Monday, June 01, 2009
Catch and Release
Whether it is complaints from our kids, criticism from someone we love, or our own self-defeating thoughts, we are bombarded with negativity everyday.
Whoa, I know what you are thinking, I don't know if I want to read this post. Read on. I have been giving this considerable thought and I hope my thoughts make you think.
A few weeks ago, I spent some time talking to some friends about burdens. We all felt weighed down by stress or worry. For each of us, there was some kind of conflict in our lives -either with someone else or internally. We were all struggling. Someone said something to this affect: "I just don't know how to let go."
We cannot control all of the factors that push negativity our way. Negativity can arrive in the form of complaints, criticism, worry, or self-abasement. We can control what we do with our thoughts.
I don't think controlling our thought process is easy. I do think being proactive in this area will relieve a lot of stress. How often when you think of stress in your life, do you relate it to your own attitude and thinking? We underestimate the harm we do to ourselves with our own thinking.
After all, when I am most content - when I have the most peace of mind- it isn't because of my external situations. My thoughts and attitude are the most important factors to determine my level of contentment.
I believe that I should recognize a negative thought (the catch) and then let it go (the release).
That sounds great - but how do I do that?
I am being challenged by this. I am training my mind. I want to take every thought captive. I am consciously cultivating an awareness of my thoughts. I am convinced that holding on to a negative thought cannot help me in any way.
I don't pretend that I am not thinking negatively. I simply recognize it and determine to let go of it.
Sometimes, I recognize a negative thought and I simply stop myself from thinking that way. Other times, I recognize negativity and I pray over those thoughts. I pray for my concern, the situation, or the person involved. Prayer is an effective way for me to release my negative thoughts.
There are times when I struggle. I know I mentioned that I was "struggling" after David's allergic reaction. I recognized that holding on to negativity (or my anger) could not help me at all but I kept struggling. So, I asked a few friends to pray for me. I struggled and then found a release in relying on friendship and prayer.
There are few things in my life that I can control. With practice, I am gaining control over my thoughts. I am becoming more aware of my thoughts and, as I result, I am more in tune with my emotions. In becoming more aware of negativity, I am turning more over in prayer. The things I cannot control, I leave in God's hands.