Being in the inspiration business means that I spend quite a bit of time researching new, fun ways to be motivated and inspired. I sign up for newsletters from other inspiring websites, I "like" pages on Facebook whose authors tend to post moving quotes or photos, and I'll even just Google, "inspiration" from time to time to see what pops up. It's a great way to continually find powerful material to keep me moving along in the right direction.
What I'm running into lately though, amongst a ton of other really great stuff, is a lot of "don'ts" and "no's". Amongst all the fantastic positivity I find each day, runs this thread of advice with a foundation in the negative.
"Don't waste your time with people that aren't adding to your growth..."
"Do not give up; the beginning is always the hardest"
"No matter how many times I break down, there is always a little piece of me that says, 'NO, you're not done yet, get back up!"
At face value, all of this appears to be sound advice. Sure, it doesn't make sense to spend time with people who aren't enhancing your ability to move forward in your life. Certainly, you don't want to give up at any point; perseverance is a terrific quality to embody. And, of course, you should always strive to have the strength to get back up when life gets you down. I don't discount any of that and am certain that the writers' collective intentions were to provide uplifting helpful material.
What I have a hard time with is seeing a series of negative, pessimistic words strung together with the intent of inspiring people to better themselves.
If we set out to feel inspired by starting our thought process from a negative perspective, even if the overall intent is to bring a positive result (as was with the examples above) we're sending a big ol' message of cynicism and resistance out to the universe. And you know what'll happen next? Like a boomerang, we'll get back a nice big dose of more cynicism and resistance.
Take the first "inspirational" quote listed above, for example. This reminder that you're wasting your time with people who aren't enhancing your life only serves to help you draw more people like that to you.
What if, instead we said something like:
"I'm so grateful to get to spend time with people who love and support me on my journey to better myself."
Does that feel a little stronger and more positive?
Starting a new thought process with an affirming statement like that tells the universe that you want MORE people who will stand behind you as your champions; "please send them to me!" And leading it off with gratitude on top of it all puts you in the present moment, acknowledging that these circumstances already exist for you in your life, therefore drawing more of it to you becomes that much easier.
With the statements above that reference not giving up, what if we focused on this instead?
"Thriving is my default setting! I get things done, one step at a time, and I love beginning new adventures. I'm ready for my dreams to come true!"
Rather than using words like "hard" or referring to "breaking down" a whole bunch of times, instead remind yourself where you're heading. By focusing on the idea that you always have breakdowns, even though you're fallback position is to get back up again, you're just giving yourself permission to continue to break down. You're telling the universe that you want more opportunities to try out that awesome "get back up" plan you always rely on to get you through the tough times.
I don't know about you, but that doesn't sound like much fun to me... I'd much rather focus my attention and intentions on "thriving" and my "love for adventures" than on my plan "B" for when my next inevitable break down occurs.
Even if, historically, beginnings have been hard, and after a bummer of a situation gets dumped in your lap, getting back up feels like a triumph, that doesn't mean your present or future have to hold the same for you anymore. The beauty of life is that we get to CHOOSE how it unfolds for us by directing our thoughts and actions accordingly.
“…once a thought is thought, it’s as if it’s Instantaneously endowed with its own power and will to become physical or, just as miraculously, to begin attracting its nearest equivalent." - Mike Dooley, Infinite Possibilities
How cool is that??
As cool as it is, it also means we've got a responsibility to ourselves to choose our thoughts wisely; to do our best to rely on positive inspiration as opposed to looking to messages with sneaky negativity hidden inside to keep us going. What we focus on we draw to us, so do what you can to pay attention to what you're thinking and make those thoughts count!
Below are four tips to help make it a little easier to focus on the positive and notice when you're headed towards the negative. In the comments section below, tell me how you've used these or other tactics to help redirect your thinking from "ugh, this sucks" to "Happy Town, next left!"
- Check in with your feelings. Our emotions are a fantastic way to give us instant feedback about our thoughts. It may seem elementary to say, but if you're feeling sad, angry, frustrated, etc. something isn't working within your thought process to move you forward in a positive direction. Take notice when you're having those feelings and try to determine what you're thinking about in the moment that might be driving those emotions to come up.
- Notice the negative thought and tell it to F - OFF! When your emotions point out to you that you're heading down the rabbit hole, that's your reminder to change your thought. Yes, I know, it may sound easy to say that and seem daunting to try and do it, but if you can find ways to distract yourself, like with fun, uplifting music or a competing thought in the affirmative, it's much easier to accomplish. (You can't have two thoughts running simultaneously; it's impossible. Try it!)
- Like the boy scouts, always come prepared . Have an arsenal of positive material at the ready for times when you're managing through negativity. An affirming mantra or funny movie quote can go a long way in the distraction department mentioned above. Keep a notebook filled with inspirational quotes or photos, or start a Pinterest board with motivational images in it. Bookmark AmyBirks.com on your browser or cell phone home screen to get instant access to inspiration when you need it. (Shameless plug, yes, I know...)
- The more you practice, the easier this gets. Simply making the decision to actively engage your thought process in itself is a completely empowering activity. By saying to yourself, "ok, I'm going to start noticing my thoughts so I can focus on more positivity as often as possible" you've now made a conscious decision to make change happen. Your brain sits ready, on the edge of its seat waiting for you to tell it what to do next. It may take a little while to get this skill down to where you can flip negativity off like a light switch, but I promise, based on my own experience with this, that with enough practice, you'll get there.
You can do it! Try the four steps above and let me know how they work for you. Keep coming back for more inspiration here at AmyBirks.com! And if this has been helpful for you, please don't hesitate to share.
With love and inspiration (and an ongoing practice of noticing my negative thoughts and telling them to F - OFF!),