You Are What You Think

The statement “you are what you eat” is commonly accepted. People generally understand that if you eat a bunch of junk, chances are you will not be healthy and/or fit (although I do know a few who are, for whatever reason, exempt from that truth and I am jealous!). The point behind that belief is that what you put in your body makes a difference. Input can equal or impact output. Thus, to me, the premise holds true for our minds as well as our bodies. What we put into our minds can alter what we believe about ourselves, or how we feel about ourselves or even how we behave based on those thoughts.
With this perspective in mind, over the last month, I’ve done a little experimenting and “research”. I have paid attention to what I say to myself and how that impacts my demeanor and behavior. I’ve also watched those around me, noticing those same factors. I experienced people, self-included, communicate “I am so busy.” Or “I am so tired.” Or “I am so stressed.” Only to find out as those statements were further investigated that there really wasn’t much merit to them. Things really weren’t THAT busy or THAT stressful. It was almost as if we are programmed, in default mode, to offer such a reply. It’s become a rote response. Think about it, “Hi Lauren, how are you?” “Oh, I’m fine, just so busy with work.” Or “Hi honey, how was your day?” “It was so stressful.” Sometimes those statements may in fact be true but is everyday always so stressful and busy. Perhaps as an educator you can assuredly say “YES!”
Regardless, of whether life is genuinely busy and stressful, or we just say it is, my first encouragement is for us to be more mindful about what we communicate to others. Think before we speak. However, the main point of this blog is to also then be aware of not only what we say to others but what we say to ourselves.
If you tell yourself that you are “so busy” or “so stressed” or “never going to make this deadline” and the list goes on and on. Then often times that is what we become, stressed or late or anxious. It can become a self-fulling prophecy. I noticed for myself that there were times over the last several weeks I found myself saying “I can’t keep up.” I had four trips in four weeks (3 business, one pleasure). It felt like a whirlwind. I would unpack the suitcase, leave it out for 2 days only to then repack it (some things I never actually unpacked, like travel size toiletries. I got smart about that after trip #2). Travel like that isn’t typical for me and so I definitely felt out of sorts. But I realized that the more I said “I can’t keep up” the more I couldn’t keep up. I decided to start saying “You got this.” “You can keep up.” “One thing at a time.” And it made a difference in my psyche and demeanor. Believe it or not, I actually began to feel like I had more time. Moments to stop and catch my breath “suddenly” appeared. I consciously tried to pay attention to those opportunities and thus make the most of them. Even if it was a few quiet minutes sitting in an airport terminal or in a cab to the hotel. I took moments to just be. I wanted to practice the self-care behaviors I preach about.
Over the years I have had numerous conversations with young women who are wrestling with feelings of insecurity. “I’m not as pretty as the other girls”. “I’m never going to pass this test.” “I can’t speak in front of other people.” “He’s the best and only guy that will ever like me.” Those false lines we tell ourselves don’t benefit us. They are harmful and often not true. They can infiltrate the good that lies within us. They overshadow the truth of all we possess and can impede us from blossoming into our fullest potential. Those thoughts can make us doubtful and paralyzed or distracted and frazzled, keeping us from all the universe has to offer.
My hope is that all of us can not only see our value but believe it, feel it, be convinced of it and allow that belief to propel us forward. Tell yourself, even if you are busy, that you can manage. You have everything you need to be the greatest version of yourself. Think the best about yourself because you are what you think.