It’s been a while since I blogged. I’ve been quite busy and in all the right ways. I’ve also had so much personal growth, which continues to be a theme for me even after all the growth I’ve already had. I love my life. And it just keeps getting better. It feels funny in a bizarre sort of way because there are so many things I’m still struggling to find answers for or solutions to, but those are no longer the things that define me. Trauma used to, then my struggles, and now, what defines me is the joy in me. The joy I experience even on the hardest of days.
This weekend proved to me how far I’ve come. It was a great weekend with many parties and gatherings and I intentionally set out to question my own narratives and the meanings I’d ascribed to things and people. I questioned the narratives I was still clinging to and it turns out, they were bullshit narratives, just like I’d suspected them to be. They were narratives that mostly came from others that were abusive types and liars, which should have been my first clue not to listen. But I had because their abuse was louder than my own inner voice at that time. But as I cut them loose, I also began seeing those narratives as a problem. And I’ve been working years now to replace them. Some have been easier than others but this weekend, I ditched these last big problematic ones.
It’s a great thing to be filled with joy. Not the same as happiness. Joy is lasting and it rests at the base of all interactions, experiences, and day to day life tasks, everything… This joy grew out of my shift to a more positive-based thinking process, which does not include judgement about thoughts. Let me be clear…
After I wrote about positive thinking a few months back, I got some backlash with passive aggressive comments and posts about how being positive isn’t really possible or how positivity means ignoring sadness and other emotions that are hard. Which isn’t true.
The problem is that people assume negative thinking is bad and positive thinking is good. But both types can be problematic if we don’t take the time to stop and question the thought itself. What does this thought lead me to feel? How does it affect my behavior? When I’m talking about the joy I experience on a daily basis, it doesn’t mean I don’t have moments of sadness or a (now very small) moment of depression. It also doesn’t mean that I’m blind to reality and my lack of control over it.
Thinking positively during a job interview may raise my chance to get it but it certainly doesn’t guarantee me the job. In fact, it likely has very little to do with whether or not I get it. What it means, however, is that despite the job and whether or not I get it, I can still learn from the experience and I’m still living with a core of joy underneath the momentary struggle.
Our thoughts are powerful. More powerful than anything else inside us because our thoughts can cause us to be hypervigilant. They can cause us stomach aches and headaches and back or shoulder aches. Our thoughts can cause us to interpret a look someone has as a sign they don’t like us, when in reality, they may have an eyelash in their eye. Our thoughts can make us feel inferior or like an entitled ass, feeling that we deserve a promotion when we may not have earned one or… they can help us to move through the tough life experiences with humility and joy, even in the darkest of hours.
I’m not saying bad doesn’t exist or that humans should avoid unpleasant emotions, quite the opposite actually. I don’t think we should avoid any emotions but instead, question where they came from.
My internal questioning allowed me to be more open this weekend than I’ve been in my entire life. I didn’t let my thoughts drive the bus. I questioned my thoughts instead. And that is positive thinking. It’s just not the magical kind where woo woo coaches tell you to repeat x mantra 300 times and the promotion is yours (which falls into naive or esoteric thinking). It’s real positive thinking. Not the type of thinking that self-help books and new age books describe. I’m speaking about constructive thinking.
We have to think. We can’t shut that off. It is part of who we are and life requires thought. Ascribing meaning also applies to our thoughts, so being able to question our thoughts is necessary. We must look for evidence. And this weekend, the evidence I found was what I needed to let go of the broken narratives and lies I’d believed.
I felt pain this weekend. Each time I let go of a negative belief or thought, I felt pain. Yet at the bottom of all of it, I was still filled with joy the entire time. It was a beautiful weekend. I’m so grateful for all those I got to spend time with and all the broken beliefs I allowed to float away.