There I was, fresh out of a less than desirable situation that I’ll likely remember for years to come. I found myself obsessing over it, ruminating if you will, like someone who had nothing better to do with their time. The thoughts were spinning around in my head as if they were on a bad carnival ride that felt like it was never going to end. It was anything but productive towards the bigger picture of what I envision for my life, and yet, knowing this didn't seem to make a difference. I replayed the scenario in my mind going over every detail as I let the negativity spiral about how I had been wronged and what I could have done differently to change the outcome. So I remain a victim, but of my own mind...
Does this sound familiar? For many of us, this happens all too often throughout our lives. We give away our power and allow a person or a situation to negatively impact us in a way that, in the grand scheme of things, doesn't matter a whole lot anyway. We get distracted from what we should be focusing our attention on by something that doesn’t serve us. We let what we can’t control dictate our thoughts, feelings and actions instead of focusing on the one thing we can control – ourselves.
Many years ago before I considered myself a reader, I began reading books by author Robin
Sharma starting with "The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari." I don't typically remember a whole lot about every book I read, capturing bits and pieces to store in the back of my mind, but there is a particular line in this book that speaks to the point I'm trying to make. To paraphrase, it says that our mind is like a garden, full of so much potential and beauty. But like every garden, it can be
taken over with weeds if we don't cultivate it and protect it. The negativity in our lives, whether it be thoughts, situations or people, are the weeds that will take over our garden if we let it. While I've never forgotten that metaphor, admittedly sometimes the weeds do get the best of me. Thankfully, every day is a new opportunity to do better than the day before!
When it comes to how other people influence us, we waste far too much of our lives worrying about it - what people did; what they're doing; how they made us feel; their successes; their downfalls. If we took all that energy and instead focused on our own circumstances and our own mind, doing what we need to do to get where we want to go, who knows what we might actually accomplish. Easier said than done, I know, but here are a few tips that can help you on your way to maintaining your own internal garden:
1. Take a break from social media. Instead of looking at other people’s highlight reels or thinking of the next thing to post, just live your life for the sake of living instead of for the purpose of putting it on display. I recently made the decision to deactivate my Facebook account for a while and I feel really good about it.
2. Journal every day. This one practice has helped me so much in my life. I find when I get off track with life it’s often around the time I’ve let go of this daily habit. Record your wins, your thoughts, your hopes & dreams, and end every entry with 3 things you’re grateful for. You’ll be surprised what a difference focusing on the positives can have – after all, what we focus on expands.
3. Start your day off right with a routine that sets your day up for success. For me, that means reading a book that adds tangible value to my life and businesses. For you, that could look like taking a walk, exercising or meditating. How your day starts has a considerable impact on how your day progresses.
Remember, thoughts lead to feelings which lead to actions. Start working on your mind and the rest will follow.