Your thought life is a relationship and thoughts are your friends.
For years I knew myself to be fat and unlovable. I believed I did not deserve to be loved because of the many mistakes of my past. I sabotaged every relationship I can remember from the time I was in high school until I met my wife. We had been married close to ten years when she said the words I feared the most. “We need to talk.” My stomach was in knots for hours while I waited for the right time for us to be alone. I had been telling myself all day, “It’s over, she found someone better. You hurt her for the last time. She finally found you out and you are gonna lose it all.” I was somewhere between angry and just plain nauseous. I was not sure if I wanted to cry or throw up. As we sat on the end of the bed, I was shaking and choking back the tears. When she took my hand and began to speak I was taken so totally off guard I cannot remember how I reacted, but I will never forget her words.
“I chose you to be my husband because I love you and I know God sent you to be a gift to me. When you tell me over and over how ugly you are, how terrible you are and how I made a huge mistake it hurts me. I sometimes have to wonder if you are right. But I do not want to believe that. I need to you to stop. I need you to realize I do not see you the way you think I do. I love you for who you are. I forgive you for what you have done and I want you to see you the way I do. Please stop trying to convince me to leave.”
Those words changed my life, changed my mind about me and set out marriage on a new course.
Your words carry an unbelievable weight and a wealth of potential in your own heart and your own mind. In fact “Nothing has the power to change your life like a word that rings forever in your heart.”
You have friends, coworkers, family members who are truly in need of a word to build them up, not only for a moment, but for a lifetime. You have the power to speak a word of encouragement to them which they may carry with them the rest of their life. You also have the same power to speak encouraging words to you!
When you are OK with the person you see in the mirror, it will show on your face, in your daily activities and in your voice. Being OK with you will change the way you treat yourself, the way you treat others and ultimately the way the world treats you. — (Excerpt from Live A More Excellent Life.)
What you think about yourself and repeat inside your head will direct your emotional well being, your future successes, your relationships and yes even your health. There are three very important things you need to know about the thoughts inside your head.
- CHOICE – You must choose your thoughts wisely, with a great degree of discrimination and passion.
- HABITS – Thinking a thought more than once creates a “thought pattern” for better or worse.
- TOXIC or HEALTHY – The quality of your thoughts can birth love and peace or pain and anxiety.
1. CHOICE – You must choose your thoughts wisely, with a great degree of discrimination and passion.
The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another. William James
Over the span of my life there have been many people I have called my “friends.” Some of those people are still friends and still an important part of my life. Some of them displayed horrible traits in the way they treated me, treated my family, treated my faith or even the laws of the land. Those people are no longer friends or even associates. I learned in order for me to find peace and success, I had to discriminate (recognize a distinction) between good friends and bad friends. The impact each one of those people would have on my life, the places I would go, the things I would do, the ideas I would entertain were too important to take lightly. The same is true of the THOUGHTS you choose to think.
When an idea enters your head, good or bad, you have the right and responsibility to either follow through with thinking the thought, or dismissing and banishing the thought. No one can make you keep and meditate on a thought. Even prisoners of war who are bombarded with negative, hurtful, malicious, tormenting declarations day after day will tell you they were less fearful, lonely and confused when they focused their attention on happy memories of home and thoughts of their faith. It is your choice. You get to chose what to think about. Choose wisely.
2. HABITS – Thinking a thought more than once creates a “thought pattern” for better or worse.
As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives. Henry David Thoreau
When a thought is allowed to take a place in our minds and remain there, we tend to think such thoughts over and over again. Many people do this unconsciously, meaning without intent. The habit of thinking of one’s self like I did for many years as unloveable, or fat, or unworthy of attention and affection can lead to depression and even suicide. At minimum, it will damage relationships, self esteem, self confidence and performance. It is far to easy to allow these negative thoughts to take root when you are surrounded by people who speak to you and of you with words which exacerbate your negative thinking. I have removed myself from as many of those relationships as possible.
I still have to be purposeful and intentional to not allow myself to return to such self loathing. I also had to learn to be intention about finding and choosing the thoughts which made me a better me and then making it a habit to think them. A new idea about who you are, what value you add to those around you, what benefit you bring to the earth can be a life altering thought. A life altering thought must, I REPEAT- MUST become your best friend in the world. You must spend as much time with a positive thought as you possibly can. Imagine a new, positive, life affirming thought as a BFF. You would not expect to maintain a good relationship with your spouse or siblings if they only came to mind once a year. How could you possible maintain a good relationship with you it you only think well of you ever so often?
Make positive thinking a habit. Choose good, healthy, TRUE thoughts and give them a large part of your emotional energy and attention. Not only will you feel better, you will BE better. You will be a better friend, sibling, spouse and neighbor.
3. TOXIC or HEALTHY – The quality of your thoughts can birth love and peace or pain and anxiety.
- 75% to 95% of the illnesses plaguing us today are a direct result of our thought life. What we think about affects us physically and emotionally. It’s an epidemic of toxic emotions.
- The average person has over 30,000 thoughts a day. Through an uncontrolled thought life, we create the conditions for illness; we make ourselves sick! Research shows fear, all on its own, triggers more than 1,400 known physical and chemical responses and activates more than 30 different hormones. There are INTELLECTUAL and MEDICAL reasons to FORGIVE! Toxic waste generated by toxic thoughts causes the following illnesses: diabetes, cancer, asthma, skin problems and allergies to name just a few. Consciously control your thought life and start to detox your brain!
- Medical research increasingly points to the fact that thinking and consciously controlling your thought life is one of the best ways, if not the best way of detoxing your brain. It allows you to get rid of those toxic thoughts and emotions which can consume and control your mind. Dr. Caroline Leaf
I don’t think I need to add much to the science. Dr. Leaf and Dr. Daniel Amen are absolute experts in the fields of neuroscience. Both of them will tell you when you hate you, you are doing massive, major, and potentially permanent damage to your health. If you cannot determine on your own which thoughts are helping you to heal and which ones are destroying you, then see someone who can. Make an appointment with your pastor, your therapist, a wise friend or counselor or a good coach. Once you have identified which thoughts are literally killing you – take them hostage – bind them up and beat them into submission.
We are told to “take every thought captive and make it obedient.” Do this by choosing your thoughts, making good thoughts a habit, constantly being the gatekeeper to your own heart, mind, soul and strength. You are the one responsible for your success, contentment and satisfaction in life. Here are some scripture versus to change the way you think and the things you think about.
Here are some thoughts you might want to ponder until they become your BFF.
Phillipians 4:8-12 – 8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
Proverbs 23:7 – For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he:
1 Corinthians 2:11-12 – 11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. (Through the Holy Spirit we get to think the thoughts of God.)
2 Corinthians 10:5 – 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
Jeremiah 31:3 – The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.
Psalm 103:17 – But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children—
J Loren Norris is available to speak and train on leadership and communication skills, for corporate America, Associations, Conventions, churches, and non profit organizations. Click here to learn more.