It tends to be the case that whatever we focus on creates our mood. If we focus on the negative we feel negative. When we focus on the positive we tend to feel positive. One of the challenges we often face is having enough belief in our ability to change. Another struggle is accepting that we need to change. So frequently we focus and hope that our situation or others around us change so that we can feel better. That would be nice. I don’t know about you, but I tend to be a little impatient. I also prefer to take matters into my own hands. Therefore, I focus on what I can change instead of just waiting and hoping I wake up and all is better.
In order to start this process, however, I noticed that we need to accept it. We need to accept that change is needed or that we want it. We need to accept that in order for change to occur we need to do something different or keep doing something. Doing nothing surely won’t change anything. Remember, “If nothing changes then nothing changes”. However, sometimes I don’t really want to do something. I might be tired or feel overwhelmed. During such times I try to remind myself to focus on what I want or what my goal might be. This happens quite a bit. For example, last week, where I live, it was pouring rain and really windy. I was not particularly interested or wanting to take my dog for a walk. I do want to take care of my dog and know that he needs to go out and get some exercise whether I want to take him out or not. Did I enjoy my walk? Actually, I did. I focused on how happy he seemed to be as he pranced around taking in every possible smell he could pick up. I laughed when we passed the house where his best buddy lives and he tried to smell every inch of sidewalk as we strolled bye. He gets so excited! I could have focused on how wet I was getting and at times I did. I noticed my shirt and legs feeling soaked. After a moment or two I returned to watching Munch enjoy walking around as if he was king of the neighborhood.
Without accepting that we have options and accepting what we either need to do or want to do, we stay stuck feeling bad or wishing things would be different.
Think about what you want to be different in your life. What would you need to do in order for that to happen? Now you might start thinking things like, “But, I don’t want to. I can’t. I don’t feel strong enough. I don’t have the energy. I’m not good enough. It won’t change anything.” Allow such thoughts to come in AND continue passing through your mind. Say out loud or read to your self what you want. Identify some reasons you want whatever it may be. Identify the steps you would complete on your way to achieving your goal. Be sure to break the steps down into realistic and achievable increments. Lastly, praise yourself for each step you take. You might be tempted to minimize your accomplishment. Allow such thoughts to pass through and return to praising yourself. We all need support and reinforcement. Our biggest supporter needs to be ourselves because it is our own voice that we hear the most.
~ Dr. Lou