Learning how to govern your own thoughts takes a long time, but it is easier if you notice that you are thinking about your thinking all the time. And if you understand that your thoughts have their roots in your feelings, you can understand that working on your feelings about something is as important as working with your thoughts. Some weeds grow in bitter, acid soil; and bad thoughts happen when you are sad, angry or hurt, and you don’t know how to make yourself feel better.
When you are kind and sweet to yourself, good thoughts find it easier to grow. When you are kind to others, it’s even easier than that. If you are hurting too much, or too angry, frustrated, or sad to be kind, it’s time to ask for help. There are many people in the world who know how to be kind: ask them how. Being mean because you’re hurting doesn’t help your hurt: it only spreads it around, like spraying poison all over everything, and that helps no one at all.
The worst hangover from some families is the saying, “Now see what you made me do!” It’s blaming someone for having power over you, and then you can punish them for how you feel. But you do not take responsibility for giving away your power in the first place. and sometimes this is because you are afraid of your own power.
If you have the power to choose, you can’t blame anyone, not really. You have to take responsibility for how you feel and how you react to things. Yes, there are some times when that kind of choice is hard, but this is something you can do every day, for the little things. When you take responsibility for how you feel, you develop strength in the center of who you are. Then you can go out into the world, and not get shaken up by every little thing.
So often, when you are asked to do something you don’t like, you stop liking yourself. You do this by focusing on how unhappy you are, or how anxious, or frightened you feel about the thing you’ve been asked to do. If only you could find a way to make the dreadful chore easier! Well, making things easy for yourself in a good way is being kind to yourself, and this is where you think you are worth something special.
But there are two ways of making things easier: Dumb and smart. The dumb way is to pretend: to pretend by lying, cheating, making others feel bad, or hurting someone else because you are angry. The smart way of making things easier is to see where you can choose joy for yourself, by being honest, doing things well, helping others, and knowing you know the right thing to do. When you do well, you feel good. And when you do good, you feel well.
It is easier in the long run to be good, even though sometimes it’s harder to be good than to be bad in the moment. Being bad is easy: you call people bad names because you are feeling bad, because it’s easier to do that than understand why you’re feeling bad in the first place. You maybe steal things because it’s much easier to do that than it is to make something, earn something, or do some real work for something. You may bully someone because it’s easier to do that then find out what you’re really afraid of, and solve your trouble. All of these things are hard.
But if you do good, and do well, then you don’t hurt other people, so they don’t have to hurt you back. If you respect other people, and their property, then people might give you things when you really need them, rather than making you pay for what you stole. If you are kind to others, they will be kind to you. And if you stop being afraid inside, it’s always much easier.
Being good is really worth the effort!