.  Just think…there is someone in the world, maybe even in your neighborhood, who is not able to say those very same things and could only dream of possibly having half of what you have.  However, this will not stop you from making attainable goals for yourself, but it should make you feel proud of what you have already accomplished and thankful for those who have helped you along the way, because you did not do it alone.

 

Ultimately, living a life of gratitude is a learned lifestyle.  To some it is quite simple and to others it is rather difficult due to focusing on the materialistic, their status, or the feeling of entitlement.  However, you cannot forget to take the time out to reflect on your life and not on the things that you want to fix, regret, or want for yourself, but what you currently have, especially those things that no one can take away.

Thoughts Have Power

Is it just me, or do you believe that every single day when your alarm clock goes off, you feel as if you are, at times, in a race? You begin to think about what you have to accomplish for the day and not only do you focus on your “to-do list”, but somehow all of the other things begin to flood your mind, including finances, family, career, and dare I say it…your life! Your mind can spin, at least mine does, on questions like, What if I fail? What is my purpose in life? Will I ever get married? (shout out to my single friends) And of course this list can go on forever. However, have you ever paid attention to how much power you allow your thoughts to have, negative or positive.

 

Well, I do not want to focus so much on negative versus positive thinking, but I do want to focus on the word power. Basically, power means control. Now, for myself, I prefer to be in control as much as I possibly can, but there are some instances when I cannot and will not have the ability to be in control and that is frightening to me! I often try to force myself to take control of those instances and I fail miserably because my thoughts go into overdrive, trying to think of every possible solution or scenario and suddenly, I allow my thoughts to take the wheel and eventually they drive me right into a ditch. Then, I either give up and let things take its course, like I should have in the first place, or I realize that it was simply not for me to control and I walk away. 

 

Yet, all of this sparked with just thoughts and it is so easy to give in to any and all of them. Most often than not, every thought precedes an action. Consciously or subconsciously, we end up making decisions based on what we think. Based on that, you should ask yourself if you have power over your thoughts or do your thoughts have power over you?