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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

How to Effect a Thought Change

When we're in a downward thinking mode, everything and everyone we see lacks charm and worth for us. We criticize everyone. Sometimes we don't even stop at criticism, we condemn everyone for their obvious flaws and faults. If we are really honest, we are angry with everyone. We are angry with the world as it is.

What we forget is that it is very painful to be angry. Fear is painful and anger is just fear turned outward. Sometimes we get so "into it" that we project our anger inwards and out. We don't like ourselves very much and we certainly don't like "them."

What we need is an attitude change. But our attitude doesn't change unless our thinking changes first. And this is very hard to do when we are deep into a thought pattern. It's a great trap. The deeper we get into it, the harder it is to get out of it.

Sometimes I find this simple device helps. I say to myself "It is now time for a thought change." This seems to be more effective than to try to change to producing positive thoughts from a deep negative attitude. Then I can ask my brain to come up with something positive. Anything. Sooner or later, if I continue to insist earnestly,  I always think of some tiny benign thought.

This morning I found I could come up with a positive thought about my dog. (I didn't even try to think of a positive thought about my husband). Start small. Then I could think something nice about the trees. I went from there and bam! Midway in my virtuous thinking the negative thought pattern started up again. So I said to myself "no habitual negative train of thought here please, get back to thinking something nice. " I kept insisting and insisting and insisting and insisting. After a while a few nice thoughts "stuck." After a while I got out of my doom and gloom and called a friend for lunch.

But I never forgot, even during all the negative thinking and the pain it caused me,  that I knew I was sourcing all this darkness for myself. I had only my thoughts to blame and I could change my thoughts. It took a lot of effort to make the change. I never gave up. It was worth the effort.

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