Many people find themselves stuck in a life situation that they can’t change. In last week’s article, we learned how blaming others, and complaining makes us a victim of our circumstances.
Blaming others and complaining is negative thinking. Have you ever noticed how we allow our natural tendency to think negatively to control us? Yes, we do. And a lot of the time we aren’t even aware of it.
We can have as many as 50,000 thoughts a day. Research varies, but the average person with busy mind chatter could experience 70-80% of those thoughts as negative. Research also indicates that 98% of the thoughts we have are the same ones we had yesterday! With 80% of our thoughts being negative and 98% of our thoughts being the same as yesterday, can you see how our thinking might contribute to our lack of progress? Many times we blame others when, in fact, we should search our own actions and behaviors.
What we think determines what we believe. What we believe determines how we feel. The way we feel influences how we act. The results of our actions determine our thoughts. It continues as a cycle, over and over, day after day throughout our lives. As we see in the image above, you can’t live a positive life with a negative mind.
Let’s explore some of Lisa’s negative thoughts about her situation.
- There's way too much work to do on my house
- I’ll never have enough money
- I don’t have enough time
- I’m too old to start my big dream projects
Let’s place one of her negative, complaining thoughts into the model.
Thought: There is too much work to do in my house
Belief: Remodeling takes a long time
Feeling: Frustration, doubt, pessimism
Action: Complain about lack of progress or don’t start
Last week we explored a situation in your life where you might be stuck. Bring that situation to mind again, and answer the following questions.
WRITING EXERCISE (examples in italics)
How am I complaining and blaming others about my situation? What negative thoughts do I have about my situation? I’m too old to lose weight. I blame my family’s genes; my older aunts had big hips and couldn’t lose weight.
What beliefs do I have as a result of my thoughts? People who are old have trouble losing weight.
What feelings do these beliefs create for me? Pessimism, doubt, self-loathing.
What action do I take based on my feelings? Complain that it’s not even worth starting. Eat a piece of cake.
What has this exercise taught you about yourself?
Have you discovered that you might be allowing your negative thoughts, and blaming others, to make you a victim of your circumstances?
Is it possible that negative thinking, blaming others and complaining is just a choice we make, a decision that keeps us stuck where we don’t want to be? We like to believe we have no choice. If we allowed ourselves a moment to stop complaining and blaming others, and peek out of our victimhood, we would see we have millions of options available to us. But sometimes the millions of choices scare us and seem exhausting even to consider. So, it’s easier to pretend choice doesn’t exist for us, comfortable in our belief that the status quo is just what life is all about.
Are you willing to admit, that at least with some things in your life, you like to think you have no choice?
(look for our next post on The Power of Choice)
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