In Others’ Words: The Thoughts That Make Us Strong
My youngest daughter likes to read fantasy and scifi novels. My son writes fantasy novels (and yes, his debut novel releases in April.) I know enough about that genre to tell you that one type of character populating those books is a shape-shifter. A shape shifter appears in one form at first — maybe a human — but can shift to another form — maybe an animal of some sort. One shape … shift … another shape.
I can do my own version of shape shifting — emotional shape shifting, that is. One minute I am feeling fairly balanced, confident — calm, cool and collected. The next minute, I’m second guessing myself and my life choices, dragging myself around by the virtual scruff of the neck and giving myself a real going over.
Why the emotional flip flop?
If I take the time to trace back the path of my mood shift I can figure out the (mis)direction of my thoughts. With a little mental investigation, I discover where I allowed a discouraging word to settle into my mind or where I allowed a bit of disappointing information to lodge in my heart as a judgement against me as a person.
Our thoughts can be so, so devious. Mishandled, our thoughts are the very things that weaken us, like bullets fired from a gun equipped with silencer. We don’t hear the shots being fired, but we feel the effect of that thought as it explodes in our mind and damages our perspective, our movtivation, our hope.
I really blew it when I said (fill in the blank) to that person.
I wasn’t well prepared for my presentation today. I sounded so stupid.
I’ll never do as well at (fill in the blank) as he does. Why do I even try?
I’m so ashamed.
Nothing I do will change anything.
I’ve had to learn how to stop listening to the thoughts that defeat me. I’ve had to choose what is going to define me: thoughts that I let slip into my unguarded mind or thoughts that I choose to dwell on so that I am strong and resilient — and in my right mind. It’s a deliberate choice — some days it’s a fight. But I am stronger for it.
In Your Words: What thoughts make you strong? What helps you hear them?
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