“Always do right. It will gratify some people and astonish the rest.”
– Mark Twain
Sometimes, the storms of our lives come in such intimidating forms, that they cause us to lose hope. A storm can be an adverse situation, which we encounter, or it may be a person who opposes us. It seems as if the storms are taunting us, pointing out our failures, and exploiting our weaknesses. As we start to doubt ourselves, or our situation, they seem to gain momentum. At this point, we start to give our power away. Self-doubt and negative thinking are two ways in which we give our power away. Many times, we will use negative thoughts and comments about others to preserve our sense of self. We perceive that the other person is somehow threatening to us, or to our ability to fulfill our desires. Unfortunately, this defense mechanism has very limited benefit. It intensifies our negative emotional state, and causes us to be close-minded. By nature, we have a tendency in be rigid in our thinking, and to feel angry and hopeless. It is, then, common to feel stuck in the cycle of blaming others for our situation. So, what can we do? First, we need to take a “time out.” During this “time out,” we may be able to consult with someone to get a different perspective. Once we get a new perspective, we are then able to put steps into action to direct our thoughts and behaviors. As we focus on our thoughts, verses others, we get a sense of strength. That strength, then, allows us to have hope. As we are able to build confidence, by directing our thoughts and actions, we can build momentum toward our personal success. Recently, I witnessed a young group of men do just that. They went from a state of negativity and finger pointing, to coming together as a team, and being successful. There is no enjoyment in blaming others, but there is fulfillment in controlling our thoughts, and directing our actions, to accomplish our goals and fulfill our desires.
Will you choose to focus on directing your thoughts, verses blaming others?
Kevin Polky, CADC, LCSW