It was actually by accident that the three words changed everything. I mean, of course I understood the concept, but to tie only three words together making this entire approach so succinct? There’s no way it came from me. It had to have come from that inner place where there is no thought, as I was literally not thinking when I’d said it. It came tumbling out of my mouth when I was talking to my children. See, they have this habit that is exactly like every other human being’s habit. But they don’t see it in the middle of whatever crisis they are experiencing in that moment. Whether the crisis is that a sibling is playing with their toy without permission (less severe) or that a friend at school is now declaring they are no longer a friend (more severe) is irrelevant to the applicability of the three words. And that’s the beauty of it. I don’t even remember to whom I was actually speaking when it urgently escaped my lips, but I do remember feeling a deep pause inside myself after they’d escaped me–and it never left (the pause for it, nor the phrase itself). It’s beautiful to hear my children say it, repeat it, or resolve something on their own simply by recalling it. It’s changed our lives.
FIND THE GOOD
Whaaaaaat? That’s it? Find the good?
I know, right.
Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? Well it wasn’t for me initially. My mental habit loop was apparently to complain or see everything through a defensive or frightened lens. It turns out, while I was always peppy, cheerful, smiley, and full of laughter and jokes, I was an extremely negative person (without knowing it). And perhaps I hadn’t always been that way, but sometimes experiencing a lot of trauma (Oh, hi.) can warp the way a person perceives life. And it just so happened that my mind had distorted interpretations of my experiences.
I don’t have time to get this done. Or, She probably meant this when she said this to me. Or, I’m going to be late! And everyone will think X of me! Or, If I don’t do this, XYZ will probably happen and then everything will fall apart, etc.
Worst-case-scenario thinking. My mother calls it “wisdom”, lol. (Love you, Mom!) I call it an unnecessary backlog of unproductive energy (but I can only call it that now, because I understand that’s what it is).
I didn’t even know I had this type of thinking, by the way, until I started observing my thoughts; and then, also, not until I began practicing specific and intentional communication. Boy howdy was that a learning experience (and still is!). Such an endeavor requires so much mindfulness, incidentally. (Dude! You can’t always be thinking negatively if you want positive communication! It is absolutely impossible, I discovered.)
[For more about my bridled tongue, click here.]
If I was constantly ruminating on whatever negative interpretations I initially had of situations or people or people’s reactions or statements or what-have-you, I’d inevitably have something to say about it (this makes me laugh). So I had to realize something.
Find the good changed my life. Within everything, I step back and look for the good. Sometimes it takes me up to a whole day before I realize I am not interpreting through a Find the good mentality–sometimes longer. But the truth is, I even expect the good. Because I know it’s all good. And I know it’s all good, because I’ve looked for it and found it, and that strategy has never failed.
Even in those really, really hard times? Those hard times that people find out you’re in and they do the head-tilt and sympathetic facial expression that indicate they’ve labeled your situation as “bad”– those times? They are still good. Because it’s impossible for something to not have a good outcome.
It just has to be found. And I’ve learned that if you’re looking for it, you will find it.
It’s important to note, by the way, that without meditation (intentionally sitting in stillness regularly), I doubt I would have come this far. Meditation helps me to see thoughts as something that are separate from who I actually am. It has the same effect on my understanding of my emotions.