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Monday, April 27, 2009

Remote Control vs Magic Wand

Written by Deb

Seems a lot of my problems with other people, with life, with my family, can all be fixed with a simple change in my thinking... altering my perception. Sounds easy enough, doesn't it? After all, didn't I read somewhere that recognizing I have a problem is half the battle? Well, I recognize plenty, and I have even gone so far as to figure out what new thoughts could be implemented to bring about more peace, self-acceptance and less stress in my life. There's only one small problem: I don't know how to change the channel in my brain. 

The thoughts that I currently have are so ingrained in my head, I don't really even realize when I am thinking them. On top of that, on the rare occasion I can stop and recognize that I am engaging in destructive thought, it only magnifies the thought! I'll be sitting here, literally thinking, "Oh now Deb, that's not a healthy thought. You know that you really don't want to lock your oldest son in a sound-proof cage. You need to just count to 95 the next time you two get into it. You really do love him." 

Well, now, the visualization of the cage and me throwing away the key just gets more vivid. Next thing I know, I am even more mad, having to waste so much of my brain power on trying to restrain myself from killing my child.

It doesn't seem fair that self-improvement is so much work. It would be nice if just realizing I need to change would result in the desired improvement. But, as we all know, it doesn't work that way. So how does it happen? Meditation? Prayer? Tie a ribbon around my finger? 

I am all about the handing it over to God approach, but I see a couple of problems with that. One, I have already assigned him a couple of long term projects that he's working on, and two, I kind of subscribe to that whole "God helps those who help themselves" thing. I think the actual changes in my thought and behavior rest squarely on my shoulders. 

I think a lot of people probably don't have this problem, because they aren't neurotic, like I am. I am inside of my head way too much, turning things over, analyzing everything. Even this.

So... Where is that damn magic wand when I need it? 


  1. Oh and here I thought this was gonna be a man (remote control) vs woman (magic wand) post. I guess my mind is a weeeeee bit into the gutter this morning.

    I think a lot of people get carried away in their negative thoughts. When you start thinking them.. replace it with a postive one..

    You can go from.. "My son is driving me crazy.. why can't he leave me alone".. to "but his smile brightens my day and I love the way he snuggles next to me"

    Then you only might have to count to 86.

    I've recommended "You Can Heal Your Life" by Louise Hay to lee. It might be something you could read. She teaches the power of positive thinking and how to apply it daily. It really has changed my life

  2. You know you're preaching to the chior on this one, my dear.

    When you find your magic wand, would you mind looking around the general area for my desired crystal ball? Thanks, you're a peach :-)

    (off to Amazon to check out "You Can Heal Your Life" - thanks dizzblnd!)

  3. It's very hard to change our thought processes, since they most often are ingrained and just "are". We don't think about them.

    I work on it everyday, and some days, it all goes to hell in a hand basket (not sure what that means, but I like it), and other days, it all works out, and all my negativity flies out the door, and I feel like June Cleaver in a good way.

    Just take it one day at a time, and don't be hard on yourself.

  4. You are not alone. I think I'm going to try the ribbon thing. Baby steps, you know.

  5. I, too, would like to know where to purchase that wand! When you find out, please share!


  6. I think all people over-think, or maybe I over thought that one too....hum. Anyway, you are not alone chica, I think the key is to keep it in your brain or share with friends in a laughing matter, and remember to take it easy. Even though you want to throw away the key, you most likly won't...and that is half the battle-not following through with the bad thoughts!

  7. Wow - you're speakin my language girl.

    Everytime I start going down a bad road I try to interrupt myself and simply say "God is good. God is good. God is good." over and over again. However, I totally know what you mean when you say sometimes your thoughts keep going and get worse. Sometimes the more we try NOT to think of something, we think of it more and in greater detail. Oh, the power of the mind.

    Let me know when you find that magic wand.

  8. Oh Deb - we all suffer from this in one form or another. After a stint in therapy I was turned onto this whole cognitive behavior therapy line of thinking and it rules. It IS all about training your brain but you have to first recognize the triggers. What gets you STARTED in that negative direction.

    But I guess you are saying you have it all the time so hmmmm,.....I'm not sure what to say about that. I guess this comment may be totally useless.

    But the brain IS powerful. SOOO powerful. So if you use it in the way YOU want instead of the way you are simply accustomed to having it used, life can start looking and feeling a little different. Harness the power but HOW? Let's discuss....

  9. I wish I had a magic wand too. Or a gag to stuff in my mouth. Once it opens and something bad comes out, I can't take it back.

  10. Life really would be so nice if you could turn down the volume and push "info" to find out just exactly what the hub was rambling about, wouldn't it?
    I suggest you write a book. You are thinking WAY too much. Put it all in a fictional character and go with it. You are such a great writer, I think you could be famous. And I would come to all your book signings.

  11. Or the "easy button". Wouldn't that make life, well, easy?
    I don't think I find myself in my own head too much, I think my problem is a little easier than that. I get bored too easily. To be quite honest I'm surprised I've stayed married these 25 years. I keep looking for the next thing. I'm sure this is why I went back to school. And watch, I wont do anything with the degree when I'm done. Instead I'll just go onto the next thing.

  12. Oh Deb, I am inside of my head way too much as well, turning things over, analyzing everything.Then over analyzing it all again to be sure. I hear voice, I see dead people. I am completely crazy.

  13. Well, I could give you psychological answers because I'm a total nerd. Maybe you've heard that actual physical pathways are created in our brains when emoting the same way over and over. So our emotions are really dictating those thoughts and they're imprinted, so we're pretty much screwed.

    Just kidding. I guess it's possible to redirect those pathways when we fire other synapses, but that sounds like a really long and hard process.

    And I do think to some extent "God helps those that help themselves," but I think there are things (in relation to spirituality) other than simple prayer and meditation that work. I'm just lazy. I won't go on and on with what those things are because my comments are always too long :)

  14. You are in my head again! I have thought this one over so many times it IS one of the tracts that repeats itself over and over in my mind. Along with the "you can't do it" tract.

    Can people REALLY change? what do you think?

  15. I just feel so relieved to know that cages are a part of other peoples' lives. Whew! My kids have been trying to make me feel bad about the cage for a while now.

  16. I agree with Heather of the wonderful EO... ;) There are those people who NEED to think "God helps those that help themselves." And there are others who need to learn to rely on God a little more (like me). I like to control my life too much. I just learned a really hard lesson that even though I like to help myself, sometimes I just need to give it all over to God.

    On another note (and because I LOVE giving unsolicited advice) - I too went to therapy for a little bit and one of the best things I learned was sometimes those emotions are there for a reason and if we try to just get rid of them, then they are just going to keep popping up. So I was told to let the thoughts and emotions go, but only for three minutes (or any predetermined time). Then I am to say to myself "ok, self. We've had that time, now it's time to move on to other stuff." Keep challenging those negative thoughts, they will soon start to get the idea.

  17. I think a lot of people actually DO have this problem, Deb. And it's not necessarily ALL bad. Realizing we're having "less than positive" (okay- negative) thoughts is an indication that we are trying to improve ourselves...that we know we CAN do better (and that we're striving to do so).

    I agree, though, WHY does it have to be so damn hard??

  18. Very cute post, very deep issue. You've hit on my dilemma -- every route I take to purge the anger simply seems to inflame it.

    I haven't assigned God any long term projects because I don't believe in him/her, but I am also wary of the self-reliance approach. (Doesn't it have to be one or the other? Maybe not).

    Two books that have been eye-openers for me in my life-long struggle with rage: The Dance of Anger (Harriet Lerner?), and How to Stop Screwing Up (Martha Woodroof). The latter helps the agnostic/atheist/cynic with the discomfort some of us feel with spirituality and the possibility of discovering it in a new way. (Your post brought it to mind when you mentioned the proverbial wisdom, "God helps those who help themselves" and affirmed that "I think the actual changes in my thought and behavior rest squarely on my shoulders." The premise of Woodruff's book is that it was this very mindset that caused her to remain steeped in addiction and negativity for so long. Woodruff and myself and maybe you (?) are born and bred New Englanders, and as you may know, the stoic philosophy can be taken too far. . . .).

    If you're like me, you embrace your anger and nourish it because it may be one of the few things that keeps you feeling alive. But I'm starting to find other creative outlets and that's a good thing . . . .

    Oh dear -- I know I sound like a humorless, self-help junkie. Very tedious, but I just came back from an counseling appointment, so I'm in a serious headspace.

    Enjoyed this post -- it gives me an idea for my next one. Thanks!


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