Should Addictions be Broken?
If you’re talking about an unhealthy addiction to mind-altering chemicals or counter-productive negative thinking and speaking, then of course those addictions should be broken. If you’re talking about a habit of being thankful in all situations than of course you should do all you can to strengthen that habit. Gratitude is a well spring of life.
Speaking of breaking and addiction, it’s one thing to stop doing something unhealthy that you’re addicted to, but it’s entirely different to stay stopped.
Now that I’ve shared the steps I use to help chase away habitual negative thoughts, let me share three choices that I try to make to keep my negative thinking habit from returning.
Avoid being addicted to negative thoughts.
1 – I choose to ask questions and not make assumptions.
When people do or say things to us or about us, we automatically assume we know what these people are thinking or intending. We don’t. We can only learn the truth by asking questions and seeking clarification.
Asking questions helps me to not make assumptions or take things personally. It also helps to remember that criticism usually says more about the criticizer than about the criticized.
If I forget this and assume I know what someone meant, it’s easy for me to take things personally and feel angry and sorry for myself. “They don’t like me, or they’re out to get me,” and other thoughts like that can fill my head – all examples of negative thinking.
It’s not coincidence that in the dictionary the word assume is spelled: ASS-U-ME. In other words, assuming stuff makes an ass out of you and me, at least in the mind of the one doing the assuming. That’s too perfect to be an accident.
2. Don’t take anything personally. Sometimes it is difficult, but remembering that what people say to you says more about them than it says about you is the best way to keep from letting what people say hurt you. Remembering this makes it easier to not take what they say personally.
For many years my speech impairment made me feel so uncomfortable, I felt as if I was the only guy at a bridal shower. After I got out of the hospital, I began to assume that all “normal” speaking people thought I was a mental case because of my speech impairment. This was particularly disturbing since I enjoy talking so much.
Keeping my mouth shut was the wrong option. By assuming I knew what people were thinking and that they were thinking derogatory things about me, I felt angry, depressed, and just plain miserable, until I learned my most important rehab gained lesson:
3. Focus on and be thankful for what I have instead of fretting about what I don’t have. If or when I’m actively feeling grateful for what I do have, it is nearly impossible for me to feel bad about what I don’t have.
Because I never asked what they were thinking, or if they were thinking about me at all, I’ll never know if they even knew I was around.
It’s entirely possible that all the negative emotions I was feeling were entirely of my own creation. One valuable lesson my journey taught me is to not assume that I know what other people think of me.
Rehabilitation taught me other useful lessons.
For example, stumbling around the block while holding my cane off the ground, repeating words and phrases into a tape recorder, learning to tie my shoes with one hand, and holding my water till I reach the bathroom, all taught me the same lesson: success is closest when my hope for tomorrow’s victory is more important than my memory of today’s failure.
As I hobbled around the block holding my cane off the ground, my dream of one day walking without a cane kept me going. If my head had been full of memories of the time I fell and had to get several stitches in my eyebrow, I probably would have stayed sitting on the porch.
Look on the Bright Side
Having a poor memory can actually be a good thing. At least I had to buy only one CD. My memory used to be so bad that once I forgot I was paralyzed. I was walking normal – until someone reminded me I was paralyzed. “Oh yeah, thanks,” I said, beginning to limp again.
Relearning to drive convinced me of another powerful choice. What you believe about yourself and your potential is more important than any limitations people say you have.
We’ll continue this discussion in our next article where we’ll talk about how steps 2 and 3 keep our negative thoughts from returning.
Keynote Speaker Al Foxx provides thoughtful messages that includes plenty of humor.
Contact him the next time you need a speaker