As a teenager, I made most of my money babysitting. At least I did until I started refusing after dark jobs, limiting myself to daylight offers. Why? My thoughts got the best of me. After I put the children to bed, every noise became a potential burglar; every passing car carried the possibility of a harmful intruder. My imagination of horrible-things-that-could-happen took over.
As a young pregnant wife, I revisited that channel of imagination, thinking myself into despair. Work took my husband away during the week. By Friday, I was overwhelmed with worry about him flying home, visualizing what could happen. By Sunday, just in time for him to leave again, I’d be in a tearful state of invented dangers and irrational fears.
Negative images of what I didn’t want to happen took control of my life, filling my head with terrible possibilities, negative energy, and fearful emotions. They flooded my head. They dictated my days. They clouded my reactions to people. They even lowered my self-esteem. And every negative or tragic news story became a magnet for more thoughts of what I didn’t want to happen.
By the time I accepted a job requiring me to travel alone to unfamiliar cities, I discovered my life was hostage to those thoughts. I was afraid to fly, hesitant to venture out, and reluctant to try new things. I even found myself applying negative assumptions to coworkers’ words and actions. I knew something had to change.
It took me awhile to discover my thoughts were dictating my life experiences, and that I held the thought-remote-control. If I didn’t like what I was thinking, I was free to change the thought-channel to one I did.
Think someone doesn’t like you? Notice what happens to your energy and feelings about him or her when that thought is replaced with a neutral one. Focused on what you lack in your life? Notice what happens when you acknowledge and appreciate what you do have. Now when I change my thoughts, it changes how I feel, creating new experiences.
“I never knew I could do that,” my mother informed me years ago when I suggested she overlay a positive thought on one disturbing her. Her words struck me. My life was so different when I didn’t know I could, either. But I do it naturally now. If I get nervous flying, I picture a safe landing. If I want to stay healthy, I focus thoughts on health, not sickness. If I want positive interactions, I imagine that outcome. And since I desire a more tolerant, peaceful world with abundance for all, I hold that thought-picture, too.
I’ve learned, in the scheme of things, my thoughts do determine my own reality. Today those thoughts are about what I want in life, not what I don’t want, could worry about, or might fear. I’ve come to believe that we become what we think about. I know you can change your life by changing your thoughts because I have. And in the bigger scheme of things, the positive or negative energy we produce with our thoughts, really does matter.