Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Unless you've spent time with a therapist or read a lot of self-help books (or watch a lot of Dr. Phil/Oprah type TV), you may never have been challenged to examine the automatic thoughts that play in your mind. Let me issue that challenge to you.

I set out to walk the dog this afternoon in the snow out front and as I tried to avoid a small drift on the sidewalk, I heard my inner brain voice say, "Snow -- I'm SO annoyed." And it occurred to me that my inner brain voice seems to sometimes have that remark on an endless loop. "My sock has a hole -- I'm SO annoyed. The kid has my laptop -- I'm SO annoyed. There's dog hair on the sofa -- I'm SO annoyed." For Pete's sake, I'm a regular curmudgeon.

I had no cause to be so annoyed at this walk with the dog. It wasn't that terribly cold out anymore. The sun was shining. The snow wasn't deep and the walk wasn't slick. The dog didn't get any business done, but he had never indicated to me that he had business to do -- I just figured I'd walk him while I put stuff in the mailbox to be picked up.

I have no idea where this tendency to feel annoyance at every minor disruption in my life began. I know it is worse when I'm not sleeping well -- even to the point of being completely uncontrollable. Maybe I've not slept well for so long that it's simply become a habit of thinking. Well, no maybes about that, I guess. It is definitely a habit of thinking.

And one I need to change. I mean, that's a Biblical command. "Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable -- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy -- think about such things." Even secular psychologists will affirm the power of "positive thinking". I've got to made a point of looking for the true, noble, praiseworthy stuff around me.

Cuz my negative attitude is just annoying.

No comments: