Changing your thinking can change your life.

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Change your thinking

 

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about thinking. (Dangerous territory, I know.) But I’m becoming conscious everyday of the fact that I am in control of my own thinking, and when I decide to change my thinking, I can alter the outcome or result of my actions or my mood.

We all create our own thoughts and it’s genuinely becoming clearer to me that what we’ve been told all along is true – negative thoughts bring on negative situations, while positive thoughts bring about good ones.

It might sound a little airy-fairy (oh christ she’s on one again) but seriously, bare with me.

I recently read the below example in a book titled ‘Say Yes to Life’ (yes, I wish I’d written it!) which totally had me relating to it and realising just what a significant difference our thoughts can make to how we behave, and ultimately to how we live our lives:

You go into the staff canteen at lunch time and sit down at a table where other staff members are talking animatedly about the previous night’s soccer game.

You sit there for a few minutes; nobody talks to you.

You begin to think, They’re ignoring me. They must find me very boring. They probably didn’t want me to sit down here in the first place.

These thoughts lead to a rush of feelings, including sadness, disappointment and anger, embarrassment and humiliation.

You react by keeping your head down, hoping no-one will notice. You gulp your lunch down quickly and leave the table as soon as possible. As you leave the canteen, you vow never to go there again and always eat your lunch at your desk thereafter.

So we feel what we feel because of the way we think, and this influences how we behave!

Now here’s the same scenario but with different thoughts.

You go into the staff canteen at lunchtime and sit down at a table where other staff members are talking animatedly about the previous night’s soccer game.

You sit there for a few minutes; nobody talks to you.

This time, your thoughts are, Gosh, these guys are so passionate about that game that they didn’t even notice I sat down. It must have been quite a match, I wish I’d have seen it.

You feel interested and curious. You remain at the table eating your lunch and enjoy listening to the passionate exchanges. After a while, you begin to join in by asking a question about the score. You chat away with the group until it is time to return to work.

Same scenario, two totally different outcomes because of the different thoughts. 

I recognised this situation on a number of occasions and I’m sure many of us have experienced something similar before.

I decided to put this new thinking into practise. So at a recent event, amongst 200 people of whom I knew two (and they were running around far too much for me to follow them without them noticing) I had to speak to new people.

Now don’t get me wrong, I LOVE talking to new people. But sometimes, I might have a crazy little thought that maybe they won’t enjoy talking to me. (I know, right, of course they would! Thanks guys.) But there’s the first problem, I’ve created this habitual thought that they might not.

So a couple of times – rather than going through that horrendous feeling when you’re standing on your own in a room full of people and the only thing to look at is your phone (but you are in a different country so no-one back home is awake and free to speak to so you’re really just staring at a blank screen in the hope that no-one thinks you’re a total loser and figures you must have friends because you’re texting them on your phone) – yeah, rather than going through that, I was desperate to just hide in the toilets until it was time to go into the theatre where there was no pressure to talk to anyone.

BUT instead of hiding in the toilets (for any longer than five minutes anyway) I stood on my own, and instead of looking at my phone, I looked around, and I saw lots of other people standing on their own and looking at their phones as well and I wondered if they were dying slightly inside too. So I thought I’d just find out and I went over for a chat with the first sorry victim I could find.

I think it was a look of relief on the lady’s face when I went over and I wondered whether she too had in fact been dying a little inside at standing alone. But whether she had been or not, now she was trapped muahaha there we were, standing and chatting and no longer alone.

Because there’s always someone just like you to team up with.

And when I’d done it once, well the rest of the day was a breeze. I think they call it networking, darrrling. In fact, I came away from the event with lots of new contacts, new information, interesting things I’d learned AND no-one dashed off to the loo mid-sentence or fell asleep while I was chatting. So that’s good.

And I guess the next time I’m thrown amongst 200 strangers I’ll be eager to talk their ears off too. Y’kno, cos’ I can.

Although the ladies toilets is one of the top places for discovering things about people that they’d probably never share in any other environment, if I had have hidden in there for the day, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have learned quite as much.

 

Have you experienced something similar? Have you recognised that just changing your thinking can change your life? Let me know!

 

x

 

If you’re anything like me, thinking about thinking can sometimes get all too much! But talking about it helps. Get in touch at  littleredfrench@gmail.com and let’s talk thinking!

Or leave a comment below:

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Some things never change.

Get it together

When I was 12 years old, I remember thinking 24 was the age I’d have it all figured out. I was sure I’d know exactly what I wanted to do with my life, I was adamant I’d be bloody loaded, and positive that I’d be so totally grown up that I wouldn’t even dream of caring what anyone thought of me.

Well, 24 arrived this month, and to my surprise I didn’t wake up on my birthday and suddenly have my shit together.

What’s worse, is that when I think about it, my 12 year old perspective of the world and of myself, hasn’t actually changed a lot.

You see, when I was 12, I never thought at the age of 24:

  • That I’d still look in the mirror and immediately focus on the bits I hate.
  • That I’d still look in the mirror and hate anything at all.
  • That I’d still be hurt by girls because of boys.
  • That I’d still be hurt by girls because of girls.
  • That I’d still have a burning desire in many a situation to storm off screaming ‘I can’t do it!’
  • That the sound of my mother asking me to sort out laundry would still provoke the want to foot stamp and slam a door.
  • That I’d still have to book in an evening to tidy my bedroom.
  • That I’d still have a messy bedroom.
  • That I’d still cry, on a weekly basis, just because.
  • That I’d still worry about what to wear to parties.
  • That sometimes the only thing to make a bad day better would still be a hug from my mum.
  • That I’d still be questioning the stupidity of the male species.
  • That I’d still be wondering if I was clever enough, or pretty enough, or interesting enough, or thin enough.

 

These are the sort of worries that at high school were simply blamed on hormones and teenage tantrums and they would undoubtedly be ‘grown out of’. But the world failed to mention that they were all in fact to blame on this crazy little thing called life. Or more specifically, this crazy little thing called being a woman. And that they probably wouldn’t go away, ever.

Don’t get me wrong though, some things may not have changed much compared to half of my lifetime ago, but what has changed significantly is the way I handle those things (thank goodness):

  • When I look in the mirror I do focus on the bits I hate, but that’s before I force myself to look at the bits I appreciate.
  • I don’t think I’ll ever not hate something about myself, sadly I think it’s embedded into female DNA, but luckily I’ve learnt to love a lot of things to counteract it.
  • If a girl hurts me because of a boy, they’re probably not worth my time or a place in my life.
  • If a girl hurts me because of a girl, they’re probably no good for me.
  • When I do want to storm off screaming ‘I can’t do it,’ I’ll stick it out until I realise that I can.
  • When my mother asks me to do the laundry – to be honest, I think that will always provoke a foot stamp, but I appreciate the need for chores (I think.)
  • Tidy room, tidy mind (isn’t that what ‘they’ say?) I put aside time every once in a while to organise my busy life before I go crazy, and a tidy room is just a little part of that.
  • Being messy – it will never change, but, as above, I keep it under control when I can.
  • Crying on a weekly basis – for me, it’s a mental and physical release, and if I didn’t do it my head would explode. So there.
  • I think I’ll always worry about what to wear to parties, to go out, to go to work, to go to the gym – but once I’ve made the decision and stuck to it confidently, well I’d say that’s a pretty grown up thing to do.
  • Men are loveable idiots – the sooner I learn to accept their stupidity the better.
  • I’ll always need a hug from my mum, some things just never change.
  • And as for being clever enough, or pretty enough, or interesting enough, or thin enough – although I’ll never know what ‘enough’ really is, and realistically I may not ever be it, what I have learnt is that being ‘me’ is just fine.

Wait a minute – maybe I do have my shit together after all.