Image by Free-Photos
Narrated by Marie T. Russell
With the advent of electronic devices, privacy isn't what it was just a couple of decades ago. That of course has pros and cons, and that's another topic for another day.
It's lovely that there is still one area that remains private: what we are thinking at any moment. You never really know what kind of commentary another person is running, but you always know what you're thinking.
Regardless of what's going on in our outer world, we all are free to think what we want. We can go to prison for our spoken and written words and actions, but not for our thoughts. This applies to the way we view ourselves, other people, and situations.
When I'm walking down the street, I can think judgmental thoughts or kind thoughts about both myself and others. And since I'm not a mind reader, sometimes it is a fun exercise to guess what someone might be thinking at any given moment.
- The guy in a suit is worrying about what to give his wife as a peace offering for being such a jerk the night before.
- The gal getting a coffee is thinking about reporting her boss for his unwanted sexual advancements.
- That family is on vacation from Mars and can't quite get what's going on here on planet earth.
- A young man is concerned for his mother's health.
- The teen is wondering what she's doing hanging out with friends on State Street.
- The balding pot-belly man is replaying the football highlights.
- A baby is mad because his parents are not giving him a piece of pizza.
- The beautiful college co-ed is beating herself up for not being more pretty. That single mom is wondering how she'll feed her children tonight.
What happens when I do this little exercise is that I remember I have no clue about who and what others are, besides a fallible and fragile human being like myself. And since I'm a nice person who attempts to view myself in a favorable light, I know that I must extend the same courtesy to people I meet.
What goes on in the world, just is the way it is. How we interpret other people, things, and situations is up to us. We can either put a negative or a positive spin on what we experience.
If we want to feel crummy and separate, we can easily do that by looking at what is happening in our world as unfair, pathetic, or bad. It's guaranteed we create and perpetuate feelings of sadness, anger, and fear. If we want to bathe in joy, love, and peace, we're best to interpret what's happening with amazement, wonder, and compassion.
Not Good Enough
One thing that we're especially responsible for is what we think of ourselves. “Not enough” comes in all shapes and sizes. We can feel like we aren’t enough, how we look, how smart we are, or how talented we are isn’t enough, what we have or do isn’t enough, what is happening currently isn’t enough, or other people aren’t enough.
Stop comparing and bringing yourself down! In all cases, you need to reverse the focus from what you or others do or don’t have, to focus on enjoying, appreciating, and being grateful for who you are and what is. This simple shift requires moving from “out there” back to yourself.
You can free yourself from the dissatisfaction and the fear of never “enough” - and rest in enjoying the reality - by doggedly and consistently replacing your old thinking. In terms of how to do this, I’m going to use as an example “not feeling good enough.”
Instead of perpetually trying to measure up against an invisible standard, give it a rest. Give up believing if you had or did something else — got married, earned more money, looked more beautiful, had more time, were smarter — you'd finally be happy and feel worthy.
As you already know, that doesn’t work. In terms of who we are, what we have, or what we do, our mind will always find something else that feels lacking. The mistake is that we are identified with our actions, appearance, or possessions, rather than our unchanging essence.
To get to the root of not feeling good enough, figure out and write down exactly what you tell yourself when you are into “not enough” thinking. Then get ready to wage a war with your mind.
You have several powerful choices for weapons. Here are some options so you can win your battle and little by little slay your downer thinking and replace it with something that increases the amount of joy, love, and peace you feel. Repeat your selected strategy with the conviction of knowing that it is true until you smile.
- Appreciate what you do have. Focus on qualities and characteristics.
- Be grateful for what is presented or what you do have.
- Look for the positive in the situation. There is always a sunny side to the bleakest of moments.
- Find a contradiction to your old thinking (see below for a few suggestions) and repeat it over and over, ignoring all the discounting thoughts that arise.
My presence is enough.
I am good enough.
I’ve done enough.
I’m pretty enough.
I am fully satisfied with myself.
I am enough.
About other people, things, and situations:
This is enough.
I have enough.
My friends are enough.
What’s happening right now is perfect.
I have enough time.
There is enough time.
Regardless of the option you choose, interrupt negative mind noise and replace it with your chosen constructive alternative. As you do, you will accept yourself 'as is,' and jolt yourself into loving yourself regardless of how the world turns. Your attention shifts to what is already here and who you already are. You become more accepting of yourself, others, and time just the way they are right now, and enjoy the present moment, your life, and all that you have.
Thinking comes with an incredible responsibility because we create how we feel, speak, and do by what we think. According to Attitude Reconstruction, and according to me, if I want to feel good, I need to entertain thoughts that honor myself and that are accepting of other people. I need to keep tabs on my thoughts and just enjoy breathing in air and taking in the miraculousness of being a human being.
©2021 by Jude Bijou, M.A., M.F.T.
All Rights Reserved.
Book by this Author
Attitude Reconstruction: A Blueprint for Building a Better Life
by Jude Bijou, M.A., M.F.T.
With practical tools and real-life examples, this book can help you stop settling for sadness, anger, and fear, and infuse your life with joy, love, and peace. Jude Bijou's comprehensive blueprint will teach you to: cope with family members' unsolicited advice, cure indecision with your intuition, deal with fear by expressing it physically, create closeness by truly talking and listening, improve your social life, increase staff morale in just five minutes a day, handle sarcasm by visualizing it flying by, carve out more time for yourself by clarifying your priorities, ask for a raise and get it, stop fighting via two easy steps, cure kids' tantrums constructively. You can integrate Attitude Reconstruction into your daily routine, regardless of your spiritual path, cultural background, age, or education.
For more info and/or to order this book, click here. Also available as a Kindle edition.
About the Author
Jude Bijou is a licensed marriage and family therapist (MFT), an educator in Santa Barbara, California and the author of Attitude Reconstruction: A Blueprint for Building a Better Life.
In 1982, Jude launched a private psychotherapy practice and started working with individuals, couples, and groups. She also began teaching communication courses through Santa Barbara City College Adult Education.
Visit her website at AttitudeReconstruction.com/