A LESSON LEARNED
You've heard the saying, "You are what you eat." Even more true is the fact that you are what you think and say. We can make ourselves miserable just by what we think about and talk about. I wasn't always aware of how thoughts and words affect my life. This was something I learned the hard way. About 18 years ago, I was a negative thinker and a complainer. And sure enough I was deeply unhappy. Complaining and focusing on the negative will always make you unhappy because you can't escape what you take everywhere. Our words and our thoughts are always with us.
I think the relationships that are most affected by thoughts and words are parent-child relationships and husband-wife relationships. Even families that sit in church every Sunday fail to discipline their thoughts and speech so that what they think about and say is in line with God's word. The bible warns us of the importance of speaking positive words and thinking good thoughts about people and life. But the temptation to dwell on the negative is always there waiting to bring us down.
Eighteen years ago I was the perfect example of a chronic complainer and a negative thinker. No one could do anything that pleased me. If I was invited somewhere, I would find a reason not to go and then when people went without me I would complain for being left out. I criticized people I was supposed to love, focused on everything I disliked about everyone, and felt there was something constantly wrong with my life. What was wrong was me and my big mouth and me and my dark thoughts.
Sometimes we do have reasons to complain. Getting through life without speaking a negative word or thinking a negative thought is impossible. But for some it's a way of life. And like a snowball grows as it rolls downhill, our unhappiness grows as we focus on the people and things in life that bother us.
Other than putting God first in our lives, I believe there is no greater thing we can do for our own happiness than to discipline our thoughts and words. If you don't believe me, try it. For one week refuse to think negative thoughts about any person or situation in your life. And dwell on the good, praiseworthy traits of others. Trade your complaints for compliments. Notice when someone does a good thing and mention it. Notice when something goes well in your life and praise God for it. After one week of focusing on the admirable qualities of others and the good things in your life, ask yourself how you feel.
I wish someone had told me a long time ago how I could change my life by changing my thoughts and my words. I wish someone would have told me how miserable I sounded with the words I spoke. My life was like a ball of dirt rolling down a hill and getting bigger each day. After living like that, I can't help but warn people about the power of words and thoughts. I would have been grateful if someone had warned me.