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12:29 pm - Tues 6.16.2009
The Default Mode

Default Mode

(Once again, giving myself an hour to write this - that seemed to work pretty well yesterday.)

I'm back to thinking/worrying a lot about money - how much is going out and how little is coming in.

I could do a whole entry on that, and imagine I will soon...but I don't want to right now, cause I think it'll depress me more than anything else - I know that instead of worrying about not having enough money, I should be "visualizing" having all the money I need...but I'm not there right now.

I'm once again wrestling with unhappy, unhealthy, unhelpful thoughts - About the financial thing in particular, and about my life in general.

I'm guessing that's my subconscious rebelling against any effort to be more positive in my thinking and more proactive in my doing - Because change is scary, doing stuff is hard, I'm afraid of failing, blah blah blah, etc. and so forth.

This is probably going to sound like an "unhealthy" thought to some of you, but one thing that occurred to me a short time ago, and not for the first time - While I really want to be a positive guy, my "default mode" is probably always going to be pretty much what it is now.

The reason I don't feel like that's an "unhealthy" thought is that, all my life, I've tended toward the anxious/depressed end of the emotional scale (Not to beat a dead horse here, but if you read my case file, it's pretty understandable - As a child, life basically beat my ass like a drum, so it's small wonder I have a butt-load of emotional "issues").

Being depressed and anxious much of the time would be an "issue" in and of itself, but I think I've complicated things/made things worse for myself by "passing judgment" - I want to not be depressed so often, I want to not feel afraid and anxious all the time, and I actually get angry at myself for not being able to change, for...well, for basically not being somebody else.

I'll probably always wrestle with dark, depressing, unhappy/unhelpful thoughts, however much I wish things were different. I don't think I have to live in that place, necessarily, but that's always going to be the "default mode"

But I think I can get rid of the judgmental, angry side of myself that basically hates "Sad Jim", and replace it with the loving parent I didn't have as a child (Or to be accurate, the "loving parent" I didn't have long enough as a child).

Basically, it's just about being more loving and accepting of myself, flaws and all, and if I tend towards the negative, instead of mentally cussing myself out for being "weak" or a "loser" or what-have-you, just gently leading myself to happier, more helpful thoughts.

Which leads me back to "positivity"...

I think I said before that one thing that's held me back in the past was feeling like "positive thinking" involved being a "Pollyanna", and pretending everything was okey-dokey when it really wasn't.

Happily, it seems as if the writing in that field, and my own thoughts on the subject, have become more nuanced in recent years.

And actually, in the Positivity book, Fredrickson specifically writes that merely pretending you feel positively doesn't do a thing for you (So much for "fake it till you make it"...!) - In order to get the benefits of "positivity", you have to search for the things you genuinely do feel good about, and basically "shine a light" on them.

It's not about pretending you don't feel bad, or that bad things don't happen, or that you feel great about things when you don't - It's more about what you choose to focus on.

What you choose to focus on.

I think that element of "choice" is important.

It's what's made Weight Watchers work so well for me; I don't feel deprived with the way I'm eating now, that I can't have this or that. I can basically eat anything I want...if I'm willing to pay the price (Blowing through my daily points and ending up hungry, risking gaining weight, etc). But it's my choice - There are "Basic Health Guildlines", but beyond that, it's my choice what I eat.

I have to take some of that Weight Watchers thinking into other aspects of my life - "Well, I could think that unhappy thought, if I wanted to...but I think I'd be better off I thought about it this way instead...".

That was a big element of the Wayne Dyer Excuses Begone show on PBS - Given the choice of thought processes that help you, that get you closer to what you want, and those that don't, what are you going to choose?

(Note to self - Buy the Dyer book)

Since I've been wrestling with resistance about trying new things (First improv, now stand-up), what he had to say about the excuse "It'll be too hard" really resonated with me.

I'm paraphrasing here, but he basically said that, since it's a new thing you've never done before, you don't really know it's going to be hard; maybe you start doing whatever-it-is, and the unexpected happens, money comes in that you weren't expecting, you discover skills you didn't know you had, help comes out of the woodwork, etc.

You don't know a new thing is going to be hard - Maybe it is...and maybe it isn't.

At the beginning, both thoughts are equally valid, because you don't really know...but which thought "opens up possibilities", and which one doesn't?

That's a question I imagine many of us could be asking ourselves more often...

And my hour is up (And then some).


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