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July 4, 2013 at 8:00 AMComments: 0 Faves: 1

Seeking Serenity Within

By Anne Christen More Blogs by This Author

My Mind Is Where the Fear Is

Most of us already know it, but I feel compelled to say that life isn’t always a bowl of cherries. I tend to think of home – the one place where I can kick back, throw on sweats and a t-shirt, and cry hysterically or dance maniacally if I want - as my sanctuary from the world. But I would be remiss in thinking the world can’t greedily sneak into my home, because it can. Where, then, am I safe to go when I need a reprieve?

The answer is, simply, my own head, which is also the place where I’m least safe, where I blow small slights out of proportion, and worry incessantly about things that will likely never happen.

Dual Dimensions

I once read that people lead two different lives: That which they actually live, as in the real world with real actions, and that which they live in their minds, where their thoughts and memories mingle with infinite possibilities. I know that, locked inside my head, are all kinds of scenarios, some more intriguing than others, that influence who I am. When the thoughts I conjure up are negative, I respond to the world around me with fear and timidity. So what would happen if I filled my head with thoughts of a more positive and forgiving nature?

At this point, I have to offer another quote I’ve previously read: “Eventually you will come to realize that love heals everything, and love is all there is.” For most of my life, I’ve believed the only important love is that between one person and his or her significant other. It’s been just recently that I understand love encompasses far more than this single relationship. Not only does it include that of friends and family, but also love for oneself.

Live like a Refugee

Which takes me back to my original point: Self love leads to positive thoughts, and positive thoughts help create a refuge from hurt and worry. These thoughts originate from self-talk, which can make or break your view of the world. Positive self-talk helps you take bad events in stride and see them as temporary setbacks rather than permanent ways of life. Equally important, positive self-talk helps you recognize the best in yourself, not the worst, and keeps you balanced when you do have to face the unpleasant. And herein is the refuge I’m talking about, that place to turn for quiet introspection.

Creating a safe place for yourself requires some work. In addition to consciously striving for positive self-talk, you also need some degree of emotional maturity. This allows you to see that most bad events are not intended as personal blows, but are instead part of the natural ups and downs that come with being human.

Even those with chronic negative self-talk can change their behaviors. The key is to reconstruct the way you look at life. Rather than dwelling in the past and rehashing hurt, it’s better to learn from the experience and move forward. Pick out the things you did right, differentiate those from what you did wrong and forgive yourself. If you don’t do this, inside your head you're bound to create an environment that nurtures negative and unhealthy thoughts.

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