Feeling Good in 2014
by Jen Smith:
Greetings to all and Happy New Year! A very special heartfelt thanks to those of you who take the time to read my blog in support of my writing project. It would all be meaningless without you. As a quick update I would like to let you know that much editing has been done to SICK including a revised beginning and new ending. Now the book is off to the editor for even more revisions. The process and improvements are quite exciting!
I have been working very hard lately at keeping healthy positive thoughts in my head. It’s easy when things are going my way but very difficult when they are not, and when thing are not going my way, my thoughts can lead me to dark dangerous places. Recently someone I respect mentioned a book that they read a long time ago that had a profound effect on their ability to have healthier thoughts. The book is called ‘The Power of Positive Thinking’ by Norman Vincent Peale. I ran right out and bought it.
Know that this book does talk a lot about a reliance upon God and does quote the bible but it’s done in a non-preachy way tolerable to the non-religious types like myself. What is so awesome about this book is all of the practical, specific, easy to follow, suggestions on how to have positive thoughts. I have been practicing the suggestions and have noticed a significant difference in the way I’ve been feeling lately. I feel good, I feel hopeful, and I feel more love and compassion for my fellow man. This is good stuff. I’ll relay a couple of exercises that have worked for me.
I can get into episodes where I batter myself. In my mind I will point out my failures and where I perceive lack in ability. There is nothing more self-defeating than inner negative self-reflection. Stop it! Do not allow this to continue. Peale suggested a simple chant. “I can do all things through God who strengthens me” (revised to suit me) If I hadn’t been feeling particularly down the day I read this, I probably would not have had the willingness to try something that, on the surface, seemed rather trite in my opinion. I couldn’t believe the difference this little chant made! It truly helped me move from the dark place to something more productive and positive. Try it, I dare you. If you have found another way to escape self-defeating thoughts please comment and share it.
Later in the book there was a chapter titled, ‘How to get people to like you.’ I was surprised at the self-serving tone of this title but the chapter goes on to explain that we all need some people to like us in order to feel good, it just human nature. Of course we can’t go over board and expect everybody to like us that’s never going to happen, that’s when the character defect of people pleasing comes in. An area where I don’t suffer. I’m more at the other end of the spectrum, I need to put effort into considering others more. This chapter helped me do that.
I’m good at not judging people outwardly but I can still do it in my mind and I know this is not helpful and can spew negative energy. I saw a woman I know at an event recently and caught myself thinking negative thoughts about her in my head. I felt bad and wanted to change this. Consciously I searched for some positive things that I liked about her and went up to her and shared those things. Her somewhat uncomfortable look turned into a genuine smile. Her eyes grew brighter. It was so cool to watch! And the best thing about this experience was that the negative thoughts I had about her were gone, replaced by compassion and empathy. Wow! I was blown away. I no longer felt bad, I felt wonderful, and I helped her feel good too.
Peale recommends that we always take advantage of opportunities to compliment people and point out the good things about their character or accomplishments. This makes people feel good, everybody likes to feel good. And the benefit of lifting someone up is that they associate that positive feeling with you. I thought about the well liked people in my life that I admire and realized that they are masters at lifting others up. This takes work. It’s thinking of others, something that is honestly not in my nature as a self-centered alcoholic. But the rewards of feeling good are great, and working towards being a more positive influence on myself and others is the most important project I could possibly be working on!
May 2014 be filled with love and positive energy for you and your loved ones!