Shifting Your Mindset
In a previous article, Life Doesn’t Just Have to Happen, I discussed how we should be living the life we want instead of allowing life to happen to us. I mentioned changing your mindset, but I didn’t explain what that meant.
Choosing to change your mindset is difficult at first. It takes a conscious effort and it is easy to slip into previous habits. It is best to start with something small so you are immediately successful. For me, it started when I realized I was complaining about cooking dinner. I was surprised that such a mundane task could cause me irritation. For years, cooking has been one of my many jobs on the home front and I usually enjoy it. There was a time, however, that I was not feeling appreciated and I felt burdened by my chore.
There were tears in the shower, and maybe a pint of ice cream before I decided to change how I was thinking. I listed the reasons why I liked to cook, as well as the benefits it provided my family. I had to remind myself of those reasons frequently at first. Now, it is a habit to be joyful in my kitchen.
I did the same thing with my marriage, once. We were in a stressful period of our lives and a lot of things weren’t going well. I know I blamed my husband for a lot of it, even though it wasn’t his fault. I know he felt resentful toward me and unappreciated because of my attitude. One day after a heated discussion, he stormed out of the house and I curled up on the bed and sobbed. The moment had that feeling of finality to it. After a good cry and washing my face, I decided that it wasn’t going to happen that way. I went out to where he was working on his truck and told him, “I’ve made a decision, and you’re going to have to deal with it.”
I could see in his face that he thought our marriage was over. I hugged him and said that I wasn’t giving up on our marriage and we were going to stay together and that was that. He hugged me back and simply said, “okay.” For weeks afterward, every morning I would ask him what I could do to help him that day. After a little while, he started asking me as well. It wasn’t only the question, but also the act of helping that brought us back from the brink of divorce. It took one of us to change our mindset in order for the healing in our marriage to start.
Phrases to shift your mindset:
- Instead of saying, “I have to…” try, “I get to…” or “I am able to…” Saying you get to walk the dog is showing gratitude for your ability to walk and your financial stability to have a dog. Using “I have to,” shows that it is an unwanted task and can lead to resentment of your furry friend.
- When it comes to relationships, instead of saying, “I have to call my mom,” say, “I want to call my mom,” or “I get to call my mom today.” Someday she won’t be there for you to call and using the phrase “have to” shows reluctance.
- Instead of saying, “I should…” use “I am going to…” This works especially well for chores that are tedious. “I am going to wash the dishes,” is an action as opposed to, “I should wash the dishes,” which sounds like you would rather be doing anything else.
- Try, “I will…” instead of, “I wish.” This one can be difficult, but it is worth doing. “I will visit London,” shows determination while “I wish to visit London,” is nothing but an unreachable dream.
When you begin to look at mundane things differently, when you begin to be grateful for them instead of feeling burdened, life, in general, becomes happier. Your soul feels lighter. When challenges occur, you meet them with a positive outlook. Instead of becoming anxious and overwhelmed, you are calm and deliberate. You are able to find the solution promptly and enact it before the problem grows larger. That is an invaluable skill to have.
It’s all very simple in the end: changing your mindset will allow you to live life instead of letting life happen.