If you could choose to be a master (or mistress) of any skill in the world, which skill would you pick?
I would choose the skill of controlling my own tongue.
Of course, in order to do that I need to control my thoughts, so maybe that’s a better choice.
So much of the trouble my clients bring to me is centered on a very negative thought-life. What we think about motivates and controls what we say, what we do, how we feel. I’ve had clients say to me, “But I can’t control the thoughts that come into my head!”
Well, maybe not. But you certainly can control whether or not you allow those thought to stay; whether or not you feed them and let them grow into monsters in your mind. I often compare thoughts to a thief. You can’t stop a thief from casing the neighborhood. You can’t stop him from knocking at your front door. But you don’t have to invite him, and you don’t have to give him lunch. You don’t have to invite him to stay overnight, giving him the opportunity to rob you blind.
We put safety devices on our home, alarms that tell us someone has tried to enter who doesn’t belong there. We have similar devices on our cars. But we do very little to safeguard our thinking, believing that we can’t control that. Yes, we can. Everything we allow into our heads influences our thought life.
If a little child watches a horror movie, what is the likelihood that he’s going to have a bad dream that night? What is the possibility that he will develop an irrational fear of, say, monsters in the closet? We try to protect our children from things that will be an adverse influence on them. We need to do the same with our own thinking.
If, for instance, a man watches pornography and thinks that doing so won’t influence the way he thinks about his wife, or about women in general, he is delusional. Of course his thoughts and imaginations will be influenced! Similarly, if a woman fills her mind with stories about women who are dissatisfied in their marriages and find happiness in an affair, then her thinking is going to be influenced as well.
You don’t think what we see, hear, or read has any effect on us? Really? Then think about this. The fashion industry promotes a new line of clothing, creating a market for styles that, in many instances, are just not very flattering to anyone but the six-foot tall skinny model who shows them off. Nevertheless, women flock to the stores to purchase the latest trend. If some fashion guru says navy blue is the hot color this season, then millions of women go out and buy navy blue clothing. On some, it looks great. There are others, however, who should NEVER wear navy blue because it just doesn’t flatter their skin tones. Doesn’t matter, though. The guru has spoken, and our thinking is strongly influenced by his/her dictates. Millions of dollars are spent to grease the wheels of the fashion industry, and it’s all generated by said industry telling us what we ought to wear. Our thinking is influenced, and so is our behavior.
Wow. This has come a long way ’round, hasn’t it?
Maybe I’d better stop.