Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Notions.....of the preconceived variety...and self talk

Hello folks, and welcome to another chapter in my spiritual growth.

There has been one major stumbling block in my life for as long as I can remember, and that's been me having preconceived notions about either how a person was going to act or think, or, in the case of a situation, how events would turn out. I would basically draw up the scenario in my mind, and then "connect the dots" as it were, using the information available to me, and further, assuming that whatever I came up with was a logical and completely rational picture of the event or person in question. Sometimes, events, and people's reactions or behaviors would follow exactly as I had predicted, but more often than not, they did not. My preconceived notions did nothing but hamper my ability to see the people and situations as they really were. I had been told on more than one occasion that it was wrong to do this, but it never sunk in, until recently.

As it turns out, I was completely wrong in EVER adopting this sort of thought process. While I could go and write another whole blog post about the ins and outs of my internal psyche, I am just going to simplify it and say that the reason I did it in the first place was that I was extremely worried about what others thought of me. I rationalized the fantasized scenarios to myself as "thinking ahead", "being prepared for anything", but in reality, all I was trying to do was make sure my feelings would not be hurt by anything that person did or said, or how the events turned out, since I was so deathly afraid of what other people would think of me.

The way I finally got past it, the way I got over that huge hurdle at last, was to accept and acknowledge the fact that I WAS concerned about what people thought. And then STOP DOING IT, right then and there. It might sound harder than that, but to me, it's like anything else. If you really want to do something, really and truly WANT to do something, then you will. Simple as that. If you want to quit smoking, honestly and truly, then you will quit cold turkey, and never do it again. That's the way it works for me at least. It may work differently for you. That's something else I've learned. Each and every one of us is different.

We are all unique individuals, living unique lives, so it follows then that our thoughts, emotions, and reactions to the same stimulus is also therefore unique. So why should any of us be concerned about what someone else thinks of us? We shouldn't. One of the greatest quotes of all time, in my opinion, states that "What others think of you is none of your business." I figured out what that means, to me, and it has of course affected how I interact with others.

Because I no longer chose to think about how others perceived me, I also found I needed to perceive myself in a different light as well. For the bulk of my life I have engaged in some very negative self talk, telling myself that I wasn't good enough, I didn't do anything right, and all of it driven by the constant "elephant in the room" of concern over how someone else would think of me. Without that encumbrance, I can now view myself in a much more positive light. I can say to myself "I CAN do these things I want to do, I DO deserve to be happy...." etc, etc. It's very liberating.

I want to close by saying that if any of you are struggling with the same things I've mentioned here, and you're saying to yourself  "Yup, that's me, boy, I wish I could do something about it, BUT....." let me tell you this. You and only you CAN do something. All you have to do is be willing to see that you have no need to worry about what other people think. YOU choose how you react to what people say. YOU choose your own emotional state. YOU choose what thoughts YOU have. You don't get to choose for anyone else. So what anyone else thinks is of no consequence. It is completely in YOUR control to change. I did, and you can too.

Thanks, and have a great day.

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