Please enjoy this book excerpt from my book Keys to Living Joyfully
Chapter 2: Is Your Heart Thinking Right?
As a man thinks in his heart so is he. Proverbs 23:7
These are such simple words, yet the meaning is profound.
Whatever you think about and internalize in your heart, is what you become. What ever you believe in your core or spirit is what you become. So if you believe that you are incapable of joy and happiness, this belief will manifest in your life. If you are worried about your weight, your bills, never having enough money, being sick, losing your job and the list could go on and on, this is what you have created in your life.
*Whatever you think about and internalize in your heart, is what you become.
As humans, we may think we have little control over many or even most things in the world around us, but we do have the ability to control our thoughts. Reality is created for you in your thoughts. There have been many times when the disaster you created in your mind was far worse than the actual circumstances, yet you experienced the horror of your thoughts. Think of it this way:
You sense that something is wrong at work and you start to worry, people at work start acting differently towards you because you have changed. This difference then heightens your sense of insecurity, which further alters your thoughts and your actions. Ultimately, work becomes a miserable place, which you have brought on YOURSELF.
*If you truly wrap your arms around this idea of how we shape our lives based on our thoughts, you hold the key to unlocking amazing transformative power in your life.
If you are actively engaging in this type of self-sabotage, forgive yourself and then act on your new sense of the importance of thoughts. No good will come out of berating yourself for past actions. Now that you know that your thoughts create reality, you can act to correct negative patterns.
You may be saying to yourself that you cannot control your thoughts. You may even be saying that thoughts just happen. You can change your thoughts. Knowing this gives you deep power. What are you thinking about you right now? Are you thinking about all of the things you should be doing? Are you worrying about today? Or tomorrow? Are you angry with people who have hurt you? You can be free from all of these thoughts and it is a conscious choice of freedom.
When my oldest daughter was in 7th grade, she became chronically ill and missed 25 days of school. She had lived most of her school years as a successful “A” and “B” student. Suddenly, she was earning “C”s and even an occasional “D”. She started to buy in to the “fact” that she was not a good scholar or student. She started to believe that she was not smart. She thought these things instead of seeing the reality that missing school impacts learning and grades. She had surgery at the end of 7th grade and became much healthier. However, her grades were still suffering at the beginning of 8th grade because she no longer believed that she was a good student.
Her turning point came when I realized all of the negative thoughts that she was spinning in her head.
We talked about this and created some affirmations like:
“I am so thankful that I remember everything I study”
“I am so thankful that I am great at taking tests”
“I am so thankful that I remember to bring all of my assignments to school and turn them in on time”.
Gradually, she internalized a new view of herself as a smart, capable student, and her grades started coming back up again.
Think about this situation and apply it to your own life. Where are you struggling? Are you struggling financially? Is it hard to maintain a healthy weight? Are you unhappy and depressed? Is it a chore for you to wake up and begin each day? Are your interpersonal relationships difficult? Think about how you think about these things. This is a gift we have as human beings—the fact that we can think about our thinking.
If you truly wrap your arms around this idea of how we shape our lives based on our thoughts, you hold the key to unlocking amazing transformative power in your life.
In my own life, I experienced the tragic suicide death of my younger brother when I was 17 years old and he was 15 years old. Of course, this altered my life forever. One of the most harmful long-term effects on my life was how I viewed my ability to experience happiness. This loss in my life is what eventually inspired my quest of determining how a person could live a joyful life.
Since I experienced such extreme grief and shock, I was naturally depressed and in therapy for a few years after the death of my brother. Even after I finished therapy, my outlook on my life seemed permanently altered. I believed that true happiness did not exist for me. I began a cycle of on and off depression that influenced my life for the next twenty years. As I entered my late thirties, I thought of myself as a depressed person and even tried to reach acceptance of this in my life. Then, I realized that I could not, would not accept that happiness would be forever elusive to me.
I have always believed intellectually in positive thinking. I viewed it as something that I needed to “psych myself up to do” and I did not have the energy to do it. I also most often acted positively and came across to others as an enthusiastic outgoing person even though I felt miserable on the inside. I craved being able to feel peaceful and content. In my heart, I doubted whether positive thinking could permanently alter habits of thoughts that existed for years.
One day the light bulb went on for me. I came to view that thinking could be disciplined just like actions. I learned that I could methodically reprogram my thinking and live the life that I always dreamed of living—a life of joy, peace, passion, and energy every moment of the day…
Sheri Kaye Hoff, M.A, CGCL
Life Coach, Author, College Professor
Inspiring Succesful and Joyful Living Every Day