Growing up, I can remember thinking, “gosh, my life sucks.” As I got into my teens my thinking became, “this is just the way my life was meant to be.” One childhood incident taught me a very negative lesson. I learned that I simply was not good enough and no matter how hard I tried, my life would just be what it was. My way of thinking and being became completely negative. When good things happened, I enjoyed them but my attitude didn’t allow me to stay in that good place for very long. My overall being was, “yeah, it’s good right now but I know something bad is coming along soon.” I was always expecting something bad or negative to happen so that is exactly what I got. I began to feel like there was always a dark cloud following me around. Every once in a while the sun would peek through but soon after the dark clouds would cover it up again.
Fortunately for me, I had others looking out for me that refuse to let my life be just what it was. As I got into my twenties I had wonderful women investing in my life, helping to instill positive reinforcements and encouraging words as to who and what I could be. For years they told me that I had the power to change the things in my life that I didn’t like, starting with my attitude. So I began to think that things could possibly be better. However, when problems, issues or not so good situations arose my negative thinking came back. As the saying goes, old habits die hard.
Honestly, it wasn’t until I started studying the Bible with a lady I’d just met around the time was 28 years old that I really started to think and envision my life in a different way. Maybe, just maybe, possiby, God had a bigger plan for me than I had for myself. It took a while and it took time to process how to change something I had been doing and thinking for most of my life. I have always been an avid reader but it wasn’t until that same lady who studied the bible with me asked me to read the book Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer with her a few years ago that I truly started to understand just how my thinking was affecting my growth and progress as an adult.
So I decided to focus my attention more on thinking about what I was thinking. I focused on how I was thinking, what I was saying to myself during the times that were the hardest for me. When situations came about I was consciously thinking about what I was thinking. I began to take note of my thoughts and I really didn’t like what I saw (or thought). I made an important decision about my life. If I was ever going to do better or be better, I first had to change my way of thinking. I surrounded myself with things that would help me to focus on the positive. I read books on meditation, I journaled more, I began to walk in 5K races, I read christian fiction and I even changed the radio station in my car to jazz and instrumental only music.
It took some time, more like some years but I can finally say that I do not struggle with negative thinking anymore. When I find myself going down that road, I can very easily reverse it because I now have so many tools to use that I no longer get stuck in that cycle. For years, I’d heard and read about how our thinking can impact our lives. For so long I felt that changing was not possible for me. It would work for some but definitely wouldn’t work for me.
If negative thinking is something you struggle with, I encourage you to not give up on changing that habit. Try a few of these:
- Start small by simply reading a quote or a scripture each day. Write it down and read it whenever you feel that negative thinking is taking over
- Read a book, any book
- Take a yoga class
- Schedule some time to walk two or three times a week
- Pray for positive thoughts
- Start writing down three things each day that you are grateful for
- Post your favorite quotes around your house or at work where you can see them often
Everything gets better with a little time and some effort…:)