Simple Strategies to Become a Ninja Optimist
Your special someone just broke up with you via text.
You’re at a bar and when you raise your hand to order no one notices you.
Tired of being ignored? Dumped on?
If this is the story of your life then I’m here to help you reframe it. You see, life is what happens all around you. Every moment of every day. Life happens.
Complete and Total Control
You have it! You get to choose how you think and how you react. The issue isn’t what’s happening – it’s your thoughts about what is happening. It’s your perceived powerlessness and chronic habit of telling a bad story that disempowers you. A belief that you don’t matter and are powerless to change things.
Let’s break this down –
No matter where you go, there you are. Your internal dialogue accompanies you everywhere. Much of this learned self-talk begins when we’re little kids learning about life here on Planet Earth. We learn the ground rules from our parents, relatives, teachers, etc. And very few of these people are telling a good story and creating a wonderful life.
If they are like most people, they criticized you for things that didn’t meet with their approval or from a place of their own inadequacies. You then developed your own harsher inner-critic to keep those outer-critics at bay. At some level you understood the power of your thoughts and gave your inner-critic free reign to judge you. The only way you could love yourself was to be perfect.
Another possibility of your inner-critic emerging happens in your adult life with a painful breakup, unexpected firing, or a divorce that causes your self-esteem to plummet. Without being consciously aware of what’s happening, your inner-critic will begin to nit-pick at your behaviors and the next thing you know it’s all your fault.
Now’s the time to drop your inner-critic at the corner and drive off without them. Over time inner-critics become harsher and more demanding. Soon you find yourself negatively judging everyone else. No one, not even you, can live up to their exacting standards.
By breaking this process down you can see that it’s been your interpretation of these events that caused you to blame yourself. Most of this is from habitual thinking and not being totally aware of your thoughts and your power over them. Unless you begin to consciously break this chain you life will be a continuous uphill battle until the day you die.
The Power of Your Story
Because you have complete and total control over your thoughts you can begin to change your story to a positive one that supports you. A story filled with great goals and accomplishments.
Little by little, begin to craft a new story about how you want your life to be. Recent studies show the average person has 50,000-70,000 thoughts per day. These same studies show that for most people, 80-98% of these thoughts are negative.
Now’s the time to start taking control of your thoughts and creating a new story which will allow you to create a new outcome.
This simple equation sums it all up:
Your Experience = External Events + Internal Perception.
Life is continually unfolding. It just is – until we analyze it and assign a value, label, and perception to it. We’re in charge! If you want to succeed, if you want to enjoy life and live it with a song in your heart and smile on your face then begin to change how you label your perceptions. Tell a different story.
Begin to modify your internal perceptions – they aren’t cast in concrete. I always suggest making your own inventory of your thoughts/perceptions. You can also engage a trusted and positive friend to get their input too. A therapist can also be helpful if you’re holding on tightly to these damaging thoughts from your internal critic.
Regardless of the path you choose, these people help you see yourself for the inherent high-quality being you are. This is the first step on the path to self-love, self-worth, and self-empowerment. With a little practice you’ll begin hearing your own self-empowering coach who has always been there but was being drowned-out by your inner-critic. The more you listen to the voice of your self-empowering coach the stronger and more dominant it becomes.
Don’t resist your inner-critic but rather listen with an open mind and heart and just respond that you now know and understand that what they’re saying is no longer true. Replace those negative thoughts with the new compassionate and positive thoughts and give these more air-time. It’s a simple formula, but does require discipline. Yes, you’ll slip and find yourself listening to your inner-critic. That’s OK. Just accept it, say something along the lines that these are old thoughts that are no longer true about you and replace them with your new thoughts/perceptions. Repeat often.
There’s a great Zen saying that applies – “fall down seven times, get up eight”. Pick yourself up, learn from the experience, speak your new perceptions a few times and move forward. You will ultimately succeed.
A diary or journal is also a useful tool to help you sort this out and identify and separate the inner-critic from the compassionate self-empowerer. By openly bringing these inner-critic perceptions to light, you help identify them which helps release these outdated and diminishing perceptions. Soon they vanish.
The Universe Says YES
Whether you choose to accept and believe your inner-critic or choose to begin listening to your inner self-empowering coach, the Universe says YES. We have ultimate control of our lives. We can choose to make them a joyous expression of our love and creativity, or we can choose to live a life of torment and lack. We always have the final say because we get to label our perceptions.
Let your spirit shine and boldly walk forth knowing you matter and have great ideas to help yourself, your family, and mankind. Make your goal to live every moment of every day in a way that has you constantly smiling and your heart singing with joy.
I call that a life worth living.
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