Friday, January 18, 2013

The Power of Positive Thinking (Part 9)

ANT 8 "Labeling and Mislabeling"

• Whenever you attach a negative label to yourself or to someone else, you stop your ability to take a clear look at the situation. You over-generalize! Instead of describing your or someone else’s error, you attach a negative label to yourself or others.

• Examples: "He/She’s arrogant, condescending, or a jerk." When you use colorful language it’s mislabeling. "I’m/You’re a !@#$%." "He/She is a @#$%."

• REALITY CHECK: No one can be equated with any one thing they do! You are not exclusively a "breather" just because you breathe; you are not exclusively an "eater" just because you eat. We all are an extremely complex array of ever-changing thoughts, feelings, and actions. When you focus on other people’s weaknesses and imperfections and label them you prove to yourself their worthlessness as human beings.

• No one (except for God) is completely good. All of us are shades of gray. Some are more dark than light (we call these people sinners); some are more light than dark (we call these people saints); most of us are somewhere in between. With very few exceptions, absolutes do not exist in nature.

• Each of us is a work in progress. The more accepting and forgiving you are of others, the more others will be accepting and forgiving of you.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Power of Positive Thinking (Part 8)

ANT 7 "Time Traveling"

•  Time traveling is when you try to re-live past unpleasant events or second-guess previous choices you or someone else made.

 • You may use phrases like, "If only...could'a, should'a, would'a"

• REALITY CHECK: Time travel has not been invented yet so no one can travel back in time and make different choices or undo what has already occurred.  Since we can't change the past, all we can do is try to make better choices today and forgive those who've wronged us in the past.  And when we make wiser, more prudent choices today, and forgive others for the past, it not only helps us atone for our previous mistakes or poor choices, it frees us of the burdent of holding grudges and gives us more hope for the future, and then we'll spend a lot less time second-guessing our past.

Here's a few good ol' cliches:

• Yesterday is already a memory; Tomorrow is only a dream; but Today, well lived, makes every Yesterday a happy memory, and every Tomorrow a hope filled dream.

• Commit the Past to God's mercy and forgiveness, and the Future to God's providencial care, and be thankful for the Present which God has given you.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Power of Positive Thinking (Part 7)

ANT 6 "Guilt Beating" (Should statements)

• This happens when you think with words like
should, must, ought to, or have to in order to motivate yourself or others.  Guilt, shame, and self-loathing are side-effects of "should statements" for yourself.  Anger, frustration, bitterness, resentment, and self-righteousness are side-effects of "should statements" for others. For example:

• "I/You should quite smoking." "I/You ought to to lose weight." "I/You must get this done today." "I/You have to go there." "I/You shouldn’t do___."

• REALITY CHECK: Instead of "should statements" use phrases like: "It would be nice if___", "I wish that___", "I prefer if___", "I accept that___", "Who cares if___" "Don’t worry about it."
• Examples: Rather than say, "I should quite smoking." Say instead, "I wish I could quite smoking; but I know nicotine is more addictive than cocaine and heroin combined; so with the help of some smoking cessation aids, I'll try my best; and if I fail the first time, then I'll try again..."

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Power of Positive Thinking (Part 6)

ANT 5 "Thinking with your Feelings"

• This occurs when you believe your negative feelings without ever questioning them. You tell yourself, "I feel this way, so it must be true." 

• For example:

"I feel I’ll never be successful."
"I feel stupid."
"I feel this person doesn’t like me."
"I feel like a failure."
"I feel unloved, so I'm going to...<bad choice>..."
"I feel guilty, so I’m a bad person."
"I feel angry with you, so you did me wrong."
"I feel 'in-love with' this person, so I'm going to...<bad choice>..."
"I feel 'I don't love' this person, so I'm going to...<bad choice>..."
"I feel 'I hate' this person, so I'm going to...<bad choice>..."
etcetera, etcetera.

• REALITY CHECK: Feelings are very complex and often based on powerful memories from the past. Feelings oftentimes LIE to you, and they’re not always true.  They are just feelings.  Whenever you have a strong negative feeling, check it out to see if it’s true. Do you have evidence to support your feelings now or are they based on past experiences. What is true, and what is a feeling?  Just because you feel a certain way, don't make bad choices or decisions based on how you feel no matter how powerful the feelings are.

• This is why it's critically important to have an Ethos, or a set of guiding ethical and moral beliefs in which you live your life by (such as the 10 Commandments or the Golden Rule).  If your feelings are telling you to do something contrary to your Ethos then your feeling are lying to you and you need to talk back to them.

• This is an extreme example: Your feelings say: "Everyone hates me; I can't do anything right; I wish I'd never been born; I just want crawl under a rock and die!" 
Say back to your feelings: "The Ethos I live by says that suicide is never an option in life; It's not normal to want to die; So my feelings are lying to me; I must be seriously depressed; this would explain my irrational feelings; I should call a professional couselor, healthcare provider, or religious minister (e.g. pastor, priest, rabbi) as soon as possible and ask for help!" 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Power of Positive Thinking (Part 5)

ANT 4 "Mind Reading"

• This happens when you believe that you know what other people are thinking even when they haven’t told you. You arbitrarily conclude that someone is reacting negatively to you, and you don’t bother to check this out. You may erroneously overreact to the situation and create a self-fulfilling prophecy.

• REALITY CHECK: You CAN NOT read anyone else’s mind! If you could you’d be a wealthy card shark by now. We have enough trouble reading our own minds let alone trying to read other people’s minds.

• You never know what others are thinking unless they tell you, and even then, they can change their minds tomorrow.  Besides all this, you're not responsible for what others are thinking; you're only responsible for what you're thinking, and you can choose to think positive, uplifting thoughts.

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