I’m not saying we are the ones who determine what circumstances come into our lives, because most of the time we have no control over that, but we are the ones who can control how we react to those circumstances – and that’s how we can begin to create a better story – by editing what we write (or rather allow) into our lives.
I caught myself worrying today. A year ago, this would have driven me insane to the point of having a panic attack. I would’ve allowed myself to keep ruminating over the same thoughts over and over again until I found some sort of “certain” solution that would “fix” my problem. Of course, I would never find that solution, but only find more tiny problems within my already significant problem, which would end up causing more worry. I decided after my breakdown that this cycle must end, because it was neither healthy nor productive.
“The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it.” – Eckhart Tolle
The key to how satisfied we are in life really depends on our thoughts. Think of your thoughts like the words in a novel. If you have great sentences and paragraphs, then your novel is going to be pretty interesting and great. But if you have poor grammar or a really negative, jumbled storyline, you can guarantee your story is going to suck. I’m not saying that our stories can’t have unhappy parts, because this is life after all – it’s not perfect and bad things are going to happen occasionally. But what you can control is how you write the story. You can choose to make light out of any kind of darkness. You can choose to find the good in between all the bad. You never have to just give in and live miserably unless that is what you choose. So many people fall into that trap thinking that just because their life is difficult, it means that they must give in and let that difficulty take over. No. Sorry. It doesn’t have to be that way as much as you feel that there is absolutely no way out. There is always a way out in every circumstance.
I woke up today in a particularly foul mood. I try not to wake up this way, but it so happens that I also went to bed in that same mood because I felt upset about how much I’ve overspent in the last week. Yes, it was something I could’ve controlled by being more aware of my spending. Yes, it is my own fault for allowing myself to be so irresponsible to overspend. So yes, I did create my own stress by creating this problem that arose out of that irresponsibility. But, nonetheless, I was still angry and still worrying.
So what was I to do about it? Stay angry? Allow myself to overthink all day long about how I could fix the situation right that second? Obviously not. So I decided to change the story, to edit out a few thoughts and replace them with more positive ones. One, I realized that I did make a mistake of being irresponsible, but it was not the end of the world because I do have a steady income from a steady job so there will be another chance and managing my money more wisely. Two, I began to think about how there are many people out there who are struggling with unemployment and how blessed I was to actually have the opportunity of work. Three, I went further into counting my blessings and realized that not only do I have a job, but I also have a home, food on the table, and many other luxuries that many unfortunate people also do not have. So really why was I worrying?
Sure there are bad moments in our lives, there are times we make mistakes, but if we just take a step back and look at the entire picture, we can see how much we really do have rather than how much we don’t. I started to feel a bit more positive after that. Telling myself that it would be ok and that luckily I was not in a worse situation – say starving for food, not having a job, or being homeless. We take these everyday necessities for granted too often and we really need to appreciate how fortunate we really are.
Back to my point about learning how to re-write your story, I basically had to replace the negative, angry feelings I had been feeding myself with positive ones that allowed me to change my perspective on my problems. Sure, it may not be that easy with other problems, such as losing your job or finding out you have an illness. But there is always a silver lining in every circumstance, whether it is to teach us something new, make us stronger, or allow us to change direction from what we thought was best. Remember that you hold the pen. You can feed your mind whatever thoughts you choose to and that’s the way you will begin to feel.
This may not even have to do with our happiness level in the sense of everyday thoughts, it could also be our life goals. If we keep telling ourselves we can’t do something or we’re too old or not smart enough, then of course we’re never going to accomplish anything. We must feed ourselves with positive stories. Tell yourself that you are smart and beautiful and funny and you can accomplish anything. Tell yourself that you are good at writing or painting or playing the piano. Tell yourself you can get a promotion because you deserve it. Tell yourself that you will become a star, and you will get that much closer to your goal. Remember to feed it pure and positive thoughts so you will begin to feel happier and more motivated, which will then help you live out a better story.
The Self Love Daily Challenge: Edit your story.
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