A wise one once said “As a man thinketh, so he is.”
How do our thoughts affect how we feel and how we behave?
Imagine the following scenario. You had a bad day at work and you thought maybe you’ll feel better after a nice herbal cup of tea before you head home. So you head to you favorite coffee shop. As you pull the glass door open a large group sitting at one of the tables explode in laughter while at same time looking in your direction. What is the first thing that comes to mind?
Will you think “I must look stupid. They are laughing at me.”
Will you think “Life is great! See! People are laughing and having a good time. There is more to life than a disgruntled supervisor.”
Now try to imagine the feeling that goes with each one of these statements.
I believe that we all share the propensity for being self-conscious and being concerned about how others view and perceive us. Even famous actors, comedians, and musicians have admitted having butterflies in their stomach when they had to give a speech or be the focal point of a public event. Fame, wealth, and other positive assets may alleviate the discomfort to a certain extent, but self-consciousness is never altogether eliminated. Many an eminent and distinguished individual have committed suicide rather than face the shame of failure out of self-consciousness. Rich and poor are equally subject to this human trait. Our thinking, or rather our way of processing our thinking is what makes the whole difference. The way we process our thoughts makes the difference between feeling content and maybe even happy, and feeling miserable.
A friend shared a quote on Facebook that I found so wise and inspiring. It said “You either get bitter or you get better. It’s that simple. You either take what has been dealt to you and allow it to make you a better person, or you allow it to tear you down. The Choice does not belong to fate. It belongs to you.”
I try hard to apply what I preach, and more often than not I am able to circumvent the automatic negative thoughts by reasserting my higher self –the part of the self that is God-aware. And I reaffirm the choice to serve God and not Satan.
To elaborate and demonstrate how our thoughts can lead to how we feel and how we act I am citing this example: As a brown-skinned individual and because racism and ethnocentrism are still part of the American fabric, there are times where I feel sensitive to the way a clerk at a store, a cashier, or a sales person interacts with me. On those occasions there is at times a voice in my head that start whispering all kinds of petty thoughts if the interaction is less than respectful. Thoughts such as “He/she is looking down on me.” “They ignore me because I am not white”, or other thoughts along the same line make their way to my head. Defensiveness sometimes takes over, and even a rude or mean remark out of the instinct of self-protection or as an attempt to compensate or retaliate may ensue.
Lucky for me, I am serious in my decision that I’d rather spend eternity in paradise with God than with Satan in hell, I am able to recall God’s commandments “Do unto others as you want done unto you.” and I remember Jesus’ famous utterance as he was about to be crucified “Forgive them Lord, for they know not what they are doing.” That seems to work every time as if by magic. And I feel better.