“You are all selective about the cars you drive and the clothes you wear, but you are not very selective about the thoughts you think.”
When I finally became aware of the endless stream of thoughts going through my head, it was a bit of a shock. And they weren’t particularly useful thoughts. A lot of them are judgements, crtisicms, and endless commentary about trivial things going on around me. “How stupid. Why would you do that?” “Wow. That was inconsiderate of her.” “I hate when people block both sides of the escalator.”
I’m glad that I can say that my thoughts have a much more positive leaning these day than a few years ago. I’ve slowly implemented a “find the good” policy on quite a few different topics. The most successful would probably be with clothes. I used to be so critical of what people were wearing –because I was insecure about my own appearance, of course– but I can happily say that I no longer have even passing negative thoughts in this area. Now, when I see someone wearing something that I, or even most people, would never wear, I smile and admire how cool it is that they are confident enough to express themselves the way they like.
And the nice thing is that once I started consciously making this change on one topic, it started picking up momentum and bleeding over to other areas as well. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I think 100% positive thoughts throughout the day, but I do at least catch myself and become aware of negative thinking much earlier than I used to.
The old saying of, “If you have nothing nice to say, don’t saying anything,” should also be applied to our internal dialogue. Of course it’s good to take the first step and not say the critical, negative things we are thinking about other people out loud. But the next step is to get to the place where those negative thoughts don’t even occur to us. Where other people’s differences or choices are met with appreciation, compassion, understanding, or humour.
And if our minds aren’t busy with negativity and judgements, we’ll be clearing time and energy for other thoughts. Who knows what we’ll come up with then?