One area I want to focus on is mindset. I wrote about what makes me happy and followed up with some challenges I face and that I know a lot of people face when trying to stay positive. But one thing that helps is simply choosing the next best thought you can. It doesn’t have to be something completely the other way from where you may be, it can simply be something better than what you’re thinking now. For example, if you’re thinking about how crappy the weather is, you might think about how you’re lucky to see the changing of the seasons. If you can’t do that, then maybe you think about how grateful you are to be breathing. The point is, we need to rewire the brain.
It takes a lot of work and awareness to rewire the thoughts we’ve tumbled in our brains for years, so the key is to simply be intentional. We won’t always be successful at finding something to be happy about or something that makes us feel better in the moment, so it’s important to know that 1. It takes time to get used to the practice 2. It takes more time to believe it and 3. We have to be aware of what we are feeling all the time. So maybe start there. Start with noticing what you predominantly feel most of the time and ask yourself if that is what you want to feel. Then start asking yourself how you want to feel. From there we can start closing the gap.
I have dealt with a negative mindset my whole life and I honestly didn’t notice it at first. I thought I was just being practical and logical and even realistic. I knew I hated the way I felt and I used to blame that on everything that was happening. I woke up one day and I started looking at the things around me and I realized that I had been an active participant in every accumulation, in every decision that brought me where I was. I realized it wasn’t ALL bad, but the predominant thought was to seek out the bad. I knew I didn’t want to go on like that anymore. From there I knew that it was a matter of choice. That isn’t to say terrible circumstances don’t happen, but learning new ways to approach those problems is key. Actually, learning to recognize there are no problems is really key, but that’s a conversation for a different day.
The world changes when you start looking at it differently. That isn’t to say that the good comes overnight or that you’re going to wake up and you view your problems differently. Brain work takes time and patience and consistency. What I’m also saying is that the work is worth it. Taking yourself out of the negative mindset and really enjoying life makes all the difference in the world. When you are able to see something different than what you’ve been trained to observe, your mindset changes and you can expand it and grow even more when you become comfortable with the practice. It’s amazing how much better you feel as well. It’s easier to encourage yourself to go for what you need when you feel better and the more you go after the life you’ve wanted and the more you see results, the better you feel there as well.
I know that mindset shift doesn’t happen overnight—I’ve been working on it for two years. I’m still working on it. I went from feeling hopeless to understanding I could feel better to looking for ways to feel better to starting to try things I’ve never done before and that is when I started really focusing on how I looked at the world. That view is what really changed it all for me. Understanding that even though there were still certain facets of my life I wanted to change, that didn’t mean it was all crap. There were things in my life I loved even at my lowest and I grasped at that and I built a foundation on that feeling. Understanding I’m lucky enough to be in a position to change my life is what keeps me moving forward.
Freedom isn’t about making the perfect life or having everything that you want. Waking up and harnessing your mindset is real freedom. It isn’t about accumulation or power or any of that. It’s about how you feel living your life. If you can honestly say you love your life and you love yourself, then you are free because nothing that happens externally matters at that point. Knowing you can shift your position at any time and that you can take action on it is real freedom. That is why mindset is so important. Don’t cage yourself by holding the door of possibility closed. Keep moving and working on that relationship with yourself first. It makes all the difference in the world.