I went to Hawaii for a week, celebrating my nieces 1st birthday. In Hawaiian culture, the baby’s first birthday is a huge deal and a huge celebration. It was an amazing experience. Hawaii was also an amazing experience. It was my first time visiting.
I was relatively stressed the first two days because I brought my work with me. I had to write a book review, for a book that I finished while on the plane, the day that I arrived. The following day, I compiled a Q&A together for Curve Magazine. I said yes to doing that interview a few days before I left for vacation, knowing that the deadline fell in the middle of my vacation.
The following four days, I didn’t touch the internet and I started to relax. I also realized how negative my thoughts have been recently.
Thought is so powerful. It shapes our energy, our mind frame, our belief system, our habits, our actions. Thoughts shape the lives we lead, and we shape our thoughts, consciously or not.
The power of thought. It is such a simple concept that can be hard to implement. The first step is becoming aware of our thoughts.
I’ve been working hard for the past, it seems like months, trying to re-shape my life: add more focus, add more energy, change my mind frame, etc., etc.
While in Hawaii, I truly became aware of my thoughts and habits. My thoughts were toxic.
I started reading a book yesterday, one that my brother got in Hawaii, The Greatest Networker in the World. It’s an engaging, quick and enlightening read that I recommend to anyone. It’s written in first person narrative and the author describes how he was unhappy with his life, unsuccessful, stuck in a negative rut and about to give up on his job of being a business marketer. He went to an opportunity meeting, which he decided would be his last one. Then at that meeting he met the greatest networker in the world, and he changed his life.
The book follows his encounter with this man and the lessons he learned from him. At one point, the author was asking the greatest networker in the world what he meant when he talked about being, and the greatest networker in the world asked him, “Who are you?”
The author replied, “I’m the sum total of all the experiences I’ve ever had … all I’ve thought about me and those experiences … and all anybody’s ever told me about me and them.”
Here’s an excerpt continuing their conversation:
“Very good,” he said, with genuine enthusiasm, now clearly addressing me. “And do you know what all of that—your thoughts and the thoughts of others about you—adds up to?”
“My being?” I asked and answered at the same time.
“Close,” he said. “It’s what your sense of your being comes from … what creates how you be in any situation. It adds up to your habits of belief. What some people call your belief systems.
“I don’t say ‘belief systems,’ just because I don’t think people really understand that term. Most people think ‘systems’ are so complicated that they’re powerless to change them. Besides, I maintain that our beliefs are habits of thought we have. And because they are simply habits, we know how we got them–and how to change them, too.
“Habits,” he continued, “are things we think or do without conscious attention … without being aware of them. The moment we are aware of what we are thinking or doing, it’s no longer a habit. It’s a choice.
“So, can you see, we can change our habits by making conscious choices?” he asked.
“Yes,” I said, and I did see that very clearly.
“So,” he continued, “we have these habits of belief about ourselves, and the reason they are so important is that they control what we have, do and be in our lives.”
“Habits of belief are created the same way as any other habits–simply by doing the same thing over and over until you don’t think about it any more. That means, you can create a new habit the very same way.
“Think of it as a balance scale in our minds. One side is weighed down with all the talk and experiences that make up our predominant habits of belief. But we can change that, simply by adding enough ‘weight’ to the other side as we create new habits. Do you see what I’m talking about?” he asked, holding his hands out in front of him, palms up, moving up and down like the two sides of the scale.
I did. And I said so.
“Okay,” he said. “So, if you accept what I’ve said so far as if it were true, what’s the first question you’ve got?”
“How do you change the habit?”
“Replace it with a new one.”
“How’d you get the original?” he asked, then answered the question himself. “You got it by having a thought about what you believed. Then another. Then another, and another and another. Pretty soon, you didn’t have to add any more thoughts–your habit of belief was in place. You just kept it there, sustained it, reinforced it, every time you added some new input–some experience, something you said about that, something someone else said to you about it–that you agreed with or could be added to that existing habit of belief.”
“So,” I said, “you begin replacing your existing habit of belief–what did you call it, dominant … predominate?”
“Predominant,” he offered.
“Right. So you begin replacing your predominant habit of belief by adding new thoughts to the other side of the scale. Right?”
“Right,” he agreed. “What kind of thoughts?”
“Thoughts which are about the new belief you want to have.”
“YES!” he shouted.
Things I noticed while in Hawaii. My thoughts have been toxic. I was in the victim mindset and unaware of it. I was aware of a shroud of negativity and struggle, but I couldn’t define it or point to where it came from. While in Hawaii, I realized it came from my repetitive thoughts. I was unaware of them up until that point.
I also realized that because of that negative mind frame I was cultivating, I was also closing myself up and distancing myself to others and new opportunities.
I noticed simple, yet powerful changes since I’ve returned from vacation.
- I’m more open.
- I’m less in my head.
- I’m more talkative to acquaintances.
- While walking outside, I smile, say hello and make eye contact with strangers.
- I jogged for 40 minutes today on the treadmill. I lowered my pace to one considerably slower, but much more relaxing for long distances.
- I took time to stretch afterwards, and relaxed into it.
- Things that were stressing me, I didn’t put them off. I did them right away. I realized they weren’t that stressful, and really, I had no need to stress about them.
- I made some big decisions, with relative ease, and acted on them quickly.
- I’m more talkative and open with my goals, desires and feelings.
- I’m more loving towards myself. Negative thoughts I repeated to myself before I left for vacation, I’m no longer repeating to myself. I replaced them with complimenting thoughts.
- I’m happier.
Pay attention to your thoughts within this next hour. If you catch yourself thinking negatively, focus on it. Analyze those thoughts and ask yourself if you really want to believe what you’re telling yourself. If not, think about what you’d rather believe. Every time you catch yourself thinking that negative thought, stop yourself, and replace it with your new positive thought. Continue to do this, for the next moment, for the next 10 minutes, for the next hour, throughout this day. Continue to do it daily.
Emelina Minero writes for Curve Magazine and EDGE Gay Media Network. She’s working on launching her own progressive LGBTQ publication. She’s a Connection Connoisseur, Networking Maven and Self-Love Enthusiast. She founded Community Bucket List and co-founded the Love Warrior Community. Find her on Twitter, @CommKr8veWriter.