|Traffic slowed ahead. Then I saw why. Five police cars were stopped on both sides and middle of the road, blue lights shining brightly. |
Driving slowly past, looking to see what was the cause, I saw a young man sitting in the middle of the road, his back against a police car door, hands behind him. He was looking up and around, with a bewildered expression. Five police officers stood nearby, not talking to him. My first thoughts were that he’d broken into a home, or tried to steal something from a store, to feed a habit… but I don’t know what the situation was.
Then I wondered about his life, what kind of upbringing he’s had, how his thoughts about himself and his possibilities have contributed to him being in that terribly sad, bad situation. I prayed for him and for the police. As I turned the corner, it hit me that his thoughts about himself, and their thoughts about him, could be set in deep ruts. That made me think of my recent Sunday messages to you.
As hard as it may be for you to climb out of whatever rut you’re in, you can start.
As difficult as the goal — or that frustrating person or challenging situation — may be, once you’re aware your thinking is in a rut about it, you can start pushing yourself toward a new line of thinking.
The brain is flexible and filled with ruts and pathways. When you practice shifts in thinking, you create new paths for the journey that is all yours.
Here are 10 steps to shift your thinking:
1) Awareness that your thinking about something or someone is in a rut
2) Think about what keeps you there
3) Willingness to shift – a shift can feel more doable than a change
4) Visualize the outcomes of continuing as is
5) Visualize the outcomes from shifting to different thoughts and actions
6) Identify a specific thought or action that is not serving you well
7) Name its positive opposite, be specific
8) Jot that positive opposite and put it where you’ll read it every day
9) Say it to yourself at least 3x/day – aloud is best
10) Acknowledge your progress
You can do it. If you’d like to talk about what you’re in a rut about, I’d love to help you. If you’ve already started a climb out, I’m eager to hear about your progress!