|| Flex Some Mental Muscle
How many negative thoughts run through your mind each day? Two? One hundred and two? If you're like me, you're not even aware of those little rascals. One day I did a little test and realized just what terrible things I say to myself on a daily basis. What person could keep positive, all the while being barraged with insults? I was giving myself a mental beating on a daily basis. I wouldn't allow most of those things to be said to my worst enemy.
Could you hold only positive thoughts for a day? A month? For the rest of your life? Eegads, I'm scaring you. Ok let's begin at the beginning.
A wonderful woman (ok, ok, my therapist) gave me a little trick which I had heard of many times before but never really paid much attention to. I'm sure you've heard of it too. You know the one, "wear a rubber band around your wrist and snap it each time you have a negative thought..." It may be used for quitting any sort of habit. I think knocking yourself down is a pretty good habit to quit, what do you think?
Back After Station Identification
We interrupt this broadcast for a word from our sponsor: Honesty. I just popped into my room for a moment because, believe it or not, I was about to pull a "do as I say and not as I do" on you. I, yes it's true, was not wearing a rubber band. And I couldn't do such a thing to you... as you know, we're in this together, right? So I'm joining you, promise.
Snap It, I Say!
One week that wonderful woman asked if I was doing the little exercise we had set up. "Well, I'm not snapping a rubber band but I am taking note and paying attention to the number of times I say something negative to myself." No, that's not good enough. There's something about that snap which makes something click, kinda like throwing cold water on someone or slapping their face (not that I recommend either). It's a sort of "wake up!" action. The snap snaps you out of it so keep the snap, ok?
A Few Tips for the Self-Conscious
Not thrilled with the prospect of wearing around a rubber band for the next month or so? Yeah, I wasn't either. Doesn't go with your ensemble, right? I went to the stationery store and low and behold there were rubber bands of all colors. So you aren't stuck with that dirty ol' beige color. Or mask yours with one of those cute bead bracelets you see everywhere these days (I *know* you have one!) Or a watch may do the trick. Distract attention from the offending item. Or just say "who cares, this is going to help me!" (And I promise it will.)
So what, so I'm snapping myself all day long, big deal. Well, here's the next part. And the last part. The second part and the last part both at once, how good is that? Shows you that this technique is *very* easy. So we're gonna be building that mental muscle in no time.
When you realize you've just thought something negative or said something to yourself which you would never, ever say to any other human being, at least not to one you liked ... snap! ... pause for a moment to disagree. What would the little angel on your right shoulder say to the little devil on your left? It only has to be one sentence, that's all. No big argument, just one comment. It's a breeze.
Devil: I can't believe I just tripped over that chair. I'm such an idiot.
Angel: You're not an idiot, you just weren't looking where you were going for a minute there. Actually, it was kinda funny, wasn't it?
Devil: Look at me! I definitely gained weight, my thighs look terrible!
Angel: Yes, you did gain a few pounds but you're still beautiful inside and out. You can either choose to accept yourself as you are or if you want to be healthier we'll start walking a little now and again.
Devil: Why did I just eat those cookies? I'm such a pig, I have no self control.
Angel: Ok, you made a mistake. Happens to the best of us. Tomorrow's another day.
Think of what you'd say to your best friend. Or if you had to defend someone from a big bully. Sometimes we are the big bully to ourselves.
This is what I noticed once I began doing this. First, I was amazed to realize what I actually say to myself almost in passing, like it's just a normal, everyday occurrence. As time went by, I was amazed that I was hardly saying these things at all anymore. It was so easy. Not that changing a habit is easy, far from it. You really have to be on top of it. But the thing is ... we often wait for some miracle or some revelation ... what is the secret? Give us the secret! The secret to feeling happier each day can be so simple and it doesn't come down with a clap of thunder and a big light show. It can be as simple as a tiny rubber band and taking a few moments each day to be more mindful. You deserve to be treated like an angel. You should treat yourself that way. .
So here's my challenge to you. Can you treat yourself with caring and love for a month? Are you willing to try? They say a habit is made in thirty days. Let's make a positive habit. My money's on you, I bet you can do it.
"Watch your thoughts, they become your words.
Watch your words; they become your actions.
Watch your actions; they become your habits.
Watch your habits; they become your character.
Watch your character for it will become your destiny.
If I am not for myself, who will be for me?
If I am only for myself, what am I?
And if not now, when?"
A shot of lightning hit me while looking for an appropriate image for this article and I decided to make some fun, funky bracelets to use as your snappers. So now you can look cool and stay positive at the same time!
Come take a look!
I welcome you to share your own personal stories and comments. Get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org. I'd love to hear from you!
Artwork and Text © 2002 Raphael Blue