"The more faithfully you listen to the voices within you, the better
you will hear what is sounding outside."
What do you say
when things go wrong? Do you have a store of pet phrases that come to
automatically in times of trouble? Maybe you tell yourself:
If something can go
wrong, it will.
Why do these things
always happen to me?
Life isn’t fair (and it
Just my luck!
If I didn’t have bad luck
I wouldn’t have any at all.
Life is just one (bad)
thing after another.
Life (crude verb).
comments may help us rebalance when trouble comes. When bad things
happen, they disturb our sense of the way things are or ought to be.
Thinking pessimistic thoughts puts the unwanted event into context. An
unfriendly world may be less disturbing to our sense of well-being than
a chaotic unpredictable one. So there is some
payoff for a negative thought of this kind. There is also a risk of
the world, events and ourselves in a dimmer light than necessary.
Our habits of thinking
filter our experience. If we habitually think pessimistically, we are
likely to experience
the world as more unfriendly than it actually is, and we can find
feeling like a victim.
The optimist may be
disappointed by events. Pessimists may be protected from
disappointment, but they miss their fair share of joy. A third
alternative is to abstain from interpreting events as either for us or
against us. Events just are. The balanced mind takes events as they
come free of judgment. The wise person expects multiple implications
for any given event and does not automatically paint the event with his
or her own color of interpretation.
mindful of your self-talk this week. Notice what you say to yourself as
events unfold. Watch for phrases that automatically come to mind,
especially when your wishes are frustrated.
Notice if you scold
yourself for poor performance, or if you hold thoughts critical of
See if you can distance
yourself from negative and critical thoughts. Perhaps substitute a
neutral or positive thought in their place.
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© 2003 Tom Barrett