I do it. You do it. We all do it, but we shouldn’t.
Thoughts pop into my head without permission. I tell myself awful things and worse, I believe them. I speak to myself in harmful tones and destructive ways that I would never speak to others in. Why? Why do we do this?
“I think. Therefore, I am.”
–Descartes, father of modern philosophy
The fact that we can think, reflect on the past, imagine the future, even to be conscious of our own consciousness is what distinguishes humans from all other animals. When we reflect and so often regret the past, imagine and so often fear the future, it traps us and pulls us out of the NOW. The ‘now’ is a healthy place we should all be striving to spend our days in. But it’s very difficult to do all the time. When I’m not living in my ‘now’, I don’t hear my family’s needs because I’m preoccupied fighting a battle within.
I started having unkind thoughts toward myself in my pre-teen years. It was about 5th or 6th grade when I started living in my head. Instead of just being a kid, I started comparing myself to the other girls around me.
I was not skinny enough, popular enough, cool enough, funny enough, interesting enough…pretty enough. My brain would say things like ‘If only your family was not poor you would fit in more’ or I would look at Shelly Love (the most popular girl at my Jr high when I was in 7th grade) ‘If my hair looked like hers or if I had Jordache Jeans, then I would be popular’. Of course, it’s easy as an almost 47-year-old to look back on this and see how silly it was but it was real and that was the world I was living in then.
Jordache Jeans were the key to my popularity. If only I had a pair all my troubles would vanish. I would fantasize about how cool I would be on the day I showed up to school in my Jordache Jeans. The whole school would bow down to me and vote me the coolest kid in all the world and everyone would stumble all over each other trying to be my friend.
I was eleven. I had no job, I had no money. My mom, a single mother was doing it tough making ends meet raising five of us on her own. So Christmas was my only hope for these designer jeans.
It’s Christmas 1983 and all I asked for was a pair of Jordache Jeans. I didn’t want anything else…one pair would suffice. If I had that designer label on my back pocket, the rest my life would be trouble free. FOREVER! I drove my family crazy with talk of Jordache Jeans.
It was hard for my mom to find the time to get all the Christmas presents wrapped. Our tree was usually bare until she would see the worry in her children’s eyes. Was this the year we were going without? We were reminded often about how tight money was. I learned that statement before I even knew what it actually meant. If money was tight, then why do they always talk about loose change?
I know my mom sacrificed sleep get our presents wrapped and under the tree. She had a full-time job in town. She rode the bus until a parking spot came up that she rented monthly. She worked, cooked dinner then crashed, never had time to clean. Homework and school reminders were left up to us. She was always stressed, low on energy and I recall how she lost her smile during those years too.
We woke up one morning a few days before Christmas and the presents appeared under the tree. Phew! Excited, we rushed under the tree to look at the tags, showing each other their presents and each having a guess by feeling them through the paper before mom came in to tell us off.
I found out the truth about Santa Claus only the year before. I was ten. It was Christmas morning and we were unwrapping presents. My mom and older sister were having fun watching us younger kids open our presents. Excitedly, I asked them “How can Santa really get around the whole world in one night?” They looked at each other and said: “What do you think?” It was just a throwaway comment. I didn’t mean to change my world with the words I said next. Shrugging my shoulders, I said, “Maybe not.” Then my sister said “You’re right. So who do you think leaves out the presents?” I stopped and looked at them. “What? Are you telling me the rumors are true? It’s the parents?” I looked at my mom. “Yes, honey it’s the parents.” I felt like crying but they told me its a secret and I needed to keep it for my little brother and sister. I looked over at them unwrapping presents their faces full of wonder. I was sad. I felt robbed of my wonder. Then I asked who ate the cookies.
The next Christmas was not the same after finding out about Santa, but when we were touching all the presents under the tree, I came across one that was the right jean shape, right jean weight and after further braille examination, a jean pocket. My belief in Christmas returned in a flash. I felt my jeans! My Jordache Jeans! They were mine! I quickly put the present back and walked away with the biggest smile on my face. I didn’t care about any of the other presents.
The next day when no one was looking, I double checked again because my mind had convinced me that they were for someone else. I confirmed the present definitely had my name on it. It just felt too good to be true. I couldn’t remember feeling more excited for Christmas morning in my life!
I was always the first to wake on Christmas (still am, I wake my kids). I woke everyone up and waited as patiently as I could. I thought I was going to explode with excitement.
My mom handed me little presents to open. I opened them and thanked her for them. Then finally she hands me the package I have been waiting for. I rip it open with so much excitement. It all came flooding out. The seel was broken. I saw jean color. I jumped up with excitement! “My Jordache Jeans!” I shouted. “No”, mom said, “I could get two pairs of Lee jeans for the price of one pair of Jordache Jeans.” Silence. It must have been my face because I made my mom cry on Christmas morning. I quickly tried to cover my tracks. “Oh yea, two is better than one.” She offered to return them to get the one pair of Jordache Jeans but I said no, that I was happy with my two pairs of Lee jeans. I was not going to ever be the most popular kid in the world but I knew how to make my own mother happy on Christmas.
Today you can buy Jordache Jeans at Wallmart for $28.
If you can’t master your thoughts, you are in trouble forever. Surrender…still our minds.
We need to stop listening to what we tell ourselves. We need to control our thinking…It’s not an easy task but if you work at it, like anything you can perfect it. Our mind is trying to take over our body. We need to control our thoughts so we don’t have that internal pull between our body and brain. They must get along to have harmony within. When my mind starts pushing me around I stop and ask myself this question. Who is really thinking this? This is my own little strategy to find out what the ‘real’ is.
Thoughts Are Things.
They can have a positive and negative effect on you.
Thoughts are things that can turn into depressed, angry, frustrated, lonely, disappointed, fearful, worried, sad, and doubtful- know the impact that your thoughts can have on you.
On the positive side, some thoughts can make you smile, laugh out loud, feel a sense of pride, cause you to relax, or make you feel confident.
Our thoughts directly control how you are feeling at any given moment – regardless of whether you are consciously aware of it or not.
The internet is full of advice. We should meditate daily, observe our thoughts, cultivate space between thoughts, learn to stop your thoughts, identify your negative thoughts, find the lie within and rewrite it to a truth and the old classic live in the now…
I think all of it has merit. Do what works for you. I don’t meditate like I should. I have not done yoga in weeks (and before that it was months). But I see a real benefit in stopping my negative thoughts. I am constantly telling my children to talk kinder to each other. My siblings and I grew up were awful to each other. It’s funny how because we feel comfortable with each other, we say things we wouldn’t say to a friend or acquaintance and we do it worse to ourselves.
Awareness is a true gift. When you become aware of how you feel, act and think then you have the power to change it.
Often we don’t even realize that we have lost ourselves. A few years ago when my kids were younger and really needed me, I was telling myself that my kids were better off without me. I was a nuisance to all around me. How crazy is that! A child is NEVER better off without their mother unless that mother is hurting the child. Now that I have my wits about me it seems totally insane and you know what it was. It is. I was not in a happy place in me.
When I’m not in my happy place, it spills out onto my family. For the sake of my family, I need to be kinder to myself. Gentle to myself and learn to control my thoughts. I don’t want any negativity living in my body because it chases away my muchness.