Our Consciousness is More Malleable Than We Think
I am prone to bouts of depression, or shall I say I have been in a funk many times in the past.
At one point in my life, I was young and living alone in an apartment. It was one of those things where I got exactly what I wanted but for some reason I wasn’t happy about it.
I used to think that if I just got X, Y, and Z or if this or that happened, everything would be perfect. Now I know better that that is a set up for failure.
On one particularly lonely evening where I just felt generally down in the dumps, I picked up the phone and called my older sister.
Unlike myself, she was in her prime at that moment. She was living on a beautiful lot in Northern California with her dog, managing a department at Whole Foods, and working in her garden daily. She was genuinely happy and thriving.
I told her about my funk and explained that there was seemingly no reason behind it and I prepared myself for her stellar advice. Because, well, her advice is always stellar.
This is what she told me and I will never forget:
When you have a negative thought, catch yourself and think something positive.
Um, what? Okay. That seems too easy.
She said without the shadow of a doubt that it is full proof and it works. She told me to just try it and explained that after a while, it becomes a habit.
Create a New Habit in a Matter of Days
Some people say 21 days, some people say 5 days, some people say other numbers. I am at the point where I think it’s relative to the person doing the experiment.
Either way, I did the thing she suggested. For a week I flipped my thoughts from negative to positive.
It was not easy. Particularly because I was lonely and going through a break up with a nightmare of a narcissist. However, I did it.
From that point on, my first thought was that of positivity. When something unfortunate did end up happening, I would fearlessly allow the negative thought and then I would naturally shift into a positive.
Things Still Come Up
Like I said, I was lonely and going through a real messy heartbreak. With a narcissist. Anyone who knows anything about those people knows that they leave and come back with a vengeance.
I was young and therefore not as strong as I am now. So, as time progressed, I failed certain tests and let a lot of negativity back in to my life.
Later, other things came up and I again allowed negativity in from other places.
That’s life, though. We can’t always be perfect and we definitely can’t always be strong. We also can’t change the past. Luckily, we can learn from it, though.
Throughout the different hardships that I let (and tried not to let) occur in my life, I would always come back to this lesson. I was always (usually) able to shape my thoughts back to those of goodness.
Eventually You May Forget
When those not-so-happy times come and go, it’s easy to forget the beneficial lessons like this that we learn along the way; it is for me anyway.
It’s natural and human to forget and fall down every now and then because it gives way for a new learning opportunity. For that, I am grateful.
Had I always remembered the lesson, maybe I wouldn’t have fallen into different traps that lead me to where I am now, who knows.
I will end with a famous quote we all know, especially if anyone has one of those rubber, robot wall fishes:
In every life we have some trouble,-Bobby McFerrin
But when you worry you make it double.
Don’t worry, be happy…
Sometimes it really is that simple.