Spring is here and it’s time to clean house. I’m not talking about mopping the floors and scrubbing the bathtub, though I probably should do that too; right now I need to clean out the cobwebs from my mind. With a particularly tough year behind me, I’m going to need a really good broom!
The mind is a very powerful tool that greatly shapes your reality. Every once in a while it’s a good idea to evaluate what thoughts you’ve been allowing to rent space in your mind. The first step is to become aware of what you are thinking. A few years ago, when I first started reflecting on this I was surprised by how many of my thoughts were self-criticisms. My thoughts indicated that I was focusing on my past mistakes and how much of an ‘idiot’ I was for making them. And if it wasn’t self-criticism, then it was doubt. Not only was I living in the past, but I was also anxious about the future, and the unpredictable change it would bring. So where did that leave me? Not present, that’s for sure. And without focus on the present, I was powerless to my world. It’s no wonder that I soon found myself sick, unhappy, and desperate for change.
One of the greatest tools you can use to reprogram your mind is affirmations. It’s a practice of repeating mantras over and over until they become an automatic internal response. At first, I felt like a freak doing this, but as I said, I was desperate for a change, and I soon saw it. Saying affirmations seemed phony in the beginning, but the more I said them, the truer they became. I did the mental work, I changed my thought patterns and I watched my reality change before me.
Some thought patterns are harder to change than others, and when you stop paying attention to your thoughts for a while, the old messages can begin to play again. Especially ‘sticky’ are those messages learned from birth to 3 years. When you’re a child, you are a sponge to all sorts of information that has a huge impact on how you see yourself and function in the world. However, any message you’ve ever taken in is only as powerful as you allow it to be. Any thought or belief can be changed if you’re open to it and if you’re willing to do the mental work.
Though you can’t be accountable for all of the messages that come your way, you are accountable for what you let stay with you. I’ve come far from where I used to be, but I still have a long way to go. With this next round of spring-cleaning, I will be letting go of more unwanted baggage. I will replace thoughts of fear with trust and enthusiasm, thoughts of criticism with love and acceptance, and above all, I will ensure that among all of the voices that affect my mind, mine is the loudest.