If there’s one thing I can truly say that I learned in 2013 is that it’s all about attitude. Why did it take me so long to figure this out? I have no idea. All my life I’ve heard the advice about how positive thinking can change everything. But I don’t think I ever really listened to the message—or at least I didn’t honestly put the message into action. I needed this year to teach me a few things, and the most important one was to change my outlook. One day a random inspirational post sat in my inbox. I’d seen the message probably a hundred times in various forms over the years:
Smile for no good reason
Every problem has a gift for you in its hands
No one can make you feel inferior without your consent
Peace of mind is a choice you make
We become what we think about
What each of these messages has in common is the underlying truth that we control our own interactions with the world. That choice we make is what determines whether we have a positive or negative experience. No, we can’t control others and sometimes bad stuff will happen—it’s how we react that always matters. The message that day was this: Peace of mind is a choice you can make. We become what we think about. That same day my best friend’s brother passed away. When I called to offer condolences, my friend said something that hit home: “We are blessed.” She was extremely sad for the loss of her brother, but still focused on the good in her life. She made the choice.
We become what we think about. It had happened in my own life before. I decided I wanted to become a writer, and focused all of my energy on that goal. It worked then and I realized it could work now. I began to focus on positive thoughts. If you follow me on Facebook, you’ve seen my posts from time to time center on this theme. What I began to realize is how much the simple practice of positive thought and compassion really would alter my viewpoint. When I feel myself slipping into the old habits, I refocus to deliberately take positive action, even if it’s as small as smiling at a stranger. When I disagree with something, I try to resolve the conflict on a positive note. Most of all, I remind myself that I choose how to react. I’m still a work in progress, but that simple shift in thinking is making a huge difference in my life.
So, friends, as we enter the promise of a New Year, let me leave you with the reminder that we become what we think about. Here’s my challenge for us all in 2014: Choose to be positive. Choose compassion. Choose to be more awesome than last year.