Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Cassette Tape Playing In Your Head

There's this movie out on Netflix called "How I Live Now," about a girl who finds redemption through love and hard work. The movie shows her looking in the mirror and thinking about how awful she is.

We've all had those thoughts, and they can seem very natural. But when you see the scenes in front of your eyes, it's striking.

Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, who was prone to depression, used to say that thoughts are like a horse, and you need to lead the horse in the direction you want it to go.

What you tell yourself can change your reality. It works like this: You acknowledge what's happening, but you look at it from a different perspective. For example, tough times are an opportunity to gain insight into what really matters to you in your life. Difficult relationships are an encounter with a person who teaches you something about how to correct your own bad habits. And so on.

Changing your thoughts is like changing a cassette tape. It can be done, but requires some effort. You can't just flick the radio buttons or the iPod to make the song have to actually put forth some work. But it isn't impossible.

All you have to do is realize those negative thoughts when they're happening, focus on the fact that they exist, and decide that you don't want to have them in your life.

Think about the reason that you're having them.

Connect the dots...what needs attention in you, your job, your relationships, your life?

And put the hard work into making things better.

Even if you don't succeed totally, the fact of taking action, plus the vision of a better future that you are working toward - will.

Disclaimer: This blog is written by Dannielle Blumenthal in her personal capacity. The opinions expressed here are the author's own and do not reflect the view of the National Archives and Records Administration, or the United States government.