How often do you feel like everyone else gets the big break, moves ahead and they see nothing but green lights for miles ahead, while you’re the guy who gets cut off by the blue haired citizen driving the 1976 Impala looking for the nearest Furr’s cafeteria? Exactly. I’ve spent enough hours throwing myself surprise pity parties, only to realize that after a few minutes or even hours, absolutely nothing productive comes from feeling sorry for myself. So, like my sister-in-law would say “build a bridge and get over it.”
My goal is always to make the time between that initial feeling of depression and the feeling of making progress and getting on with life as short as possible. And one of the most powerful ways of making this happen is to actually think about what you’re thinking about. What’s that you say – think about what you’re thinking about? Yes. What are those thoughts that hit your sub-conscience mind? Are they positive or negative? Are they life giving and empowering, or destructive?
This is where the statement I heard many years ago from my pastor made perfect sense. The grass is greener where you water it. What was I thinking about? The more that I think about something, the more I mentally water it and make it grow. I wish I could say that I always have the best thoughts about people and relationships – but this just isn’t the case. You see, our minds are like a river; they naturally flow downhill and follow the path of least resistance. It’s our duty to keep them in check before they erode and cause destruction.
Once I realized this, I started to create a standard list of “check dams” that I could readily install to keep most eroding thought patterns from creating damage. For instance, I love the analogy that you shouldn’t judge others until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes. In many instances where I perceive that someone is being rude and treating me unfairly, I have to stop and remind myself, that just maybe they’re going through some traumatic time in their life and I just happen to be in their way.
I’ve been that guy driving 20 miles an hour on a 45 mph major arterial while other drivers honked and sped past me in complete disgust. Little did they know that I was driving my wife home from the hospital where she just had surgery and every bump in the road magnified her pain. I wasn’t trying to be mean to them; I just had a different set of priorities at that time when we “met”.
Because of that and many other similar experiences, I try really hard to give people the benefit of the doubt –and maybe, just maybe, I can actually be a ray of light during the dark times they may be facing. What “check dams” do you use to keep your thoughts focused on the positive?
To the loved, a word of affection is a morsel; but to the love-starved, a word of affection can be a feast – Max Lucado.