You Are What You Think: Likes, Dislikes and Change

Mentalist

Have you ever had something come up and you instinctively disliked it?  Was this dislike based on an actual reason, or was the dislike merely because it wasn’t what you were expecting?  Why does something changing have to be about liking or disliking?

Humans have a complicated relationship with change.  We can find it disturbing if it comes upon us unexpectedly, but if things stay the same for too long we get bored.  If we don’t have any perspective or control over our reactions to the changes in life; than we spend our time constantly rocketing from one reaction to the next, a helpless passenger on the roller coaster of life.

I was told recently that you have to divorce yourself from the outcome of a situation and focus instead on doing your best and that is the only way to come through a troublesome situation unharmed.  It was exactly what I needed to hear.  The situation I was going through seemed completely dreadful at the time and I really had no control over it, or any way to make the bare facts of it better.  The sad part, for me, was that I had been looking forward and working toward this moment for quite some time, and now it here it was and it was not at all what I was expecting.  My only option at that point was to try and focus on my attitude toward the situation and not the situation itself and that is what I tried to do.  I will admit that I could have done a better job, as it was I stayed pretty distraught about it for a few weeks.

Looking back now my instinct is to be hard on myself for this lapse but that would be starting the cycle over again.  So instead of beating myself up and disliking my reaction to this change, I’m gonna think about how to do better next time.  Life is never going to stop changing and I’m never going to stop working on myself and those things combined give me something to look forward to.  So bring on the change, life, and I will try to see it for exactly what it is, neither good nor bad but possibly exciting!

Good News! Never Underestimate The Power of Hope!

Chant BeautyWould you have clicked on this post if the title had been bad news?

I turned on NPR this morning just in time to hear a gentleman say that you will never get someone to change their mind by yelling at them.  That comment tied in perfectly with this blog that I was already planning.

So would you click on a bad news link?  Maybe and maybe not, but don’t we all have enough negativity in our own situations without getting more of it from others?

Life is too short to be constantly focused on the bad stuff but unfortunately it’s human nature to obsess over the things that go wrong.  It takes effort to focus the mind on the good stuff.  It takes effort to count your blessings.  The reward from that effort is that you eventually train your brain to see the good without effort and you train the people around you to think of you as a source of inspiration and positivity.

When I became a stepmom I did a lot of research on child rearing and one of the suggestions I came across repeatedly was to not overuse the word no.  Instead of constantly harping on what the child is doing wrong and the dire consequences that will follow their mistakes, try to tell them what the right thing to do would be and the positive consequences that result from good decision making.  If you are only telling them what not to do, you leave them with no way forward, they are stuck knowing that what they did was wrong but with no information on how to make it right.  This same principle applies to every sort of human communication in our lives. It would work quite well in romantic relationships too.  So don’t be a nag, be a cheerleader!

The take away is this: if  you have a message that you want to get out there to the world, if you want to change peoples minds about an issue, I would suggest you take the advice of the quote above.  Don’t lead through fear or righteous indignation.  Don’t tell people what they shouldn’t do.  Tell them what they should do and why it would be better for them if they did!  Never underestimate the power of hope!