10 Things You Think About Too Often

10 Things You Think About Too Often

“The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”
―Albert Einstein

You do know you talk to yourself in your mind all the time, right?

Pretty much every one of us has a non-stop stream of thoughts – a mental monologue – that has a powerful impact on how we feel, how we behave, and how we live our lives.  Too often, this mental monologue consists of unhelpful thoughts that hinder our happiness and effectiveness.

Which is why it’s time to stop thinking about…

1.  Who everyone else wants you to be.

You were born to be you, not who they tell you to be.  You are not here to be perfect; you are here to be true.  Be gentle and kind to your heart and soul.  Accept who you are, where you are, and where you came from.

Don’t make a decision based solely on popularity, or based on what others think is right for you.  Just because others are doing something doesn’t mean it’s the best choice for you.

Listen to your gut.  Now is the moment to follow your intuition and pursue what matters most to you.  Reach deep within yourself and awaken to the purpose that moves you and makes you feel alive.  The world is filled with opportunities to do an infinite number of things, so why not align your efforts with the activities that speak to your soul.

2.  What you don’t have.

Instead of thanking the heavens for two strong legs and a body that’s capable of running and jumping and dancing, lots of people complain about their weight and appearance.

Instead of appreciating that they live in a country that protects their basic human rights and civil liberties, lots of people complain about laws, taxes, and politicians.

Instead of being grateful for the roof they have over their heads, lots of people wish they had a larger house and a fancier car.

Don’t be one of these people.

To witness miracles unfold in your daily life, count your blessings and be thankful for what you DO have.  Lots of people aren’t so lucky.  Read The Happiness Project.

3.  What you fear.

As Franklin D. Roosevelt so profoundly said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

That’s the honest truth.  The real thing that keeps you down is fear.  The reason your fears have so much power over you is simply because you give them this power by thinking about them – the worst-case scenario, what you don’t want to happen, etc.

It’s time to take a stand.  It’s time to clear your fears from your thoughts.  It’s time to acknowledge that your fear of grief is far worse than the grief you fear.

4.  Old mistakes.

Why regret?  This moment doesn’t have any mistakes in it yet.  It’s brand new.

You have a choice to make right here, right now.  You can hold onto old mistakes or you can make progress going forward with the new beginning you’ve just been given.

It’s time to be bold.  It’s time to stop reading the previous chapter of your life and start writing the one you’re currently living.  Learn from your old mistakes and march confidently on.  Sure you’ll make new mistakes along the way, but that’s the whole point – you want to learn from new mistakes, not rot alongside old ones.

Living means taking chances that are worth taking and making mistakes that are worth making.  Right now is simply a new chance to get it right, but you have to let go and take this chance.

5.  Old wounds.

You will grow much stronger and find peace once you stop picking at your old wounds.  Consciously replaying a painful memory over and over in your head is self-abuse.  Your past has given you the strength and awareness you have today.  Don’t let it haunt you.  Celebrate it.

Your wounds are your wisdom.  Let them heal.  Let them scar.

In order for this to occur, you must know why you felt the way you did, what you learned from it, and why you no longer need to feel that way.  It’s about accepting the past, letting it be, and pushing your spirit forward.

You may carry a small scar with you for the rest of your life.  Realize that this is perfectly OK.  A scar is the effect of healing – it’s what makes you whole again.  Read 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.

6.  Impressing the wrong people.

You could spend your entire life trying to impress everyone around you.  Of course, it wouldn’t get you very far.

Purposely impressing people is an act that brings nothing but a fleeting ego boost.  Be real instead.  Connect with fewer people on a level that is deeper and more profound.

If you want to impress someone, impress yourself by making progress on something you’re sincerely proud of.  It’s truly amazing what you can accomplish when you aren’t worried about what everyone around you thinks.

7.  Important dreams you aren’t actively pursuing.

The point here is simple:  STOP thinking and START doing.

The road of life is jam packed with dreams that aren’t going anywhere.  Why?  Because the people driving these dreams haven’t started their engines.  So many people endlessly put off until tomorrow what they could do today.  There are literally millions of promising, intelligent people in this world who have no plan at all, who wait for others to drive and steer their lives and their dreams for them.

Having a dream without an action plan is exactly like a beautiful sports car without an engine.  You know what she could do if she could do it, but she can’t.  Turn your dream into an actionable plan and then start executing your plan.  Make no promise for tomorrow when you have the opportunity to make progress today.

8.  The impossible looking aerial view of a big project.

An aerial view of a big project always looks daunting.  But once you break it down into small parts, suddenly it’s no longer a big, impossible project.  It’s simply a bunch of little, achievable ones.

The key is to subdivide a big project into smaller tasks and break each task down further into logical steps for each task.  Thinking about the big picture is important on occasion to keep track of your progress, but on a daily basis you should be focused only on the step you’re taking at the time.

The toughest part is laying out what you actually have to do to get each task done, but it’s worth the time and effort.  By thinking about it, and breaking it down, you’ve already accomplished the hardest part – you’ve built yourself a step-by-step instruction manual for getting the project completed.  Read Getting Things Done.

9.  Situations you have zero control over.

Some parts of your life are simply meant to be lived, not controlled.  No matter what happens, no matter the outcome, you’re going to be just fine.  Let the things you can’t control, happen.

Spend your thoughts and efforts on controlling what you do have power over, rather than wasting your peace of mind on the uncontrollable.

10.  Another time and place.

Sometimes we avoid experiencing exactly where we are because we have developed a belief, based on past experiences, that it is not where we should be or want to be.  But the truth is, where you are now is exactly where you need to be to get to where you want to go tomorrow.

The present moment is always filled with wonder.  Right now is a phenomenon.  Right now extraordinary things are happening.  If you are attentive, you will see them.

Your turn…

What’s something you often think about that you know hurts you more than it helps you?  Leave a comment below and let us know.

Photo by: Toni Blay

Comments

  1. Diane says

    Very useful question you have posed, with many courageous contributors sharing their revelations.

    What hurts more than helps is believing my thoughts which make others wrong and, therefore, reinforce my stance of solitude and separation. Its lonely on this side of the fence, but safe.

    Observing my quick-to-judgments is a path to healing. Am I willing to simply notice and let it go? Or do I prefer to remain right but estranged? Often just asking myself these two questions help spring me out of the jailhouse so to speak.

  2. says

    @Dev: In my daily conversations and self-talk I’ve started replacing the word “if” with “when.” It’s a little trick that helps tremendously. Give it a try. =)

    @Josiah: When there is a will, there is a way. Connect with people who are already living a similar dream, pick their brain. How did they get where they are? Research and take baby steps. As long as you are moving forward – no matter how gradually – you have something to celebrate.

    @All: Sharing and acknowledging our negative thoughts and insecurities openly, as many of you have done here in the comments, is an effective tool for growth and healing. It opens our awareness to the changes we need to make, or the issues we simply need to accept and let go. That’s one of the primary reasons Angel and I ask you to share your thoughts with us.

    Your comments also provide a platform of reassurance to the rest of us who are dealing with similar issues. By leaving a comment and reading the comments of others, we realize the truth – that we are all in this together.

    Another healing aid Angel is a big advocate of is live discussions – confiding in a friend, parent, family member, or professional coach/therapist to get the negative thoughts out of your head and into the open air. Let yourself hear them out loud. Combat your negative thoughts with positive actions nurtured through positive relationships. Oftentimes the thoughts and insecurities we tell ourselves are made larger than life in our head, so the key is to get them out of there.

    When negativity controls our thoughts, it limits our behavior, actions, and opportunities. If you realized how powerful your thoughts were, you would never think another negative thought again. Easier said than done, I know. But it’s an ongoing commitment worth working on.

    Again, we’re here with a listening ear and appreciate your thoughts and feedback. Thank you for the continued support and for sharing your feelings and stories with the community here. =)

  3. nadir says

    Thanks. I read your articles on regular basis. You are right, too often we live in the past and dream about the future and try to please our friends and family at all costs. It’s time to be more presents and focus more internally. Thanks for the positive light.

  4. To Helen says

    Oh Helen… when I read your post I thought yup that’s it for me too. I always think I am not worthy of living well or of being loved and I know that is so not the truth. I think for me it comes down to self-love and that is what I am working on. Loving myself and knowing that I am a good person who has so much to give to the world but letting go of the fear of rejection.

    Marc and Angel emails are my favorite to open they give me so much hope and reflection. Thank you!!

  5. Maggie says

    I tend to think a lot about the economy and my future. I have so little prepared for myself because I never dreamed I would get this old. In May I will be 60. With no savings or preparations and the economy in the dump plus having diabetes and other health complications, I not only “worry” but I fear what will become of my life, my home, my pets and everything else revolving around my income. I am currently the only one working in my household. The pressure is great to perform every night on the graveyard shift and perform without error. To lose my job means I lose the health care and also the income that keeps my home, “my home.”
    The fear that I feel would be best called terror.

  6. Karen says

    I absolutely love, appreciate & agree with everything mentioned here. I find myself still somewhat struggling with #5 & #9, though, and I have to make a concerted effort to work on those things. For me, I think #5 & #9 are closely tied together. I have difficulty letting go of past wounds, either done inadvertently or purposely to me; I regretfully tend to bring up past hurts and/or injustices. I guess I’m just looking or hoping for apologies that will likely never happen, but mostly, just for my feelings to be validated and acknowledged. Also, I tend to stress over things that are out of my control; that I wish for, but don’t have any control over. And I’m definitely not the type to want to control people or others; it’s more about the outcome of certain situations. These things are a constant work in progress, and I’m working on them.

    As for all the rest… I have a pretty good grip on and know in my heart I’ve pretty much finally mastered, through age, wisdom, trials, tribulations, heartache, etc. And for all of the hard times, I greatly appreciate all the good things in life; big & small. In fact, I may be one of the rare, but I tend to look at & appreciate everything around me as though I’m seeing it for the first time… like looking at and admiring things through the eyes of a child. And to live in the moment, the here and now. And to generously give praise to those around me. After all, the human spirit thrives on praise and recognition. And when you genuinely give praise, it actually makes you feel good inside, too. It’s a win-win situation.

    None would believe all the hardships & heartache I’ve been through, and I’ve been through a lot…and for me to somehow dig deep and still find an amazing appreciation for life & people. I’m grateful for overcoming so much, and even in the midst of chaos, still finding the ability to be appreciative for all the good things in life. “This too shall pass,” I tell myself. And it always does.

    Thank you, Marc & Angel for your outstanding reads and for reminding me that life really is good.

  7. Ricky says

    #8 hit home for me. Every project always looks daunting till I start working on it. There is one project I have been dreading for a while now, but after reading #8 I started breaking it down and all of a sudden its looking doable, thank you.

  8. says

    Old wounds! Your first love can really eff you up. Sometimes I forget that I’m okay. I’m beautiful on my own, just need to keep reminding myself of that! :)

  9. sca says

    I am plagued with the thoughts and regrets of choices I have made in the past. Leaving someone who loved me deeply only to turn to someone who are incapable of giving love freely. Scars are on both sides… cautious behavior inhibits what could become a really happy relationship. Reading the entries here have given me the impetus to try and move away from this person.

  10. KDT says

    The things that hurt more than help me? Where do I begin? My list is too long. #1, though, is being involved romantically/emotionally/physically with someone I shouldn’t be for 10 years. I let him control me, manipulate me, hurt me. He’s caused me the deepest hurt in my life and I cannot leave him. And now he has cancer. I lack self confidence & the strength to do what I know is right. After being out if work for nearly 3 years, I fear I have nothing to offer any potential employer. I am a long term diabetic, have many medical issues (and no medical insurance). Who would want to hire me? My memory is shot and I haven’t seized every day as I should have. I’ve given up and can’t stop thinking how much I dislike myself for not doing for myself what I need to do to move forward.

  11. says

    Mechanical thoughts are cruel but needed. When we play those movies in our mind we are not being our true selves. Original thought is the most difficult thought process we are challenged to produce.

  12. legend chambers says

    another awesome piece. such a vivid reminder of the many salient ways we are our own chief obstacle to fulfilling our own potential. the reminder on the value of the moment, this moment, that holds loads of promise, was apt.

  13. says

    I worry about and can’t stop thinking about people who left me with no reason or explanation. Its hurts me more to think about how much I cared for them and I have no reason why they left.

  14. Divya says

    The only thing that sets me back in life: Fear. In various forms like anxiety, worry, stress etc etc. It raises questions in my mind. Some present term ones:
    Where will I be going for college, does he like me/Is this love coz it’s different.
    Some long term ones:
    Will I get to be what I dream to be in life, will I find true love, what’ll I do after my loved ones aren’t with me.
    I decide not to be afraid whatever happens. Life’s meant to be lived. And if we do our work sincerely we’ll surely reap the rewards. Stay happy <3 (:

  15. says

    I feel, most of us do not live our life on the present moment. Not in the now. Though physically we are in the present, in our thoughts we are either in the past or in the future.

    Another place, another time. So well said!

  16. CrystalS says

    I tend to dwell on past mistake or ones I believe I have will make, which is why I tend to stay a bit subdued when I first meet people.

  17. Barry Harry says

    Guess the ego sometimes can make you wanna prove something not needed to prove.

    Calm focus and keeping up with personal development can make you wiser.

  18. Amanda says

    I just found your blog in LinkedIn and find your writing to be amazing and truly inspirational. I love reading your posts and can’t wait to read more.

  19. says

    Your blog post really hit on every important aspect of being healthy and happy, it really comes down to exactly this. I’ll be following your future blog posts, they are really well written and informative. Keep up the great work and happy blogging :)

  20. Kathy says

    I LOVE all your blogs! They are so awesome and motivating.

    I do wish you had a print option though. I keep a quote book that I write or store special sayings and articles in. I enjoy refering back to them as a helpful reminder and would love to add yours!

    Just a thought! Keep up the good work!

  21. says

    I tend to wallow in grief about having to cut off my 18 year old son for his abusive attitude and treatment of me. He has Asperger’s Syndrome and lives with his father, whom I recently divorced due to years of emotional manipulation. Both relationships were codependent. I made the necessary choice to leave, but I still feel guilt about leaving my son mainly because I know both family (son and ex included) and former friends believe I abandoned him.

  22. Anony Moose says

    @Lucia: It is impossible to make all people happy. Just make happy who you can. Don’t worry about the rest.

  23. Eva says

    For me I think too much on what people think of me. I don’t know why their opinions seem to matter to me a lot. I know it’s not good but I don’t know how to convince myself. Recently the over thinking thoughts got really worse that I feel helpless. I have a best friend who’s really really important to me but recently I’m worried that our friendship isnt special enough and I would get replaced even though I know we’re close. (we are both in the same group of best friends that is made up of 5 people) I hate to have that happen because she’s really really very important and I would want this friendship to last forever. I know I need to give her space for her to have other friends too and I know I can’t be too focus on her till I kind of hurt my other best friends too but I can’t convince myself to not feel insecure.

  24. Gabbi says

    Thinking about all the things I need to do to achieve what I want causes anxiety and stress. I don’t have the motivation to just do it. Instead, I’m easily distracted and all the work piles up.

  25. Maya says

    This post speaks volumes to me ! Especially point 9 . There are areas of my life that are not going so well for me and I sincerely believe I am getting depressed over it . For 3 years now I have been trying to control those areas of my life thinking if I did things differently, but reading your post today I realize it is not within my power and that indeed some part of life is just meant to be lived and not controlled. I will print this post and keep it in my bag when the going gets tough perhaps a glance at it will give me the strength I need.

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