Sure, when I read all the self-help books in my "Get Enlightened" stage in my early 20's this mystifying situation was written about. I read about it, eagerly practiced methods to battle it and as life went on, my focus became other worldly things.
In my experience, I'm a Soda Pop kinda girl. What I mean is that I have a tendency to focus upon something, get all shaken up about it, full of the energy which comes from knowledge and the challenge. Then as time slowly goes on and my focus is upon something else I go flat, the energy and focus of the information leaves me.
I do fads well.
Soda Pop Girl is now determined to be Slow Boil Woman!
Back to the subject: I've always believed that our actions are direct results to the thoughts in our heads. Eye on the prize and all that.
I can remember working on changing my internal thoughts back in my early 20's when I began a new diet fad, convincing myself that I wasn't hungry that I was just thirsty and wanted water. This actually worked for a short time but honestly, who can live on 900 calories a day of frozen prepackaged foods that taste like cardboard? Poor choice of diets but the positive thought process was successful, I actually got used to the low calorie eating and didn't feel hungry. But slowly the weight creeped back onto my body when I went off the strict diet.
Why did this happen? I didn't deal with the core issues which caused me to gain weight so it stayed in the black box.
Within my mind there is a section which gets very little conscious attention from me, let's call it the black box. I was born with this black box, and over time and experience, it's gotten filled with negative thoughts about myself. I've been unaware of these negative thoughts, suspicions, doubts, fears, wonderings, reasonings, theories and wants but each day when faced with a choice they influence the outcome.
For example during stressful or emotional times, I was drawn to alcohol to help "deal." We all see this everyday, just watch a TV show and you'll see a character who says "I need a drink" in exasperation.
Each day we are met with temptation in our daily lives. For me these generally appear in the areas of money, materialism, judgments of myself, to hide from my emotions and the stressors of life... there's so many to list, but they are temptation indeed.
Each time I'm faced with temptation, there is something that happens within my mind. Negative statements are whispered out of that black box, pulling my perspective to the negative end of the scale.
On the day when I found out that my father had prostate cancer and 12 other serious health issues, my first thought was to open a bottle. It was completely acceptable to me, of course I needed this fortification, who wouldn't? It wasn't a conscious thought; it was a gut reaction. I was angry, sad, mad and scared.
What was actually happening in my subconsious thought was a battle, one part of me wanted to pray, to grab onto my faith and scream my anger at God... to look for direction and hold strong in my faith. The other part of me in the black box screamed how I couldn't live without my Daddy, that my Daddy was dying, that my life was going to change, that I might never get the chance to prove myself to my Daddy, that a blackness of despair was coming.
And the black box won.
My actions were determined by my thoughts.
Now that I am aware of this black box within myself, I am working to correct this defect. I am building up my positive thought base by being rigorously honest with myself. I have identified my weaknesses and character defects and in doing so, I am lighting up the black box. I'm cleaning it out and replacing the contents with positive messages which will enhance my life and strengthen my armour.
Prayer, faith, willingness and knowledge of God's word are my tools for these efforts.
Someone in AA gave me great advice within my first few weeks in the program, he said "Don't trust your own mind for the first year, consider it broken from the drink." My priorities were skewed from years of listening to the black box.
Now there's light in my mind. I rely upon God to direct my mind and choices. I do this through reading the Bible, prayer, meditation, worship and spending time learning as much as I can through the experience of others.
God will never allow me any temptation for which I don't have the ability to resist.
That in itself is freeing.
1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
AA's Twelve and Twelve, page 98: Self-searching is the means by which we bring new vision, action, and grace to bear upon the dark and negative side of our natures. With it comes the development of that kind of humility that makes it possible for us to receive God's help. Yet it is only a step. We will want to go further. We will want the good that is in us all, even in the worst of us, to flower and to grow. But first of all we shall want sunlight; nothing much can grow in the dark. Meditation is our step out into the sun.
Photo Credit: Pink Sherbert Photography.
Own Your Beauty is a groundbreaking, year-long movement bringing women together to change the conversation about what beauty means. Our mission: to encourage and remind grown women that it is never too late to learn to love one's self and influence the lives of those around us - our mothers, friends, children, neighbors. We can shift our minds and hearts and change the path we follow in the pursuit of authentic beauty.