I was motivated to make this post based on the exuberant number of negative and self-hating social media posts I’ve seen in recent weeks. Here are just a few of the examples I’ve seen throughout the week:
“If I didn’t fuck everything up all the time that would be great,”
“I’m really upset but it doesn’t really matter,”
“LOL I really just hate my life”
“Tried to do something different but I just suck”
And that’s just a FEW; there are so many more that I’ve seen and I can’t imagine how many there are that I haven’t seen.
There’s one major point I want to make here:
“The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.” -Marcus Aurelius
This is, in essence, the principle of auto-suggestion, it encompasses all suggestion and self-administered stimuli to the mind through the five sense. The thoughts that you feed your subconscious will result in the physical manifestation of those thoughts in the world around you, as well as in your attitude and beliefs. This sounds complicated (and Freudian) but it’s really quite simple.
The easiest example is your typical case of a Negative Nancy; someone who constantly sees the negative in themselves and everything around them. Well, when you have no control over your stream of thought impulses and you constantly allow yourself think negative thoughts all the time, guess what? That’s going to translate physically into the world and you’re going to approach every scenario with a negative attitude.
“The subconscious mind makes no distinction between destructive and constructive thought impulses. It works with the material we feed it.” -Napoleon Hill
Auto-suggestion can be incredibly destructive to our lives by perpetuating self-hate, depression, and low self-esteem, but if we understand how it works we can just as easily flip it around into a success and happiness-breeding mechanism that allows us to accomplish goals, appreciate achievement, and ultimately enjoy our lives.
To begin down this path you must first believe you can change your thoughts and attitudes (which you absolutely can); all great successes require a little faith in yourself. Second, you must become consciously aware of when you are thinking negative thoughts, point them out to yourself, and literally check yourself. Realize your thoughts are destructive and then exercise control over them by reminding yourself of the positive things in life. If you have difficulty with this i.e. “there’s nothing to be positive about in my life,” then I want you to do this:
Take a look at every obstacle that stands in your way right now, and try to find an opportunity in it by thinking outside of the box. Realize that life does not always go according to plan, and that’s completely okay because you are capable of handling it and making the best out of it if you choose to.
Examples where I’ve done this in my life:
I recently couldn’t get into PSY 301, the required class to declare my Psychology major and take upper-level classes to ensure I graduate college on-time. Instead I am now going to major in Sociology with a Psychology minor, which will give me a different perspective from what I’m accustomed to and allow me the opportunity to explore new ideas and concepts I hadn’t considered before. Not to mention, the opportunity to take something that should be considered “bad” and make something good out of it, that in itself is an opportunity to practice excellency in dealing with adversity and something to be proud of.
My mother’s death a little over a year ago. No doubt this was the most difficult obstacle I’ve ever faced in my entire life, and while I of course grieved for her the first couple weeks, I still found the positive in this dire situation because her death gave me the opportunity to become closer with my step-dad, relatives I had lost touch with, and bring together many of the great people in my life to share themselves with each other and recall the good memories with my mother. The ultimate opportunity though was to succeed my mother’s legacy by being joyful and grateful for the many things in life, just like she did her throughout her life. Although a spectator would argue that she lived a life of pain and suffering, it couldn’t be further from the truth because of her choice to be happy for some of the most simple things in life, such as watching me eat four cheeseburgers in one sitting and the cartoon character Tweety Bird.
So please, take advantage of the knowledge I’ve provided and take control of auto-suggestion to use as a tool to better your life, because you are capable of living an enriching and joyful life provided you have the knowledge, tools, and the belief in yourself that you can make the best of any situation that comes your way.
Every obstacle is an opportunity to practice excellence.