Move a Muscle, Change a Thought

We can be honest here, yes? This is not easy for me to admit. I dislike how negative I can occasionally be. I am embarrassed that I can come across as easily annoyed, jealous, or short-fused, when that part of my personality shows itself. I sometimes like to think that maybe I’m just being witty and cutely snarky about people when I am annoyed with their actions, but really I suspect that it’s just a way for me to feel better about criticizing. Sometimes I even worry that these resentments or stress will make me sick; like, it will manifest into some sort of real illness.

Tough day at the office.
Tough day at the office.

Now, I don’t think that I’m an incredibly angry person, and I’m certainly not violent or anything like that. But maybe I let my emotions get the best of me sometimes. I feel confident saying that try to practice patience, I like to laugh, and I think that life really is a beautiful thing. I know that sounds corny. Whatever.

I don’t want my daughter to pick up on my negative attitude when I’m feeling stressed out. I have taught her to say “I don’t care for” fill-in-the-blank because I don’t ever want to hear her say that she “hates” something. I have always admired people who are easy-breezy and laid-back — unaffected by frustrating situations and confident enough to remain untouched by envy. Because underneath anger, resentments, and jealousy is fear and lack of confidence. And I don’t want her to be afraid or inadequate.

I love the idea of being positive all the time. Of being that *cool* person that just always has it together. I love the idea of not sweating the small stuff, of letting things roll off my back. And when I remember, these are philosophies that I try to implement. Sometimes I’m successful. But the reality is, sometimes I just complain too much and focus on the 1% that’s wrong instead of the 99% that’s right.

During a particularly challenging day at work the other day, I noted how comfortable the heft of the two-hole punch felt in my hand and thought how much relief I might feel if I sent it through a computer screen. I shared this with an equally stressed-out coworker and she informed me that thought of how much damage you can do crosses her mind  every time she picks up this handy office tool. She also let me know that she had a heavier one in her office. *wink, wink* We shared a much-needed laugh about this.

So, I was outside with the dog tonight and I find that whenever I am out there, under the stars, I am forced to remember just how small I am — and how much smaller the shit that I am letting myself be bothered with is. I need to remember that I create my environment, even when I can’t control it. I can choose what I talk to others about; I can even steer the conversation if I so want. This also means that I can share a laugh over frustration and cut it in half — or multiply it by taking it too seriously and dragging someone else down the rabbit hole with me. I can step outside for a walk, or if time allows, a run. I should also remember that the food I choose to eat tends to affect my mood. As long as I keep practicing patience, not allow myself to be the “victim” of negative thinking, and move a muscle / change a thought, I’m moving in the right direction.

8 thoughts on “Move a Muscle, Change a Thought

  1. Tara, I love you, I love this post, I love your awareness, I love your urge to better yourself, and I love all the beautiful comments from all these beautiful freakin’ people! ♥♥♥

  2. It is a constant practice, isn’t it; and one we fall away from, come back, fall away, come back? It isn’t unlike food and exercise for me, a practice that requires diligence. As true as that is, though, I do believe we need spaces and places to complain, and we all have days we just feel “off.” You can be as compassionate with yourself as you strive to be with others. Snarky-self-talk be silenced! 🙂 And yes, I totally need to take my own advice.

  3. Tara – it is human nature to focus on the things that go wrong and take for granted the things that go right, and you are only human, after all. You have a busy life – you have a THREE year old, you work, and you have a house to keep in order – those are all things that pile the stress of the world onto your shoulders. The fact that you are aware that you’re focusing on the negative is about 200 steps in the right direction…

    And for whatever it is worth…from the limited time that I have known you, I think you might perceive yourself to be more negative than the rest of the world does. You are a cute, funny, pleasant person who really seems to have your sh*t together.

  4. Tara as someone who thinks a lot about what I think, I loved this. I’d urge you to be gentle with yourself. I’ve been practicing Buddhist meditation for a year and a half and every day try to work on being a more peaceful person. And I STILL have a hard time with this. I think what helps me is knowing that as long as I’m being aware of my thoughts, I have control over following where they lead, or letting them go. This is easier said than done of course. It’s OK to have a negative thought, we all do – even the most put together, positive people do. The work (for me) comes in after I have that negative thought, purposefully choosing to not follow it. I literally say to myself, “Michelle, this is not a helpful thought, let it go.” It takes lots and lots of practice to “change our minds” and I admire you for being so open about this!

    1. Thank you! Sometimes it’s remembering these little things that really helps. Seriously … I might just grab that idea of stopping and considering if what I’m thinking is “helpful”. And of course, it’s nice to know that I’m not alone!

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