Another great quote once again posted on I Am That Girl:
You need to learn how to select your thoughts just the same way you select your clothes every day. This is a power you can cultivate. If you want to control things in your life so bad, work on the mind. That’s the only thing you should be trying to control.” -Elizabeth Gilbert, courtesy of Andrea Owen, Your Kick Ass Life
So to the point and seemingly simple, right? It’s so easy to go in your closet and pick out a shirt and pants for the next day of work. Yet getting your mind to slow down or getting out of your mind for that matter can seem like an impossible task. One of my biggest struggles has always been in the power I give to my thoughts, or the lack of control I’ve felt I had over them. I’m a writer, I’m fascinated with psychology, and I’m actually pretty darn good at psychoanalyzing myself. All of these things = thinking…a lot.
We all think. We all have thousands and thousands of little thoughts running through our minds on a given day. Unless you reach the Buddhist concept of nirvana, I don’t think you can ever truly turn your mind off. But what we can do is control how often those thoughts come. We can control what we do with them. We can control what they say and furthermore, how they make us feel.
This is something I’ve really been trying to work on in recent months. I didn’t realize how much of a habit a negative inner dialogue had become until I literally started to look from the outside at what was going through my head (the Power of Now that I mentioned in an earlier post has some incredible insights on this idea too). I’d think things to myself that I would never in my life say to a closest friend so why would I tell myself them?
It’s amazing how hard on ourselves we can be and how much of a weapon we make our minds instead of empowering ourselves and our minds and using them to build ourselves up and to build those around us up. We compare ourselves to others. We make ourselves feel less than. We tell ourselves we’re not skinny enough, not pretty enough, not successful enough. We judge. We try to control everything outside of ourselves to somehow change those inner thoughts and feelings, but no amount of external validation is going to change what we ourselves think in our own minds. The only way to change that is to take control of our mind, take control of our thoughts, and start validating ourselves from the inside. Even if it’s something as simple as saying “I’m beautiful” or “I’m a good person.” Sometimes for me, even just taking a deep breath helps. It’s incredible how much easier it is to think the most negative things sometimes. So much so, it just becomes a habit; a habit that’s hard to break. But thinking good thoughts can become a habit too. Controlling what we think and where we let our minds go can become the new norm.
I think maybe Peter Pan had it right when he said “think happy thoughts.” It’s not just to bring fairies back to life…it’s to bring ourselves back to life.