Do you believe everything you think?
I certainly do. As a matter of fact, because I believe it… it MUST be true. And I must do something about it. Anything to the contrary seems ludicrous. I mean, I’m thinking it so how can it NOT be true. It was suggested to me by a friend and coach that I don’t have to believe everything, I think. And maybe, just maybe I could give less respect to the thoughts that are telling me I’m not good enough, not smart enough, should be further along in my career, or rather I should be a stay-at-home mom, I really should be working out more, why didn’t I get that peloton at the beginning of the pandemic??? Why is my husband still in his pajamas at 9 am? Will the schools close? And of course, I need to get more decorations from Target because we NEED MORE! I mean the chatter is incessant. Mind you, this is during my morning coffee. Prior to 9:05 in the morning.
According to the National Science Foundation, an average person has about 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts per day. Of those, 80% are negative and 95% are repetitive thoughts. If we repeat those negative thoughts, we think negatively way more than we think positive thoughts.
So, what’s a girl to do? Well, the first thing is to realize that this is completely normal. Everyone has these negative thoughts… well maybe not the ones about your husband wearing his pajamas at 9 am. Maybe some people like that. But in general, every single person has an ongoing avalanche of negative thoughts every minute, hour and day. And it’s also true that where we put our attention persists and grows. So, if I am really focused on what my husband is not doing, I will continue to see things that, you guessed it — he is NOT doing. If I respect those thoughts that I am not doing enough… I will continue to have more thoughts of all the things I am not doing… and, as a type A overachiever, that list is long.
The solution to this is to pay less respect to those negative thoughts. WHAT? Yes, when you have a negative thought, let it pass through; don’t try to fix it, change it or solve it. Just know that it is only a thought passing through and another fresh one will follow it. Continue with whatever you are doing.
Well, how do I know if I should trust and respect that thought? Good question. How does it feel in your body? Does it make your body feel heavy, anxious, uneasy? That is a tell-tale sign that this is not a helpful thought and you don’t need to investigate it further. Let it go. Or does it feel light and peaceful in your body even though your head may be screaming this is crazy? We can trust that feeling.
In January, I started having an incessant thought about moving to NY. We were living in LA and our lives were pretty fantastic. Yet, every day I had this thought, rather this feeling that moving to NY was a good idea. My head thought this was crazy… WHY would we get up and move when our lives were so good here? Our family lived in NY, but we could get on a plane whenever we liked to see each other. We vacationed together and saw each other frequently. Yet, each time I thought about moving to NY I checked in with my body and this felt peaceful and light.
I ignored this thought because my head kept telling me this was crazy. EVERY DAY. When the pandemic hit in March, we could no longer fly to see our family. Something that was so easy was much harder now. The thought to move to NY persisted and I resisted. My mind countered with, “Our daughter is in school here, we love our home, all of our friends are here in LA”.
One day I was walking my pandemic rescue dog, not thinking about anything in particular, and the idea came to me… ‘Go on Airbnb and find a house in NY.’ It FELT right and this time, for some reason, I trusted that feeling. Within one hour I found the perfect house, in the perfect area. I told my husband, who thought I was insane (Nothing new here — he loves that about me). There was only one issue: The owner was interviewing eight people who wanted the house. The negative voice came back, ‘You won’t get it.’ I ignored that voice and played with my daughter. While playing, I remembered that our corporate attorney lived in the same area. I thought about sending him an email. ‘That’s crazy,’ I thought. I ignored that and sent him the email anyway. I asked him if by chance he knew the owners. Ten minutes later he replied, “They are our best friends.”
We have been in NY since August. It hasn’t been easy or perfect. But it’s been right for our family.
It is such a blessing that we get to safely see our family, work from home and our daughter has the privilege of attending Shelter Rock Elementary where she is getting the social and emotional connection that she desperately needs as a 6-year-old.
Had I believed my head that told me this idea was crazy… Well, we would be under lockdown right now in LA with no school, unable to see our family.
I share all of this because I invite you to DOUBT YOUR DOUBTS about you, your family, your friends, and our world. When we look in the direction of what is possible — as opposed to what we think we know — miracles are possible. And right now, we could use a good old-fashioned miracle.