“We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery, we need humanity; more than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost.” – Charlie Chaplin
It was one of those weeks when I kept thinking how much I suck. My mind, with its high IQ and higher education, was brilliantly stacking all the evidence against me.
Yep, the mind is a beautiful thing. But I’m slowly learning that my mind isn’t always the smartest or most reliable source of information whenever it dwells on the pain, or the past, or the problem.
You’ve got to train your mind to be kind.
Negative thinking is a shared human experience, and even more so for anyone raised in a hypercritical, violent household (like me). Scientists say we have up to 60,000 thoughts per day and 80 percent of those are negative. Yikes. It’s a phenomenon called “automatic negative thoughts” or ANTs. So, basically, we have an army of ANTs scuttling about in our head with nothing better to do than poop on our parade.
Unchecked, our minds make us believe that our thoughts, especially the sucky, negative ones, are the absolute Truth. Our minds tend to trick us into believing we’re worthless, incapable, unlovable. And the ultimate betrayal: the mind talks us into hiding out and playing smaller than we’re capable of (when our heart knows better).
The mind and its endless train of thoughts can be a hammer in our heads, pounding away to worry, worry, worry about all the things that might go wrong. It will try its damnedest to convince us that we’ll never be good enough (so, why even try?). It can nag, criticize, and ridicule us, relentlessly – especially when the mind thinks it’s being “realistic” about our wasted efforts, unattainable dreams and so-called magical stuff (stuff that’s as real as the air we breathe), like self-belief and love, kindness and forgiveness, visions and faith.
No one on this planet lives a trouble-free reality. Yet, it’s often the perception of our problems that make or break us. The best way to manage this paradox is to catch the downer thought in the moment – and release it. Catch and release, and then, replace that pessimistic thought with a positive thought, one that’s actually constructive (or even neutral). A thought that’s kinder and wiser and helps raise you up and sets you back on your natural course . . . to climb that mountain you were born to climb.