“You’d never invite a thief into your house, so why would you allow thoughts that steal your joy to make themselves at home in your mind.”
It all starts in your mind.
When we wake up in the morning, something goes through our head. It is the definition of consciousness. We have an awareness of thought. Can you think of the first thought that you have in the morning? Can you plan a different thought? Is there a thief in the front room of your mind?
Manuel (Manny) was World War 2 veteran. Every time I encountered Manny he would tell me: “Every day is a good day.” Manny had his flaws, but this frame of mind was revealed in Manny’s disposition. When you saw Manny coming, a smile came to your face.
Colleen is my neighbor. Every time I encounter Colleen I duck. I don’t want to, she is elderly and lonely and needs healthy interactions. When I encounter Colleen, she doesn’t have a happy face or greeting, she typically accuses me of leaving the garage door open, or moving her stuff, sometimes even accusing me of stealing what she has misplaced.
I wonder what characters lived in their minds. I imagine Manny kicked the thieves out and Colleen served them coffee and dessert.
Let’s start small. I have a full blown mental inventory exercise that I will write on in the future, but let’s just kick that first thief out of our mind. Write down the first thoughts in your head every morning for two weeks. Recognize how they impact your attitude, demeanor, performance, motivation, and self image.
Pick a new thought to start the day. It could be a Bible verse, an affirmation, a gratitude, a quote – anything that is uplifting or motivational. Before you go to bed, write the affirmation on a card and put it on your bedside table. First thing in the morning, read the card. Don’t argue with the card. Read it out loud, with emotion.
Do this for two weeks, then pick a new phrase or repeat the one you have used. Evaluate the difference and then expand your campaign to rid your mind of thieves.
Here are some suggestions for your index card:
- This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it (Psalm 118:24)
- Every day is a good day (Manny)
- I am grateful for my life, partner, family, home, car, job, etc. (pick one or many)
- The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts
You may have your own ideas or phrases, if you want, glean them from your reading, your Bible or other sacred text, or just Google “positive affirmations.” Beware of the lists, they tend to be corny, edit them to match your personality and worldview.
Whatever you do, kick the thieves out of your mind.