Two Ways to Quiet the Negative Voice Inside YOU

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

I receive a daily dose of inspiration from bestselling authors and coaches Marc and Angel Chernoff. Here’s an excerpt from a recent email:

Why do we think negatively when we know better?

Because thinking negatively, expecting “the worst,” seeing the downside of positive situations, and even downright expecting failure, all convey a kind of backwards-thinking, emotional insurance policy. It goes something like, “If I expect a tragedy, then I won’t be disappointed when it takes place.”

Of course, this is NOT what we truly want or need in our lives. So how can we stop talking ourselves into these thinking traps? Let’s take a look at two powerful ways to quiet the negative inner voice that leads us astray:

1. Start focusing on the grey area between the extremes.

Life simply isn’t black or white – 100% of this or 100% of that – all or nothing. Thinking in extremes like this is a fast way to misery, because negative thinking tends to view any situation that’s less than perfect as being extremely bad. For example:

• Rather than the rainstorm slowing down my commute home from work, instead “it wasted my whole evening and ruined my night!”
• Rather than just accepting the nervousness of meeting a new group of people, “I know these people are not going to like me.”

Since 99.9% of all situations in life are less than perfect, black and white thinking tends to make us focus on the negative – the drama, the failures, and the worst-case scenarios. Sure, catastrophes occur on occasion, but contrary to what you may see on the evening news, most of life occurs in a grey area between the extremes of bliss and devastation.

2. Stop looking for negative signs from others.

Too often we jump to conclusions, only to cause ourselves and others unnecessary worry, hurt, and anger. If someone says one thing, don’t assume they mean something else. If they say nothing at all, don’t assume their silence has some hidden, negative connotation.

Thinking negatively will inevitably lead you to interpret everything another person does as being negative, especially when you are uncertain about what the other person is thinking. For instance, “He hasn’t called, so he must not want to talk to me,” or, “She only said that to be nice, but she doesn’t really mean it.”

Assigning meaning to a situation before you have the whole story makes you more likely to believe that the uncertainty you feel (based on lack of knowing) is a negative sign. On the flip-side, holding off on assigning meaning to an incomplete story is a primary key to overcoming negative thinking. When you think more positively, or simply more clearly about the facts, you’ll be able to evaluate all possible reasons you can think of, not just the negative ones. In other words, you’ll be doing more of: “I don’t know why he hasn’t called yet, but maybe… he’s actually extremely busy at work today.”

Being able to distinguish between what you imagine and what is actually happening in your life is an important step towards living a happier life.

Note: I highly recommend subscribing to Marc & Angel’s website.


Circle of Love

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

In his book, Think Like a Monk, Jay Shetty provides the following insight on a verse from a well=known poem:

A well-known poem by Jean Dominique Martin says, “People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.” These three categories are based on how long that relationship should endure.

One person may enter your life as a welcome change. Like a new season, they are an exciting and enthralling shift of energy. But the season ends at some point, as all seasons do. Another person might come in with a reason. They help you learn and grow, or they support you through a difficult time. It almost feels like they’ve been deliberately sent to you to assist or guide you through a particular experience, after which their central role in your life decreases. And then there are lifetime people. They stand by your side through the best and worst of times, loving you even when you are giving nothing to them.

When you consider these categories, keep in mind the circle of love. Love is a gift without any strings attached. This means that with it comes the knowledge that not all relationships are meant to endure with equal strength indefinitely. Remember that you are also a season, a reason, and a lifetime friend to different people at different times, and the role you play in someone else’s life won’t always match the role they play in yours.

Source: Think Like a Monk by Jay Shetty, pp. 230-231


Our Thoughts Rule

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

I receive a daily dose of inspiration from bestselling authors and coaches Marc and Angel Chernoff. Here’s an excerpt from a recent email:

A puppy thinks: “Hey, these people I live with feed me, love me, provide me with a warm, dry home, pet me and take good care of me…

… THEY MUST BE GODS!”

A kitten thinks: “Hey, these people I live with feed me, love me, provide me with a warm, dry home, pet me and take good care of me…

… I MUST BE A GOD!”

Same situation, different thinking.

To a great extent, we make our own life stories by our thoughts. The reality we ultimately create is a process of our daily thinking. And when our daily thinking is right, our daily actions can’t be wrong in the long run.

Note: I highly recommend subscribing to Marc & Angel’s website.



Good Enough is Good Enough

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

I highly recommend The Gift: 12 Lessons to Save Your Life by eminent psychologist and Holocaust survivor Dr. Edith Eger. Here’s an excerpt that I like to read whenever I experience a writing block:

Often when we’re stuck it’s not that we don’t know what to do. It’s that we’re afraid we won’t do it well enough. We’re self-critical. We hold high standards. We want others’ approval—most of all, our own—and think we can earn it by being Superman or Superwoman. But if you’re perfectionistic, you’re going to procrastinate, because perfect means never.

Here’s another way to think about it. If you’re perfectionistic, you’re competing with God. And you’re human. You’re going to make mistakes. Don’t try to beat God, because God will always win.

It doesn’t take courage to strive for perfection. It takes courage to be average. To say, “I’m okay with me.” To say, “Good enough is good enough.”

Source: The Gift, pp. 143-144

5 Life Lessons People Often Learn Too Late

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

I’ve watched this thought-provoking video several times.

Enjoy!


Choose Yourself Today

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

A longtime fan of bestselling authors and coaches Marc and Angel Chernoff, I look forward to receiving their daily emails. Here’s a recent message that articulates the importance of self-love.

Ready to get real? There are certain people and situations that aren’t meant to fit into your life no matter how much you want them to. It’s tough to hear, I know, but maybe a happy ending doesn’t include anyone or anything else right now. Maybe it’s just you, on your own, picking up the pieces and starting over, freeing yourself for something more. Maybe a happy ending is simply letting go.

Do your best to let go — to be free. Don’t get to the end of this week and find that you lived only the length of it; live the width of it as well. When it comes to living as a passionate, inspired human being, the only challenge greater than learning to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes, is learning to walk a lifetime comfortably in your own. Follow your heart, and take your mind with you. When you are truly comfortable in your own skin, not everyone will support you, but you won’t care about it one bit.

In the end, loving yourself is about enjoying your life, trusting your own feelings, taking chances, losing and finding happiness, cherishing the memories, and learning from the past. Sometimes you simply have to stop worrying, wondering, and doubting. Have faith that things will work out, maybe not exactly how you planned, just how it’s meant to be.

This, of course, is much easier said than done. But please give yourself a chance.

You may have been beaten down by adversity, or sidetracked by rejection, but you are not broken. So, don’t let anyone or anything convince you otherwise. Heal yourself by refusing to belittle yourself. Choose to stand out, to do what you know in your heart is right at this moment. Choose to appreciate yourself for who you are, accepting your scars entirely and sincerely. Make self-love a daily ritual.

Truth be told, you won’t always be a priority to others, and that’s why you need to be a priority to yourself. Learn to respect yourself, take care of yourself, and become your own support system. Your needs matter. Start meeting them. Don’t wait on others to choose you.

Choose yourself today.

Note: I highly recommend subscribing to Marc & Angel’s website.

Become the Lake

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

In his bestselling book, Think Like a Monk, Jay Shetty shares the following story about the importance of perspective.

“What brings you to me?” asked an old, wise woman of the young man who stood before her.

“I see joy and beauty around me, but from a distance,” the young man said. “My own life is full of pain.

The wise woman was silent. She poured a cup of water for the sad young man and handed it to him. Then she held out a bowl of salt.

“Put some in the water,” she said.

The young man hesitated, then took a small pinch of salt.

“More. A handful,” the old man said.

Looking skeptical, the young man put a scoop of salt in his cup. The old woman gestured with her head, instructing the young man to drink. He took a sip of water, made a face, and spat it on the dirt floor.

“How was it?” the old woman asked.

“Thanks, but no thanks,” said the young man rather glumly.

The old woman smiled knowingly, then handed the young man the bowl of salt and led him to a nearby lake. The water was clear and cold. “Now put a handful of salt in the lake,” she said.

The young man did as he was instructed, and the salt dissolved into the water. “Have a drink,” the old woman said.

The young man knelt at the water’s edge and slurped from his hands.

When he looked up, the old woman again asked, “How was it?”

“Refreshing,” said the young man.

“Could you taste the salt?” asked the old woman.

The young man smiled sheepishly. “Not at all,” he said.

The old woman knelt next to the man, helped herself to some water and said, “The salt is the pain of life. It is constant, but if you put it in a small glass, it tastes bitter. If you put it in a lake, you can’t taste it. Expand your senses, expand your world, and the pain will diminish. Don’t be the glass. Become the lake.”

Source: Think Like a Monk by Jay Shetty, p. 218

Fail Trying, Don’t Fail Watching

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

This year, I decided to read daily inspirations from Bob Goff’s devotional, Live in Grace, Walk in Love. I found yesterday’s reflection inspirational and a call to action.

Before Bill Gates was one of the richest men n the world, he was a Harvard dropout with a failed business. He cofounded a business called Traf-O-Data. Have you ever heard of it? Of course not. Me neither. It was started in the 1970s, and this company generated reports about roadway traffic to help cities know where to put traffic lights or which roads need improving. It was far from a head turner. Here’s why it’s interesting. The company and its ideas crashed and burned.

Bill Gates was born with a gift, though, and he didn’t bury the gift just because his first attempt was a failure. He and his business partner learned from their mistakes, started Microsoft, and changed the world.

Failure tops the list of greatest fears for most of us. It’s vulnerable to put our passions into action because we can’t play it cool if it crumbles. If others see us go all in, they’ll certainly see us if we fail. We’ll be embarrassed, broke, and our friends might be awkward in the way they handle it all. What if they see that our best wasn’t enough? What if we hear that dark voice inside us again that says, You’re not enough?

We can’t win the game from the bleachers. We’ll never succeed unless we get out on the field and go for it. Whether it’s starting a business, putting music to your poems, or braving rejection from the girl who makes you lose your words, you won’t get the gold if you’re too scared to work the mine. God created you with unique gifts and ignited the passions He put in your heart for a reason—don’t let fear steal your opportunities and leave you on the sidelines wishing you’d tried. Do what you believe you were created to do. Is it possible it won’t work? You bet. Fail trying, don’t fail watching.

Source: Live in Grace, Walk in Love by Bob Goff, p. 6


Five Daily Reminders That Will Calm Your Life in 2021

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

I receive a daily dose of inspiration from bestselling authors and coaches Marc and Angel Chernoff. In yesterday’s email, they shared this advice:

NOTE TO SELF: It’s not what you say to everyone else that determines your life; it’s what you whisper to yourself that has the greatest power.

You know this is true. The happiness of your life greatly depends on the quality of your thoughts.

The mind is indeed your battleground. It’s the place where the greatest conflict resides. It’s where half of the chaos you thought was real, was completely fabricated. There’s no escaping the fact that you are what you think—that you can’t change anything if you can’t change your thinking.

The key, of course, is calming your mind…

As you begin each day in 2021, be mindful and take a second to think about what a privilege it is to simply be alive and healthy. Breathe onto the bathroom mirror just to see how amazing your breath looks. When you start a day in a mindful state like this, you can focus more effectively, step into the day on the right foot and carry the momentum forward.

Easier said than done on most days, but practice always helps. So, practice reminding yourself…

1. The problem is rarely the problem—the problem is the incredible amount of over-thinking and over-analyzing you’re doing with the problem.

2. Many people make themselves unhappy simply by finding it impossible to accept life just as it is presenting itself right now. You don’t have to be one of them.

3. Never force anything. Do your best, then let it be. If it’s meant to be, it will be. Don’t hold yourself down with things that are out of your control.

4. Learn to trust the journey, even when you do not understand it. Sometimes what you never wanted or expected turns out to be what you need.

5. RELAX. You are enough. You have enough. You do enough. Inhale. Exhale… let go, and just live right now in the moment.

Note: I highly recommend subscribing to Marc & Angel’s website.

Sharing a Christmas Poem: Amazing Peace by Maya Angelou

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

Maya Angelou read this beautiful poem at the White House Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in 2005. In it, she affirms the goodness of life and encourages us to embrace the peace and promise of Christmas.

Thunder rumbles in the mountain passes
And lightning rattles the eaves of our houses.
Flood waters await us in our avenues.

Snow falls upon snow, falls upon snow to avalanche
Over unprotected villages.
The sky slips low and grey and threatening.

We question ourselves.
What have we done to so affront nature?
We worry God.
Are you there? Are you there really?
Does the covenant you made with us still hold?

Into this climate of fear and apprehension, Christmas enters,
Streaming lights of joy, ringing bells of hope
And singing carols of forgiveness high up in the bright air.
The world is encouraged to come away from rancor,
Come the way of friendship.

It is the Glad Season.
Thunder ebbs to silence and lightning sleeps quietly in the corner.
Flood waters recede into memory.
Snow becomes a yielding cushion to aid us
As we make our way to higher ground.

Hope is born again in the faces of children
It rides on the shoulders of our aged as they walk into their sunsets.
Hope spreads around the earth. Brightening all things,
Even hate which crouches breeding in dark corridors.

In our joy, we think we hear a whisper.
At first it is too soft. Then only half heard.
We listen carefully as it gathers strength.
We hear a sweetness.
The word is Peace.
It is loud now. It is louder.
Louder than the explosion of bombs.

We tremble at the sound. We are thrilled by its presence.
It is what we have hungered for.
Not just the absence of war. But, true Peace.
A harmony of spirit, a comfort of courtesies.
Security for our beloveds and their beloveds.

We clap hands and welcome the Peace of Christmas.
We beckon this good season to wait a while with us.
We, Baptist and Buddhist, Methodist and Muslim, say come.
Peace.
Come and fill us and our world with your majesty.
We, the Jew and the Jainist, the Catholic and the Confucian,
Implore you, to stay a while with us.
So we may learn by your shimmering light
How to look beyond complexion and see community.

It is Christmas time, a halting of hate time.

On this platform of peace, we can create a language
To translate ourselves to ourselves and to each other.

At this Holy Instant, we celebrate the Birth of Jesus Christ
Into the great religions of the world.
We jubilate the precious advent of trust.
We shout with glorious tongues at the coming of hope.
All the earth’s tribes loosen their voices
To celebrate the promise of Peace.

We, Angels and Mortals, Believers and Non-Believers,
Look heavenward and speak the word aloud.
Peace. We look at our world and speak the word aloud.
Peace. We look at each other, then into ourselves
And we say without shyness or apology or hesitation.

Peace, My Brother.
Peace, My Sister.
Peace, My Soul.