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Unlearning Old Thinking

When I created this blog several years ago, I knew I wanted to write, but I didn't really know why I wanted to name it Living Mindfully. Over the past couple of months it has become more apparent to me why the title was important to me. I needed to learn this for myself. I'll give you an example, or maybe a couple of examples, of why.

Back in January, I was driving home from work. Talking to God about some things. I clearly remember tell Him out loud, "I want to see change." Not necessarily change in anyone else. I want to see change in myself. I told him to really open my eyes to what needs to change for me to see some growth in myself. I want to tell you this, be prepared when you tell God something like this. "Ask and you shall receive." We should be open for growth, for sure. We would never mature or grow up if we did not want growth. With growth, though, there is growing pains. These growing pains can be tough depending on the season of your life. When God opens your eyes I think some people shoot back and say nope not right now. I'm not ready to grow up in that area. Sometimes they push forward. It's all about perseverance and sticking with it.

The main thing that I have recognized, is my thought process. What was I thinking on the most? Every word and action starts somewhere right? It starts with a thought. Our mind is a powerful thing. Our thoughts we allow our mind to dwell upon makes a big difference in our mood and reactions to circumstances. It can limit us from growing or moving forward, or it can make us grow tremendously in a positive direction. Our thoughts create a perception of our everyday life. It will create how we perceive the people around us. From watching myself, I've recognized what it can do to my mood from one day to another. One day I can feel like I'm on a high, and the next I can feel like I'm on a low.

Living mindfully in a way that allows growth is a daily process. Here are some things that I have had to learn to ask myself.

  1. Why am I feeling a certain way? For example, why am I feeling angry, sad, frustrated, etc.

  2. If I feel this way, does this have to do with the situation at hand, or is it just a trigger from past experiences?

  3. How will me reacting the way I am feeling affect me and the person in the circumstance long term?

  4. Should I say anything about why I am feeling this way? We all know that feelings can blind you. I want to go over why I say that here soon.

Number one says why am I feeling a certain way. Recognize that you are feeling. I'm so guilty of what I'm about to say. It something that needs to be worked on for sure. Some of us really dig holes within us, and burry our feelings. Those feelings are like seeds when buried. They grow weeds if not tended to and recognized. Keep reading because this is so important. Your feelings are important, because of this reason. We don't want the after affects of buried feelings that have been buried to sprout up down the road. Recognizing that its ok to feel that way at the moment and responding to the feelings appropriately can make a big difference in your everyday life.

Number two can be an eye opener. The word trigger. Triggers can be a word someone says, a persons tone of voice, a tv show, a song, even a person. These things can pop up during a perfectly good day, and take you back to how you were feeling at a different time. This trigger may not even have anything to do with the people you are around. That's why feelings can be so deceptive. They deceive you and make you want to react in a defensive way. You may want to react in anger or frustration. They may want to make you run the other direction from a good thing, because of fear of being hurt again. They may make you want to withdraw from everything, and seclude yourself to protect yourself. Triggers need to be recognized. They need to be identified by for what they are.

Number three is important after recognizing that you are feeling this way and that it is a trigger. How will reacting the way I am feeling affect me and the person in the circumstance long term? One split decision can change your life forever. When feelings are acted in a way that is not out of love, words are said. Actions are made. Words can hurt deeply. Actions can be made that, later on, you may look back and say why did I do that. Being mindful of this will be a determining factor of so much in life later on.

Number Four. Should I say anything about why I am feeling this way? Because feelings can be deceptive and may not even have anything to do with the person. We should really think before you respond. How you respond is so important. A lady I admire has said this multiple times. "Be a responder, not a reactor." A reactor will just go off of old negative habits, and say whatever is on their mind. A responder will take all attributes into consideration and make the wisest choice for all parties.

I understand wanting to defend yourself, wanting to guard yourself. Beware of the self protection though. Rather you are one that lashes out, says some mean words, or withdraws completely, be aware of these reactions. The lashing out hurts not only the other person but yourself also. Mean words just hurt. People remember words, and if they think about them long enough they may begin to believe them. Withdrawing is unhealthy. I am a withdrawer. I shut down. I know it is unhealthy and does not help at all, from personal experience. It is a habit I am in the midst of trying to work on.

I hope this helps whoever may read it. As I type this, it has helped me. Changing your thinking process is not always as easy as it seems. There are habits that we acquire through the years. Just like any other habit, if we recognize it as not being beneficial, we have to respond daily to what is beneficial. How we responded before, may come naturally. The new way you respond can become naturally, it just takes repetition.

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