I used to think that caring about the thoughts rolling around in my head was stupid, impractical, and kind of a waste of time. I mean, thoughts just showed up. What command did I have over them? I wasn’t the master; I had to follow and do my best to deal with what showed up.
I’ve been (slowly) learning that thoughts do matter, and that what we put our attention on does grow. What I’m thinking about impacts the choices I make, which impact what I see resulting in my life. So those thoughts? Important. And we have freedom to choose what we’re focusing on. Sure, lots of thoughts can and do enter our heads. However, we can decide which ones get put on repeat. (And not saying it’s always — or ever — easy to get out of stuck track, but it’s possible. And we get to choose.)
When I look back over the struggling decade from late teens into my twenties, the vast amount of my time was spent thinking about those struggles and how I could fix all of these “problems.” As I looked and thought about and stewed over my problems, new ones seemed to keep crawling out of the woodwork. It sucked big time; life seemed to get worse and worse. Until I threw in a few different thoughts and started wondering about what info life might be giving me via the struggles, what I could learn, and maybe, just maybe, that life felt messy because life IS messy and everyone is a hot mess sometimes, little changed.
I appreciate this quote from Marie Forleo:
What we say to ourselves in the privacy of our own minds matters; it drives our behavior, which drives our destiny, which shapes our world.
What’s getting airtime in your head? Paying attention ourselves (and sharing the process!) is huge for helping our teens (and anyone else around) begin to pay attention to their own thoughts, too. And our thoughts are hugely powerful. Let’s harness this power for good.