One of our spoiled rotten cats, Alexa (pictured above), loves bird watching almost as much as I do. My husband fills the bird feeders and I set seed on the ground for the ground feeders, then Lexie and I get lost in the parade of doves, cardinals, robins, blue birds, blackbirds, etc.
Every now and then, a bird will land on the ledge of one of our dining room or kitchen windows. Yesterday morning, the craziest thing happened. I was at the dining room table on my laptop, sidetracked by a couple of the brightest cardinals in the world enjoying the seed on the ground. Alexa was in another room, swatting around one of her leftover plastic eggs from Easter (I told you she was spoiled).
A dove landed on the ledge of the window directly in front of me and peered in. He’d ruffle his feathers, pace back and forth, then peer in again. He seemed to think his reflection was another bird and he was doing his best to impress (or scare) it. I wasn’t sure which, but I froze, wanting him to stick around – and hoped like crazy that Alexa didn’t arrive on the scene. I knew she’d take a dive at the window and scare away my newest diversion from work.
After about the 9th pace, I heard Alexa let out her familiar “Where are you?!” meow and could tell that she was entering the dining room. Just as I turned to look at her, she spied my little visitor and tried to make an all-in-one dive for the window. I grabbed her and carried her into another room, offering to play a great game of swat the egg or chase the catnip-filled mouse.
She wanted none of it! As soon as she thought I wasn’t paying attention, she tried to bolt for the dining room again. Oddly enough, the bird was still at it, so I diverted Alexa’s attention again. This time, I took her into another room and set her on the window sill of another favorite lookout.
She was content and by the time we returned to the dining room, the bird was gone.
I read a comment on this blog not long ago in which the individual was talking about thoughts and how hard it is to make negative thoughts stop. As the commentator very rightly said, they often don’t go away just because we want them to. Like extra weight, negative thoughts seem to have no particular place to go and all the time in the world to get there.
Sometimes our thoughts are like Alexa – BENT on going exactly where they have no business going. Like her, left to their own devices, they’ll carry out their evil plan and never look back.
That’s where we have to step it! We all know how negative thoughts can hinder us:
- If we dwell on negative, self-defeating thoughts, they take the wind out of our sails and cause us to lose the game before it even begins.
- If we dwell on negative thoughts about other people, we’ll be the ones missing out. We’ll fail to see their wonderful traits and miss out on a great relationship, simply because we refuse to quit focusing on the negative.
- If we keep looking back at past mistakes, we never really move away from them. We keep carrying them around with us forever.
- If we keep thinking a negative thought over and over and over – make no mistake, it will come out of your mouth at some point, then it’ll be too late to do anything about it.
- If we keep having negative, fearful thoughts – we’ll never enjoy life, we’ll always be too worried about what might happen or what could possibly happen.
Every negative thing done or said once began inside someone’s head.
Be sure to keep this in mind as well: Negative thoughts often disguise themselves as concern. They’ll try to convince you that you’re fixating on every single solitary thing your teenager does simply because you’re concerned for him. While parental concern is as real as my love for animals, there’s something else that’s very real – The negative pit. Once a parent falls into this pit (they don’t like what their child wears, the music they listen to, the people they hang out with, the job they choose, the classes they take..) – two things are certain:
- They will be far more miserable than their son or daughter – after all, they’re the ones in the stinking pit!
- The child will avoid them and refuse to discuss anything at all with them. Why bother, they know what you’re going to say – they’re wrong, you wouldn’t have done it that way, they made a “dumb” decision, and… while you’re at it… why don’t they cut their hair?
The same is true for anyone, not just our kids. If you allow yourself to flounder in a negativity pit, no one will want you around. Negative people suck the life and energy out of a room and no one gets out of bed in the morning looking for that kind of action.
What about thoughts that only affect us? This is where I believe most of us have problems. We’ll often find ourselves doubting our abilities or selling ourselves short. We’ll be smack in the middle of a job when the little voice says, “What do you think you’re doing?! Who are you kidding, this is over your head.” Then we recall past failures and begin to seriously doubt that we’re fit to do anything but tie our own shoes.
If these negative thoughts aren’t diverted, your success and happiness will be.
Whether you need to harnass your negative thoughts from polluting your own life or the life of someone else (as well as your own), the following are a few suggestions.
Just as I physically picked up Alexa and carried her to a different room, you have to mentally pick up your negative thoughts and carry them to a different place. Simply saying that you don’t want to think a particular thought isn’t enough, you have to replace it with another one.
- If you begin to doubt yourself in a particular area, bring to mind your strengths and past successes. Write them down, so you’ll have them the next time negative thoughts come onto the scene.
- If you keep having negative thoughts about a particular person, try to begin focusing on positive things about the person. Thinking negative ones is simply a habit, create a new habit by focusing on the positive.
- If you’re having a particularly troublesome day with negative thoughts – change the scenery. Sometimes going for a walk, seeing a movie, going shopping, or just going for a frappuccino will do a world of good.
- Get physical! No, I’m not giving you permission to punch a co-worker. Get up and get that body moving. Physical activity makes you feel better and may be just the “bouncer” you need for negative thoughts.
- If you tend to be a worry wart, hold your thoughts accountable. Ask yourself how many disasters you’ve actually witnessed! We often expect the worse when, if fact, we’ve very rarely seen the worse.
Finally, if there is one particular negative though that you battle – here’s one approach. Write it down on a piece of paper, crumble the paper up, and throw it away. Tell yourself that that’s the last time you ever want to hear from it!
Granted, at first you may feel just a little ridiculous – but do you want to know how you’ll feel as the crumbled paper lands in the trash… where it belongs?
As free as a bird.