I was on the way to work this morning, when another driver cut me off on the freeway. Before I was able to swear or curse their ancestry, I said to myself, “Well, they’re probly having a bad morning. That sucks. I hope their day gets better.”
This totally caught me by surprise.
I have been an intensely negative and harshly critical person for a very long time. I first became really, truly aware of this in 2010, when I entered treatment for alcoholism. For the past four years I have been fighting what has most often felt like a losing battle to transform myself into a more positive person.
Today it stopped feeling like a fruitless, uphill struggle, though. I feel like today I saw the light at the end of the tunnel.
They say that one of the reasons we get stuck in patterns of negative thinking is because, over time, our thoughts (which are basically electrical signals being transmitted through out brains) actually form physical pathways through which it becomes easier and easier for them to travel as the same thoughts are repeated over and over again. As this repetition of thought patterns causes these parthways to become more and more ingrained, it also becomes more difficult for the mind to think in ways that go outside these familiar pathways. Hence, the term “in a mental rut” represents a literal reality!
They also say that these pathways can be re-structured however a person sees fit, and that, although it is difficult and can take a long time, eventually, with time and patience, a person’s mind can actually be transformed so that, where once there were habitual worry, ruminations, and negativity, there can be instinctive peace, joy, and positive thinking.
I am here today, as a former skeptic of these ideas, to report that I have begun to see the fruit of exactly these types of efforts in my own life. These things really are possible. We can actually change and become different people if we so desire.
I feel like this should have been longer. Maybe it’s better this way.