Many years ago before I had gained even a hint of wisdom, my wife said to me after we had a fight “Mark you are playing the victim now and you are trying to victimize me by what you are doing and how you are acting.” She said this because I had begun to pout and give her the silent treatment. I was playing the victim but–and here is the big point–what I was really doing was attempting to victimize her.
Of course being a young macho man then I quickly denied it all but as my mind kept turning it over and over I began admitting to myself that she was right—ouch! Finally after a few days of this, I went to her and apologized. I told her that she was absolutely correct, that I was trying to make her feel bad by acting like I was so very hurt.
As I looked back I could see that I had done that many time before and I also realized that not only was that behavior hurting our relationship but it was deeply hurting me. Many, if not most, adults do this. I would venture to guess that most of us don’t even fully realize what we’re doing.
Once you stand back and observe yourself (and others) and fully understand the concept and what is really happening, then and only then can you stop this harmful behavior. For most of us that may be hard to do but what is so bad about saying “Hey, I was wrong and I am sorry”?
In fact, try this … next time you get into a battle with your spouse, kids, friends, boss, employees or whomever, say to yourself “Hey pal, get over yourself! Maybe I am wrong. We are all right sometimes and we are all wrong sometimes.” And ask yourself why does it matter if you are right? Most things are not that important.
Do that often and you’ll see that your stress level will drop dramatically and as a big bonus –your relationships will take a huge leap upwards!
The Dalai Lama said two very profound things in his book The Compassionate Life
“The moment you think only of yourself, the focus of your whole reality narrows, and because of this narrow focus, uncomfortable things can appear huge and bring you fear and discomfort and a sense of feeling overwhelmed by misery”.
Then next he said, “The moment you think of others with a sense of caring, however, your view widens. Within that wider perspective, your own problems appear to be of little significance …”
That difference, a singular shift in how you choose to look upon the world, influences both your mental and physical health. There, in a nutshell, is one of the biggest and best lessons of life—keep everyone and everything in a positive perspective.
But how do you gain that perspective, if you find you are dwelling mostly on you and your problems? You program yourself through the use of positive affirmations.
I began repeating the following every morning and I immediately noticed a difference in my conversations and relationships — it gave me a new and immensely genuine level of interest in other people’s lives and challenges and it’s a very simple statement: “I love people and I carefully listen to them.”
Loving and getting along with other people is so very critical. The effect on your mental health is probably easy to imagine but there are also studies showing a strong connection between how we interact with people and our physical health. The more positive you are about others and how you relate to them, the more positive an impact this will have on you both mentally and physically.
Choose the above PA or create one that truly strikes you and repeat several times every day. Keeping focused on others will make life better for both them and you.
Here’s something we all tend to do but for no good reason most of the time–complain. Why? It doesn’t really help anything. In fact it can be mentally devastating. Sure, we all have problems that we want to vent about but it doesn’t usually solve the problem. Worse than that though, most of us wrongly think that these problems–a lawsuit, terrible relationship, sickness, financial problem or whatever–are the source of our unhappiness and all we have to do is get rid of that problem to make our life perfect. But that idea is just a dream.
About the time you solve your current challenge I guarantee something else will pop up and take its place. Sometimes these will not be as big as the one you just got through but other times they will be worse. If you don’t come to the realization that life’s challenges never really end then you will go on complaining (whether it’s out loud or to yourself) and that negative mindset will make your challenges seem bigger and more terrible since the complaining gives energy and life to the problem.
On the other hand if you come to accept that life will always be filled with bumps and challenges then you can prepare yourself to deal with whatever comes your way. The best part is that preparation can be done in that little super power space between your ears, with wonderful, simple and effective practices such as prayer, meditation or positive affirmations. Amazing, isn’t it? You can make huge problems very small with just your thoughts. All that power is within you.
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I know we’ve spent a lot of posts on the subject of your inner voice but I feel it’s that important. I am also hoping that each post finds you still dedicated to making the changes you need to make, forming a habit of doing daily positive affirmations and keeping the awareness of what you are saying in your mind in the forefront until its automatic for you to bury or not even bring up the self-sabotaging language.
Recently it dawned on me that positive affirmations are a lot like praying or meditation. It seems that they are pretty much the same thing with the same basic results.
Maybe part of the reason they usually have the same positive results is because when a person prays or meditates, he or she rarely prays or meditates in a negative way–just like positive affirmations. Think about it … when a person prays are complaints or negative commentary part of their prayers? No, I don’t think so. It is more commonly about giving thanks and/or asking for something good to happen in their lives. Same thing with proper meditation–you don’t complain inside your head and just like repeating PA’s over and over, you do it to drown out or silence the negative chatter that is always trying to take over.
So if it helps, think of your positive inner chatter and affirmations as calm, confident prayers or mediation. Negativity has no place here. It’s all about the good you can and will do for yourself, your loved ones and the world around you.