Thursday, December 16, 2010

Four Mantras (and One Flowchart) for Decluttering Negative Thoughts

It's not always just our stuff that needs to be decluttered; it can be our thought patterns, too. Here are some words that I've found inspirational - maybe you will, too.

1. Stuck in some unnecessarily defeatist thinking? These are the words that help me get out of that rut.

This first one I saw many years ago in a newspaper article; the writer said she'd seen it on a T-shirt. It was unattributed, but later I was able to track down the source; I even bought a set of greeting cards with these words:
It is simple. We are where we should be, doing what we should be doing. Otherwise we would be somewhere else, doing something else. — Richard Stine
I'm also fond of a couple variations on this theme:
You can always pick up your needle and move to another groove. — Timothy Leary

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. — Steve Jobs, in his commencement address at Stanford University
And again, along the same lines, there's the Are You Happy? flowchart.

2. Getting too impatient with others — perhaps a bit too judgmental? I like to consider this:
Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. — uncertain origin
Or, as Erin Doland writes on Unclutterer: "You never know what others are dealing with when you encounter them. The person who cut you off in traffic may be rushing to the hospital."

A man once berated me for not returning my grocery basket to the "proper place" after I finished my purchase, at a store I don't usually frequent. I turned to him and said, "My mother died three days ago." Given the look on his face, trust me - you don't want to be that guy.

So let that momentary irritation slip away, realizing there may be things going on in the other person's life that you are unaware of.


Claire Josefine said...

This, my dear, is my favorite of your posts ever! Compassion and Acceptance -- do we really need much else? (Okay, Gratitude. Love, Food, and Shelter are good, too.)

Julie Bestry said...

All excellent points, Jeri.

On a similar note, a lovely woman I once knew said that whenever she heard someone say something unkind (to her or otherwise), she repeated to herself "Consider the source!" Underlying whatever negative comments one hears are always a host of experiences that say much more about the naysayer than the nay-said-to. :-)

Birdy Diamond said...

There was a similar story that I'd heard along my way about a lady buying a fancy bakery cake w/food stamps.

Turned out it was for her daughter, who had cancer. (And if I recall correctly, was not expected to live to see another one.)

Tales like these really make you think twice before passing judgment.

Anonymous said...

THIS is one of my "Top 3 absolute favorites" of all your posts. I thank you and appreciate this wisdom!

Jeri Dansky said...

Claire, Julie, Birdy, Anonymous: Thank you for all the kind words, and for the additional mantra and story. I have the best readers/commenters!

Debra said...

Jeri I loved the flowchart. Thank you for this! Can't be any clearer than that!

Cynthia Friedlob said...

Nice one, Jeri! I'm with Claire ~ this is my favorite post.

Thanks for taking the time to track down Richard Stine. I always find it frustrating when quotes are unattributed. Also, Stine's artwork is wonderful!

Steve Jobs' speech certainly reminds us that suffering with clutter is a total waste of time!

Tiffany Jewelry said...

We are where we should be, doing what we should be doing. Otherwise we would be somewhere else, doing something else. Really like this, thank you!

Jeri Dansky said...

So glad you like it, Cynthia. It's one of my own personal favorites, so it's nice to hear that so many other people feel the same way.

Mary Nolan said...

This is a very timely post. I recently took up saying to others who feel the need to apologize for being late, or making a mistake, "No worries! It's all good!" They seem to appreciate that I am not upset by the lateness or a mistake, etc.

maureenm said...

Terrific - and I love the happy - or not - flow chart. Now to do something about it...