We have all heard the expression that when we are young our minds are like a sponge. As children, we learned nearly anything simply by watching other people perform tasks. Ideas that adults offered us seemed almost immediately absorbed by our youthful brains. We took in massive amounts of data as we quickly developed motor skills and explored our universe! We learned at such a rapid rate that we took in more than we should have, and this set us up for later in life, to have to change. Many things we learned are undesirable, like the use of manipulating other people and negative thinking. I have noticed though that when we are older and experienced that learning can take on a completely new meaning. When it comes to changing and self-help, many things simply need to be unlearned! In fact, we may have difficulty changing our thinking and emotional states until we do.
Our mind is like a word processor and a calculator combined. We use words, numbers and pictures to conclude various things and arrive at discernment. Words are what we mainly use while forming pictures (visualizing). Numbers are what we use to estimate distance, etc. clearly. What happens when we try to determine how another person will react to something we say or do? We begin to try to utilize words to calculate an outcome, and it causes conflict. The conflict begins because we are striving to use our word processor to calculate. Anytime you are imagining what another person will do, say or even will not do or say, you are calculating with the use of words. This is when inner dialogue has you in its grip!
I read yet another article today concerning the importance of eliminating our ego. This issue has always confused me because it is loaded with contradictions. Just as there are, many gurus and self-helpers out there with negative contradictions concerning the word should. Seriously, life coaches and gurus are making money by selling us their ideas on what we should do to improve our lives. In the next breath, they state that the word should is damaging to us. The same applies to the ego, just as many are telling us to chip away at it one portion at a time, and eliminate it. In the next breath, they sell us on how to improve our self-respect, self-esteem, and self-worth. They even go as far as telling us how important money is and deliver methods of how to attract it!
Friends and relatives have asked me what I did to change my life and how I managed to become so happy. This question is hard to answer, as there is no one thing I have done. Today I found what I think may have made the most significant difference. I stopped inner dialoguing. Inner dialogue affects us more than we may realize. It triggers fear and anxiety as we attempt to control outcomes beforehand. The subject is complex and to explain it all to you would take an entire book. I mean why we do it, and how we develop the habit of this processing varies. In some ways, it is something we do to avoid confrontations, and develop lies or excuses that we can tell others. On the other hand, we may just be asking questions while trying to find answers. The problem is that when we ask ourselves questions, many times we perceive or even pretend (act) as if someone else is doing the asking.
Some people have stated that affirmations do not actually work or at least make a substantial difference. They say that telling ourselves positive things without a firm belief in what we are saying is ineffective. Many believe that writing affirmations and posting them around your home or office increases changes in your belief systems. Some have determined that with time the mind will take on the belief and the self-worth of the individual raises. People begin to believe what they repeat to themselves and this increases the chances of a better quality of life. Writing things down have changed lives as well, because if we can see what we say the mind changes quicker. With the prolonged use of self-help methods, gradual change in attitude, outlook and finally, perception occurs.
What does it take to become happy and experience harmony in your life, and what self-help method works best? You must develop an enthusiasm for learning. You are a complex person with many things going on in your life. Unless you develop a desire to learn, it is unlikely that you can change your life circumstances. Stepping out of your comfort zone requires learning new things and new activities. Changing your perception requires opening your mind and examining your beliefs. Without a hunger for change, self-help methods cannot hold your attention. Many people have utilized proven methods without success. Every method or big idea offered has smaller ideas backing it – the Law of Attraction, for example.
Many self-helpers suggest that confidence is all that is required to become successful. This statement is like saying that all you need to do is think positive. Confidence as with many issues has two sides, much like positive thinking. Those who present these ideas also tell us we must take action, step outside our comfort zones and face our fears! This advice toward productivity is sound and useful. However, understand that increasing your confidence is not the actual goal. The goal is to become competent in different areas of your life. We learn confidence when we learn what not to do, but to become competent we must learn what to do. This is where examining your negative thinking and what you don’t like or want, comes into play. We can succeed and do anything we desire, but confidence will only take us so far.
We all want something more from life, and getting in touch with exactly what that is challenges us. Some want a better home, or a nice Christmas, for example. I do agree that more is not always better, and having too much stuff causes stress. Financial stress as well as emotional distress is a factor. Nevertheless, we all want something more than what we currently have when it comes to our well-being. We want more happiness, security, and overall comfort. We know what we don’t want because we feel it repeatedly! The problem is that we tend to resist and even reject issues we dislike or would rather ignore. We cannot get anywhere by refusing to consider and reflect on the negative side of our thinking. What we don’t want, is relevant and useful, and this is why positive thinking can hinder.
Last week I visited to the Optometrist and as expected, I needed glasses. He recommended progressive lenses. My eyesight is excellent for distance but my eyes need a little help up close. The doctor told me that I do not have to wear the glasses all the time. However, he requested that I wear them as much as practicable for the first three to four weeks. He said that the brain resists modification and with some use, my brain will adapt. I had never really thought of the brain needing an adjustment period before this. After the adjustment period, when I put my glasses on my brain will distinguish how to use the glasses automatically. I must say here that when I first put them on different distances were blurring and the room spun when I moved my head. Now, I hardly know that I am wearing them – other than I can see to type this article! All that was required of me is making a conscious effort (putting them on) – taking action.
Last night I sat in on a discussion that really got me thinking. With all the ideas and self-improvement sites available, there may be too many things to consider. Each idea that comes our way is really just another version of the same idea. Some people simplify, while other people take the same idea and complicate the issue. I like to think things through and find my own ideas too. Self-help has gotten way to complex with all the different angles. It can get rather confusing when we listen to the many variations of the same story. Someone says that we must find the balance in our lives, and another comes along and attempts to explain what this means. “Find your thoughts behind the thought.” “Be the observer of you.” “Find your inner voice.” Many understand all this advice. However, for some it is like hearing a foreign language! I know we never stop learning, but how many different solutions do we need for the same problem?