Updated: Nov 11, 2022
In all your waking hours, you're having a mind party. Your thoughts are your guests. Those which you don't pay attention to and refuse to entertain will eventually get bored and leave. Make sure to only entertain the ones that you want to keep around. ~Doe Zantamata
It is often difficult to keep negative thoughts from creeping into my day. They spin around me, raising doubt and pulling me from what I should be doing. They come in big issues and small irritations. I think about that lost friendship from years ago, and what I could have done to change the result. Did I approach a medical issue correctly, or did choosing the wrong path lead to more difficulty now? Am I doing enough for my work to be successful? Regret for not calling that friend or family member who I realize is struggling. Why does my hair look like this? I really shouldn't have eaten that cookie, but I also want more. What to do, what to do?
It can be a challenge to expel those thoughts when they come. And it is perfectly natural for them to come in. But do I need to entertain them? I love the quote above from Doe
Zantamata as a reminder that I don't need to. It is important to entertain those thoughts that lift me, help me, guide me to my better places. Choosing to ruminate on the positive thoughts takes practice, but it can be done. Replacing the negative thoughts by looking at them through a different lens is one part. Instead of worry about past faults, use them to create a positive present and future. For example, I may have chosen a better path in past friendships, so I can use what I learned from those decisions to improve current relationships. I can entertain the positive thoughts about the people in my life right now to ensure I am acting from a place of integrity in those relationships.
Affirmations are a great way to focus those positive thoughts I want to keep around and encourage to grow. Instead of "why didn't I" thoughts, I can focus on what I will do today. "Why haven't I talked to my friend Joe" becomes "Today I will reach out to Joe to see how he is doing." I can replace "I shouldn't have eaten that cookie" with "I enjoyed that cookie as a treat. I will also enjoy the roasted veggies I plan to have for dinner." "I am a good coach, and my work helps people." "I am a positive force for equity and justice." Or maybe a simple "I like myself today." All of these are examples of the positive thoughts that I can entertain to keep them interested in the party. The first step is noticing when negative thoughts come in and taking a moment to shift to the positives instead.
So I ask you: What positives are you going to entertain at your party today?