Next to my bed is a nightstand.
I presume that is a common arrangement in many bedrooms. Upon the shelf of the nightstand are many books; this too I assume is widespread.
Like me, I take for granted that many people have three categories of books populating their nightstands:
Some wait to be read. While at a bookstore, the concept between its covers was so striking that I plunked down money, thinking, “I will read that someday.” Alas, “someday” has yet to make its appearance. Being optimistic, I’m sure it will (probably about the same time as when “I get my act together”).
The second classification is books started but still unfinished. Maybe I lost interest, the story was not as expected, or simply “life kicked in.” I could give them away but feel like I betrayed them, (does co-dependence apply to books?) so I pledge to finish reading them in the future. Until that fateful moment, they too shall gather dust.
Finally comes the definitive category: Books completed. Residing here include authors such as Robert B. Parker, Dean Koonz, and Roger McBride Allen. Most are novels because I like to “escape.” However, there is one self-help book I have read over and over again. Although I do not buy into everything she says, You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay is infused with 210 pages of brilliantly simple wisdom (usually the best kind).
Hay’s philosophy, outlined in the foreword, includes:
- We are each responsible for our experiences
- Resentment, criticism, and guilt are damaging, and
- It’s only a thought, which can be changed.
Furthermore, says Hay, feelings are “thoughts that stick.”
This begets clarification. Most of our stream of consciousness flowing between our ears is emotionally neutral. However, periodically, for better or worse, we draw a thought from the current and focus on it. The longer we drill, the more emotional the thought. Emotions drive change. Change affects our future. So, put two and two together and one can see that thoughts actually do manifest themselves as our lives.
For example, I weigh 179 pounds. This is a statement of fact, a thought that might fire across my synapses upon stepping on a scale. It is as colorless as mayonnaise on white bread. However, should I place deep attention upon it, I might generate follow-up thoughts such as, “Is 179 a good weight or a bad weight? … What do others weigh? … How come some weigh less? … Should I weigh less also? … Why don’t I weigh what they weigh? … I must not be as good as they are.”
Voila! From a neutral thought is born an emotion,
In this case, a negative, limiting sentiment comparing myself unfavorably to others and placing myself in a position of inferiority. I have now made myself feel bad, incapable, damaged. Because of that, I am inclined to spend my time lurking in emotionally dark places, less disposed to attempt new things, maintaining the status quo — and most likely consoling myself with copious amounts of chocolate.
Conversely, should I determine 179 is a mighty fine number, thank you very much; one of which I feel proud; I am empowered, energized, and uplifted. I pursue life with fervor and engage it readily, all from a position of strength.
The thought, the number, is neutral.
What words I use in my internal dialogue about it decide my feelings. Should I feel unhappy, stagnant, or trapped; it might be a beacon that it’s time to change my thoughts; an idea certainly worth thinking about.
About the author: Scott “Q” Marcus is a motivational productivity expert and weight loss speaker. He is the CRP (Chief Recovering Perfectionist) of www.ThisTimeIMeanIt.com and founder of 21DayHabitChange.com, guaranteed to help you change a habit in just 3 weeks. He can be reached at 707.442.6243, email@example.com or facebook.com/ThisTimeIMeanIt.