The Simple Things Add Up… There Is So Much To Be Grateful For!

It’s real easy to become one of those people who love to complain (the woe is me people). They tend to complain all the time about everything under the sun. As a youth and young adult, I was innocent enough to believe what people were saying. I really thought there were plenty of valid reasons to complain: about the weather (most often), lack of money (runner-up), “white” folk, “black” folk, neighbors, friends, coworkers, the heavy set person taking up two seats on the subway, bad health, etc. I assumed the world just turned out to be like this and there was nothing much I could do about it. Being in that environment it’s really easy to get infected by that way of being.

Fortunately for me something clicked though, especially as I started traveling outside of the U.S., and reflecting on the culture and society I was born into. One of the great benefits of being born and spending time outside of the United States is having a different view of the world. Even though I was born and raised in the central city of Georgetown, Guyana, and we had indoor plumbing; I knew of and were friends with other kids who weren’t as fortunate. I saw poverty of a kind not comparable to that in the U.S. Yet these folks often had nothing but big smiles on their faces, while we had everything and were still complaining! How could this be?

It became crystal clear to me that the complaints had nothing to do with the outer circumstances. It was an attitude, a habit formed over time.

As I matured, and through countless interactions in the world, I learned that inner loneliness, clinging to expectations of how “we” think things should be, instead of appreciating what is, was among the reasons why we complain so much.

I realized further that the people, who seemed to complain very little, were those who connected to something “greater” than themselves.

Here’s what shifted for me. I began to express sincere gratitude for all the love and “hate” I had received and will keep receiving throughout your life. I became grateful for the clean water coming out of the tap, with just a simple gesture of my hand. Take into consideration that there are many people in other parts of the world spending upwards of six hours every day to get a little bit of water, and an unfortunate number die of thirst.

I became grateful for the lights that came on when I would flip the switch in my apartment. Large parts of the world have to do without electrical power! Say “thank you” for the variety of food that is available to you every day, around the globe there are countless numbers who get by on one scarce meal a day, or are simply starving.

Stop Beating Yourself Up, It’s Not Worth It!

Do you ever find yourself or feel the need blame others? How about constantly blaming and judging yourself? There was a time when I would verbally beat myself up for mistakes, saying things like, “I’m such a f-up,” and would often say very negative things, such as, “Things will never get any better,” or “I’m a loser,” or “I’m never going to amount to much” I would begin to feel angry and agitated as a result of this self-inflicted abuse, but I never connected the anger with my self-judgment.

It began to make sense that I would not be able to stop blaming others until i stopped blaming and judging self.

I began to realize that I was letting my thoughts run rampant, never stopping to discern whether or not what I was saying to myself was the truth or a lie. As a result, i was constantly allowing the wounded part of me, my ego self, to be in charge. And this part of me was filled with all the lies i had learned in the 30 years of life.

I wanted to stop doing this, but I’ve been doing it for a large part of my life. How do I stop?”

Stopping any negative behavior is always a challenge. Changing our thought process is especially challenging. However, there is a process available, but it will only work when you’ve decided that you really want to change. Changing from being self-abusive to self-loving has to become more important to you than continuing to try to control yourself through your self-judgments.

Here are a couple steps that may help if you’re in this space:

  1. Pay attention to your feelings. Learn to be aware of when you are feeling angry, anxious, hurt, scared, guilty, shamed, depressed, and so on.
  2. Make a conscious decision to learn about what you are telling yourself that is causing your pain, rather than ignoring it, turning to substances, or continuing to abuse yourself.
  3. Ask yourself, “What am I telling myself that is causing me to feel badly?” Once you are aware of what you are telling yourself, ask yourself, “Am I certain that what I’m telling myself is the truth, or is it just something I’ve made up?” Then ask yourself, “What am I trying to control by telling myself this?”
  4. Once you are aware that you are telling yourself a lie that is causing you to feel badly, and why you are telling it to yourself, ask the highest, wisest part of yourself, or ask an inner teacher or a spiritual source of guidance, “What is the truth?” When you sincerely want to know the truth, it will easily come to you.
  5. Change your thinking, by telling yourself the truth.
  6. Notice how you feel. Lies will always make you feel badly, while the truth brings inner peace.

Any time you are not in peace, go through this process to discover what lie you are telling yourself. Eventually, with enough practice, you will be in truth and peace more and more of the time.

Reprogramming: The Power To Train Your Mind

We have the power to train our mind to choose what we think, instead of allowing random thoughts to hold us hostage. The goal is to become inner-directed and focused, so that we become conscious to what we want to think, rather than have our thoughts and emotions determined by the world around us. The untrained mind has more emotional ups and downs because it is reacting to random thoughts.

Just like the Earth, the brain does not discern what we plant. It will work just as hard to grow weeds as it will to grow beautiful flowers. We determine the seeds that are planted by what we say to ourselves repeatedly. (more…)