Friday, February 5, 2010

Simplicity: Letting Go of Unnecessary

One of the biggest aids to simplicity of life is letting go of pointless & unhelpful thoughts. These types of thoughts distract us from enjoying the fullness of life around us and plague our minds with empty trivialities that just plain don't matter. A few tracks of thought come to mind from my own life as being particularly absorbing, controlling & really unnecessary.
  • Judging other people
  • Criticizing unessential details
  • Worrying
  • Playing worst-case-scenario
  • Over-analyzing
  • Over-preoccupying about unessential details
My dad's motto for 2010 is "Live positively." So instead of a head full of negativity go with: "Whatever things are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, if there is any virtue and anything praiseworthy, think about these things." Philippians 4:8 (paraphrased a bit by me)
Maybe a good test is, "Is there anything good about what I'm thinking? No excuses or justifications!" It definitely isn't easy to consider the goodness of each thought, but I guess there are plenty of thoughts to practice on.

In my own life, sometimes stepping out of negativity can be quite difficult, especially recently. I'm on a serious acne medication right now that includes "depression" as one of the side effects. I'm usually a positive person, so dealing with that particular side effect has been quite interesting since it manifests itself as negativity & extreme frustration. It doesn't rear its ugly head often, but when it does, I typically need several hours before I can stop obsessing about whatever detail set me off & think as a normal, rational person.

My mitigation effort came from an unusual source, a healthy lifestyle challenge at work. Part of the Game On challenge is choosing one bad habit you would like to break & my bad habit is giving in to negativity. Knowing that I'll be letting my team down by getting angry or frustrated & taking it out on some unknowing, completely innocent friend is extra motivation for me to identify when I'm starting to get frustrated and be able to process the situation before I do or say something stupid. In the last 4 weeks or so, I have been able to work through certain frustrations much better than before, but there's still plenty of work to be done. Keeping my thoughts positive & rejecting unnecessary thoughts is definitely part of that! And hopefully I'll be off this acne med in 3-4 months and I can return to my normal, positive self!

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