“Our life is shaped by our mind; we become what we think.”

I’m sure this quote by Buddah isn’t an unfamiliar idea.  Perhaps you didn’t attribute it to him but undoubtedly you have heard an idea similar to this uttered many times over your life.  It’s a popular notion among psychologists and psychiatrists.  Gurus of the self-help movement have relied on it for years as the explanation of why people behave as they do.  It’s also considered the easiest way for people to change aspects of their behavior.  “As we think so we are.”

A book I wrote a few years ago, CHANGE YOUR MIND AND YOUR LIFE WILL FOLLOW, offered a dozen simple principles for changing ourselves by changing how we think.   It’s important to admit that we aren’t stuck in a pattern of behavior unless we choose to be.  That’s the fortunate news.  It was always “our truth,” in fact, even though we may not have embraced it or allowed it to influence who we were or who we were capable of becoming.  However, regardless of where we are in our life, there is no reason not to change something about ourselves even now if we fail to be at peace with our choices, our friendships, our anticipations about how the future looks.  That’s very good news, indeed.  It is never too late to create a happy life.

I personally consider this a blessing.  Hopefully you do too.  There is no reason to let life slip by, assuming that we have no power to change that which we experience.  That’s the only thing we have the power to change, in fact, and it’s not because we can change others.  Never can we change others.  But we can change how we experience others.  Each and every other.  That’s because we can change our perspectives on everything and everyone.  We sit, at any age, in the seat of power when it comes to observing and interacting with the world around us.  How we do it is our choice, always.  The childhood lament of “he made me do it” has been over for decades.

You may be feeling some doubt about this.  We don’t always recognize just how much personal power we have.  Therefore, let’s try an experiment.  Surely there is at least one thing in your life you would like to change.  I can certainly think of a few.  For instance, I want to quit making snap judgments.  I’ve been guilty of this trait my whole life, at times being better at not judging than at other times.  But any judgment I/we make, doubles back on us.  What can we do to break this pattern?  Here is what works for me.  When I meet someone new or am in the company of someone who “gets under my skin,” I try to remember to pause.  I say try because I know how easy it is to slip off the plan.  But I have learned that what I see in someone else that I so quickly judge is a part of my personality too.  Generally, a part I hate in fact.  Pausing gives me time to “rethink” what I’m thinking.

Just contemplate what it is that you want to change.  If it helps to close your eyes and “look over” the past couple of weeks of your life, do so.  No doubt, that which you “need” to change, will leap forward in your mind.  Look at it squarely and bravely say, “Okay.  If not now, when?”

 

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