Keeping Positive Thoughts

Three practices in self-compassion

Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become YOUR WORDS.
Keep your words positive because your words become YOUR BEHAVIOR.
Keep your behavior positive because your behavior becomes YOUR HABITS.
Keep your habits positive because your habits become YOUR VALUES.
Keep your values positive because your values become YOUR DESTINY.
                                                                                     —Mahatma Gandhi

On August 15, India celebrated its 73rd Independence Day. As I listened to India’s Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi deliver his Independence Day address from the Red Fort in Delhi, I remembered and offered gratitude to the Father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi. His words and his life continue to inspire. 

The above quote is one of my favorites, as he put into words the path that he walked. 

Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become YOUR WORDS. Indeed my mind truly can be the most powerful asset I can have. Our entire life experiences are based on the perception of what our mind tells us to believe.

So how do we know that what our mind is telling us is correct, is real, is the truth? 

For me it’s more important to realize that I have to trust my feelings and not just my thoughts. I have to constantly, intentionally and truthfully question all my patterns and thoughts. This is hard! This is a life long practice!

What helps me are rituals, reflections and relationships. 

To ensure that the mind becomes a friend is a journey. It’s a journey that is hard, one that many times will condemn me, criticize and blame me. However this journey will also teach me and force me to be kind, compassionate and forgiving to myself and others.

Self-compassion requires practice, a daily ritual to make it into a habit. To be able to do this with kindness and forgiveness requires intentional reflection on my actions and on my thoughts that lead to my actions.

I cannot do this alone. I need to have a relationship with a community that accepts me for who I am, with whom I can be who I am, where I can belong! More importantly, I need to have a relationship with myself,  with my values, with the constant thread that I hold on too—my faith and conviction to surrender unconditionally to this faith. 

Intentional reflection with myself and in community helps me understand and question my thoughts, my behaviors. My community helps me discern the deeper meaning behind my thoughts and actions. 

While I am very early in this journey, I have realized that my attitude, my mindset, is so crucial. I have to remind myself of my own mantra: “Happy Thoughts.” These happy thoughts start with my self-talk, yet the self-talk often starts with my negative emotions speaking. I found that if I just let those emotions have a voice, I can filter and not magnify the negative emotions. Rather, I try to understand their meaning and learnings with kindness and self-compassion. It also gives me an opportunity to intentionally practice positive self-talk—I am my worst critic. 

What helps me with a positive self-talk and a positive attitude?

  • Practicing the ritual of prayer and intentionally offering gratitude each day,

  • Surrounding myself with positive people—a positive community, and

  • Reading something positive each day.

Keeping an attitude that is positive, one of optimism, helps me reframe and redirect my reflections to find their meaning and understanding rather than making me retreat into a spiral of negativity. This helps me reimagine new ways of being. I can recover, rejuvenate and even rejoice. If I do that for myself, it helps me behave that way and offer the same in my relationships.

I am grateful for the kindness and compassion offered to me by so many in so many ways on my journey. A deep bow to you all! Namaste.

How is the coronavirus and civil unrest around racism changing the way you think of self-care, community and resilience? As this challenging time unfolds, I am posting a quote on this blog with a reflection prompt. Please join in the conversation here or on Twitter with your thoughts or what you are doing for self-care and care of others. My book explores such ideas too: Resilient Threads: Weaving Joy and Meaning into Well-Being.