As my kids and I were swaying on the porch swing — our legs moving back and forth in a cadence — I saw our shadows reflected on the wooden boards beneath our feet. And I began to think about what shadows represent.
Have you ever thought about the essence of a shadow? Never do you think the shades of black directly represent the object they’re shadowing. For example, I didn’t think that the mirroring darkness I saw on the front porch steps were actually my kids and me. I can logically tell myself that those shadows were simply a portrayal of my family.
Our thoughts are much like shadows. They don’t fully represent reality, but yet we often let them lead us, and we don’t face our thought life from a logical perspective.
We must change this mindset.
Let’s start by examining our thought life. I don’t know about you, but my life is often controlled by the “shoulds.”
“I should really be working harder on my personal business.”
“I should exercise.”
“I should be a better wife and cook more.”
We all have our own list of “shoulds” without us even being aware most of the time! Beliefs are powerful. They can be completely true or completely false, and yet our feelings and actions are directly dictated by our beliefs. Our level of motivation, success, and the health of our relationships are just a few examples of what our thoughts determine.
So what does that mean? We need to take control over our thought life.
Let’s think about how you want to FEEL. I don’t know about you, but I want to feel joy and contentment. I believe most people do. So then why are our thoughts one of the biggest things that keeps us from happiness? Because we don’t have boundaries or control. We see our thoughts like wild animals unable to be tamed when really, we have much more power than we realize!
Those “should” beliefs I wrote at the beginning don’t make me feel joy. They make me feel worthless and inadequate. They also make me feel like a failure without actually failing at anything. So why do I let them in? Well, the only way to change my thoughts is to replace them. Here are some examples of replacements for better thoughts:
“What can I do for my business today that honors my time and circumstances?”
“How can I incorporate movement into my life today?”
“In what ways do I serve my husband well?”
Do you see how the shift in these thoughts can automatically impact my feelings? Just by removing the word “should,” I’m already on a better path. I suddenly go from being ridden with guilt to being more intentional about finding a positive way towards the feelings and actions I desire.
1. Choose how you want to feel.
2. Examine your thought life.
3. Replace your thoughts with ones that help you feel the way you want to feel.
Stop letting life just happen to you, and start taking control of your thoughts. Don’t be distracted by the shadows, and start seeing life in full substance and color.
Tell me in the comments what thoughts YOU need to replace. Remember, it takes time, intentionality, and practice, but YOU CAN DO IT!
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