Your home for exploring philosophy with an emphasis on Buddhism and Stoicism. Part of this exploration will be taking on some of the more important issues that we are facing and providing alternatives to this Orwellian society.
How can you be damaged by people who don’t even know who you are?
They may have some cursory understanding of you, and yet they feel obliged to judge you, and instead of taking the high road they say or write disparaging things about you. These are the trolls of the internet, those who’s only purpose is to spew negative rhetoric about you. The trolls haven’t taken the time to learn about you, or digest your work with an open mind.
Remember they are not intellectuals, philosophers, or students of your work. You need to take the same attitude that Epictetus does and laugh at them and move on. These are not critics they are hate mongers and their feedback is not worthy of your consideration.
I only consider feedback from people that know me well. Life is too short to be absorbing negative messages from fools. Continue on with your good work and support those that have your best interests in mind. Remember those trolls and hate mongers can only cause damage if you let them.
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If you believe in the law of attraction and understand that what you think you become then read on, otherwise you are wasting your time by reading the rest of this post. I say that because if you don’t believe in the law of attraction what I’m about to explain becomes somewhat pointless.
In a recent post I wrote about how to stop reacting to life and begin controlling your thoughts to increase your level of happiness. I would like to think that what I’m about to say builds on this idea, refining and expanding upon it. If you believe that what you think about becomes your reality then you must make sure you are feeding your mind good thoughts. If you have a shred of introspection in your mind, you will begin to recognize when you go from good to bad thoughts and you can then begin to catch yourself steering your thoughts back into the right direction. It doesn’t take much to go from thinking good thoughts about things that make you happy to reversing it and becoming critical. We often obsess over problems we are experiencing and in doing so we have blocked the good thoughts from taking their place. Obsessing over perceived problems is one of the toughest negative thinking patterns to break.
I like this quote because this is your only way out of the negative thinking patterns that come from obsessing over problems.
There are basically two choices when it comes to creating that positive mindset that allow the law of attraction to work for you instead of against you.
Stop the negative pattern from appearing in the first place.
Using your ability to realize that you have slipped into a negative state of mind and replace it with positive thoughts.
Let’s take the first one. What are some ways we can stop the negative thinking pattern from occurring? Here are a few things to consider:
The best time to set the stage for your thinking is when you first get up in the morning. Remember the idea here is to put those good thoughts in your head so that they become the dominant things on our mind.
I find that yoga and meditation both are great ways to start your day on a positive note.
Maybe for you it is music or watching some uplifting YouTube videos like the one below:
What about the second scenario where you have already allowed the negative thoughts to become predominant? We would all prefer that this doesn’t happen, but let’s be realistic we all must learn to cope with the negative thinking pattern that now has control. Here are a few ways to overcome the negative thought pattern and turn it into a positive one:
First you must understand the damage that is being done. You have now set the law of attraction into motion attracting more negative thoughts. Remember what you think you become, so if you think negative thoughts you become negative and negative things are now being attracted to you. All I’m saying is you have sufficient motivation to change the way you are thinking.
The longer you wallow in your negative thoughts the greater the damage, so you need to start catching yourself as your thoughts go from positive to negative. These are the moments when you say to yourself, I wish I hadn’t said that or reacted that way. Recognize this is very good, because you are not only aware of the negative thought pattern, but you are putting yourself in the state of mind to change it.
Once you recognize you have negative thoughts pervading your mind then you need to do something immediately to limit the damage and turn things around. Tune into something that you love, which sometimes means removing yourself from the thing you are doing if possible. Here are few ways you can snap yourself out of the negative and tune yourself to the positive:
Get up and take a walk for 10-15 minutes, this alone will give you a chance to think about something else.
Take a break. They have done a lot of studies that say every 45-60 minutes you need to take a break from what your doing and give your mind and body a chance to recover.
Think about some of the things you really enjoy like music, people you love, hobbies, areas of interest, your dog or cat, sitting on a beach, walking on a wooded trail. Add to this list the things that make you feel good. Oh I almost forgot as you think about those things you enjoy, smile!
Think about something or someone you are grateful for. As you think about each thing you are grateful for really focus on it for a couple minutes. It’s tough to be negative when you feel grateful.
The law of attraction is a powerful reality and it responds to what you are thinking, so it is imperative that you spend the majority of your time focused on good thoughts. What you think about is a choice so choose wisely. Ultimately it is you that controls the world that you see. Control your thoughts and control your reality.
I have always felt that we have a lot more control over what we think than we give ourselves credit for. It is interesting to watch how we interact with each other. Often these interactions set the tone for our thoughts. For instance you approach me at work and say let’s go grab a cup of coffee. I ask you how are things are going with your project and you start telling me about how unreasonable your client is and how you don’t have any way to address their clearly unreasonable requests. I nod a few times sympathetically, and recall a similar situation I had with one of my own clients this week. What started as a cup of coffee turned into bitching session about our customers, with no one walking away feeling any better. This is not unusual in most organizations happening over and over. So what’s wrong with this? Wasn’t I being empathetic? Sure I was empathetic to my co-worker, but not to my customer and I did nothing to change the tone of the conversation from what was negative to something positive. This is a pretty simple example of how we get pulled into conversations and instead of really thinking about how to control our thoughts, we just react.
You might think well no damage done, but think again. You go back to your desk and now you are focused on a difficult customer or what a pain in the ass this job is. Your colleague walks away no better off from the interaction, in fact you may have just reinforced his ill will towards his client.
What if instead of reacting to what people are saying you just listen or maybe even better you remove yourself from the conversation all together. I know this sounds weird but if you or someone else is intent on taking time to turn things into a pity party then in the long run you are doing both of you a favor by cutting it short.
These reactions are not limited to discussions. Let me give you a few examples of how we often react to various events during the day:
Someone pulls in front of or cuts you off driving to work. You hit the breaks and give them the finger. Nice start to the day.
Watching the news in the morning I see that someone with an automatic rifle that killed 14 people in a mall somewhere in the United States or Europe. I don’t visibly react but I think to myself the world is a dangerous place, I had better be careful when I am out in public.
You get up in the morning and go to make a cup of coffee and find that your kitchen looks like it had been ransacked by intruders. You fire off some expletive using one of you children’s name, roommate, or spouse.
Well I just thought this was funny.
In any of these cases you are spending your time as some kind of reactionary organism where stimulus and response rules the universe. I would be the last person to say that you will ever gain complete control over your thoughts and the way to react or not to those things that are happening around you. In fact I think because we all have a tendency to do some of this; thus the need to be very careful about what we expose ourselves to. It would also be giving up to say that you have no control over how you react to the events you encounter each day. There are ways that you can stack the deck in favor of being a rationale being and not a reactionary fool. Here are few things you can do to go from reacting to thoughtful responses:
Condition your mind – Read inspirational books, watch YouTube videos, read positive affirmations, or meditate. Remember you are training your mind, putting good things in to create that positive mindset, which will offset some of the negative events of the day, by starting from the right mindset as your day begins.
Know your triggers – If driving to work in heavy traffic is absolutely killing you then, start earlier in the day when traffic is not as hectic or use an audio book or some other means to take your mind off it.
Avoidance – I’m a big fan of just not exposing yourself to things that I know may be negative. For instance I quit watching all cable news stations and even local news. My only exception would be a few minutes of CNBC to get some business news. Avoidance is a risk management technique where you put into place ways to completely avoid the risk altogether and it works pretty well for avoiding negative bullshit.
Take responsibility – Instead of blaming the world for how you react to events occurring around you, take responsibility for your reaction. Quit blaming everyone else for your poor behavior and attitude. You know deep down, it is you who chose to perpetuate negative thoughts, to be critical of others, to blame the world around you.
If and when you decide you can control how you think, then you will be in the top 10% who do not react, but instead control their thoughts. You will be one of the few that controls your own state of mind, and your happiness now becomes a decision not a reaction.
Over the past 6 months or so, I have been spending a good amount of time studying the Law of Attraction, including reading The Secret and watching countless Abraham Hicks videos on YouTube. I’m not sure why it took me so long to discover this theory, but it did. Put in the simplest of forms you can think of the law of attraction as:
What you think about you attract!
There is more to it than this, but let’s start here with whatever you are thinking about you are attracting. Maybe this is just simple psychology in the sense that if I am worried about something it is self-perpetuating and I worry about it more, or conversely if I am focused on something positive I become more positive. It is undeniable that if you are depressed you just get more of the same and if you are happy you feel this happiness, until you shift your emotions in another direction. According to the law of attraction that which I focus on is attracted to me.
Another way to look at the law of attraction is that if you want something, but wanting it may be the opposite of something you really dislike; you are in effect emitting both a positive and negative emotions. It is unlikely you will attract what you really want if you are focused on why you don’t want something else. You might view this as a one way street, your emotions and focus including how you feel must be on what you want, not on what you don’t want.
Have you ever had a job, where you are so focused on what you hate about it, that you can’t sleep at night, and you struggle to maintain any semblance of a positive attitude because you are so focused on what you dislike? This is the law of attraction working just as it should, giving you more of what you think about. I think the Buddha understood the law of attraction.
In the next post, I would like to spend a little time talking about how you make the law of attraction work for you as it beginning to work for me.