“STOP IT!” 4 year old Carolyn yelled from the back seat of the car. Carolyn was sitting in her car seat right behind me, so I looked into the rear view mirror and ask, “Carolyn, who are you yelling at?” She lifted her arms up, glared at her hands and said, “These!” I’m not sure what her hands had done, but she took charge to bring them under control.
I function out of old-habit-thinking. For example, I was asked, “How do you view people?” My answer: “People are scary and a lot of work.” I am a people pleas-er and hate conflict. So, when I’m around people, I work hard to keep everyone happy. It’s exhausting!
Out of the blue, one day, a new thought hit me: What IF people weren’t scary? (long..silent..thoughtful..pause) Well….I’d be friendly and relaxed and enjoy getting to know them. I’d care more about them than keeping myself safe from conflict. The thought was eye-opening and made me laugh at how simple it seemed. It was like yelling at my brain to STOP IT. That afternoon, as I went to work at my customer service job, I pretended people weren’t scary. I greeted each one like they were a long time friend I was happy to see. It was fun. It was different.
Try something. Next time you catch yourself saying:
“I’m so shy.” Ask yourself: What IF I wasn’t shy? How would I act right now?
“I’m always so fearful.” Ask yourself: What IF I wasn’t afraid? How would I look and talk different?
“I’d panic if I had to face that!” Ask yourself: What IF I didn’t panic? What would I try?
“I feel like I’m not wanted.” Ask yourself: What IF I believed I was wanted? How would I treat myself and others?
“I’m afraid of getting yelled at.” Ask yourself: What IF it didn’t scare me to have someone get upset? What difference would that make in my life?
Is this going to solve your problems? Probably not…but it just might give you a new perspective.
I get trapped in thinking that my thoughts are in charge of me. That’s victim thinking. The opposite is true. I can order myself around. God tells me I have the power to take my thoughts captive and bring them under control (2 Corinthians 10:5). I am not a victim. I can make choices and changes.
So, don’t worry about what other people think. The next time you notice you need to take charge of yourself, walk over to a mirror and yell: “STOP IT!” Can’t hurt!
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