An oddly accurate analogy
Twenty four hours a day, our minds create thoughts. All day every day without ceasing. We might get a little break when we’re sleeping, but if we have dreams, those are the results of our minds still thinking thoughts.
Lists, memories of past conversations, worries for the future, ponderings over what letters we’re going to get in our Words With Friends game. Our minds never cease in this creative process.
We never run out of space in our brains to create new thoughts and this begs the question,” What happens to those old thoughts after we have them?”
Thoughts and dinosaurs
Here’s my theory. I think old thoughts are like dinosaurs. They pile up. They age. They turn into fossil fuels and then we use them again later (sometimes years later) to power new thoughts.
Sometimes, this works great. Like when we have a fabulously creative idea for a new story, but then forget about it till something in our world reminds us we had that idea. The old thoughts rush back to power up that new creation all over again.
Or perhaps we see someone new in the coffee shop and wonder what life would be like if they truly were The One. Then they leave and we go back to drinking our beverage. A week later we see that same person and those memories return. This time our new thoughts receive a boost of energy from our old thoughts and we work up the courage to introduce ourselves.
Our old thoughts and our new thoughts combine to give us enough energy to step outside our comfort zone.
Negative thoughts work the same way.
We all know that we have less than positive thoughts sometimes. So what happens to those?
The answer is; it depends.
If we have an angry reaction to a story on Medium, do we really want that negative thought to take over our day?
Surprisingly, that’s exactly what many people allow to happen. They read a story, think negative thoughts about it, and memories of similar awfulness flood their minds.
So these folks wind up filling their days with anger. That rage is fueled by their old thoughts which are now supporting their new thoughts. Their days burn to the ground.
I’m a pretty positive person and even so, I have negative thoughts. I don’t want those interfering with my life so I developed a plan to take care of that negativity. I have no desire to burn any of my days to the ground. I have better things to do with my time.
Here’s what I do.
When I create a negative thought, I acknowledge that I did. By acknowledging that I created it, I accept my power over it. That’s a big deal. I used to spend my days spinning out of control because I had a negative thought in reaction to something I had read.
It seemed that one negative thought would seek out more ugliness in the world. Soon everything in my life was awful. It was almost as if I had no control over this process and was being carried away in a tsunami of awfulness.
Really big lose. Lose.
Acknowledge and accept.
Acknowledging that I had created that negative thought in the first place, and accepting that I had the creative power to do so meant I was free to create something better and concentrate on that.
In retrospect, this idea sounds simple. When you’re living through it, it’s anything but simple.
We all have favorite memories that make us feel good when we think about them. When I have negative thoughts, I deliberately turn my attention to one of my favorite positive memories.
I think about that memory until it fills my entire mind and there is no room left for negative thoughts. I create a better feeling for myself.
Neither the reactive negative thought I had nor the positive thought I choose to think changes the outside world. But my thoughts change my world, and that’s what counts.
Many people have striven diligently to convince me I should pay more attention to negativity than positivity. But my thoughts are mine to create, and I get to choose what to make from my life.
My old negative thoughts are still there, like undiscovered fields of fossil fuels. But I do not need to seek them out, dig them up, and allow them to overtake my life. As far as I’m concerned, they can stay buried forever because I don’t need them. I can power my days with the energy of positive thoughts. I suspect almost anyone can.
They just need to want to win, win more than they want to settle for lose, lose.