It is imperative to do the work necessary to clear our minds of negative thoughts that harm our ability to grow through things. Typically many of us do not take the time to clear out and renew our minds because we are a society that is constantly moving. We live in a fast paced world that seems to get busier every day. We are overscheduled and sleep deprived. Like hamsters in wheels, we are constantly moving. We are juggling so many responsibilities in addition to managing our emotions, internal thoughts and private pain. When do we deal with ourselves? When do we schedule the time to “get our minds right”? How do we allow ourselves to grow through the challenges of life, heal from bad experiences all while maintaining our peace and a positive outlook on life?
We hold onto pain, trauma, stress and negative thoughts. So much so, that it begins to manifest itself in our personalities. Think about relationships or friendships. How many of you know someone who had the kindest, gentlest heart that becomes cynical, cold and bitter after a bad breakup? Their personality changes because the hurt, pain or betrayal was so great. Pain can change the very essence of your personality if you allow it. The truth is, who you become is a choice. Some allow pain to change them negatively, some allow themselves to be perpetual victims and some heal, learn and grow from pain and become stronger while maintaining the essence of who they are and who they want to become. Changing your mindset is an exercise of reclaiming the essence of who you are and not allowing people or situations to have the power to change who you are and who you want to be.
When my marriage ended, it was traumatic and devastating. I felt lost and alone. At that time in my life, I was broken by abuse and repeated disrespect and I left feeling completely helpless and defeated. I was a stay at home mom with three kids, no job, and no bank account of my own, a car or place to live. It was probably the darkest and lowest point of my life. I remember falling into a very dark depression. I didn’t leave my house very often and I looked a mess most days. I rarely smiled and was sad and angry. I was wallowing in “victim mentality”. All I could think about was what was happening to me.
What HE did to me and my kids? How much I didn’t deserve any of this? “Why did he get to move on and be happy with some random woman while I was left stressing over how I was going to maintain a roof over my children’s heads”?
I kept thinking how unfair all of this was. I was right, it was unfair and I didn’t deserve it but what was I going to do about it now? Was I just going to wallow in this space? It was like a light bulb went off in my head and I went into “auto pilot” mode. The heaviness of that relationship had taken its toll on my physical appearance. I started purging my clothes and his stuff, getting rid of it all. I looked at the pile of yoga pants and tee shirts and couldn’t believe how frumpy I allowed myself to look these past few years. I remember going to church and members would say I looked different, or I looked like I had lost weight. None of that was true; I just looked alive after years of being in dead relationship. I reached out to people I had distanced myself from. I allowed myself to laugh and I became determined to show my children a parent who was happy. They needed to see my smile and hear my laughter. I had to change my focus.
I created a checklist of tasks I wanted to complete. I was on my own now with three kids. I had to acknowledge that. I had to accept that I was a single parent with an ex-husband who refused to help in the care of his children. The three kids we had together were now my sole responsibility. It angered me and it wasn’t fair but it wasn’t something I had time to waste on. His abandonment and failure to be a responsible parent would be his cross to bear not mine. I had to release my anger towards him and forgive him. Time was of the essence. I had three children who needed me. I started looking for work and found a job in a few weeks. The idea of having my own paycheck again after spending 5 years as a stay at home mom fueled me even more. Slowly, things in my life started falling into place. Within the year, I had my own bank accounts, college savings for my children, a new car and a place to live. I was on my own, not just surviving but thriving. It was in that year that I knew how strong I really was. It was the year I blossomed into the woman I dreamt of being. I looked different, I spoke different, and I walked different. My strength, and confidence became visible and I felt powerful and amazing but grateful. I would have never made it out of that dark space, if I kept a “victim mindset”. I would have never found myself again had I not experienced that amount of trauma and pain in my life. I had to shift my focus from the one who caused my pain and focus on me. In changing my mindset, I changed my life. I took my power back, I found my strength and I learned a powerful lesson in the power of my own mind and spirit. It was the beginning of healing from the marriage that almost broke me.
The process of healing from that relationship began when I decided to stop being a victim of my circumstances and get to work creating a plan of action to change the course of my life. There are moments in our lives when things happen that are beyond our control. Creating a game plan for gave me something else to focus on instead of my pain, hurt or the feeling of failure. My list allowed me to see a better future. In spite of the hard times I experienced in the first few years after my marriage ended, I knew I was progressing towards a specific goal. It was the fuel I needed to keep me going when I felt like giving up. I had to change my focus and my mindset. I started to see a brighter future instead of a negative present and I started to act like a survivor in the midst of feeling like a victim. It was a life changing decision.
It was during that time that I also began writing daily. Writing allowed me a daily purging of emotions. As an author, songwriter, and blogger it’s a part of my job, but journaling is the gift that I give to myself. It’s personal and private. It’s my daily “mental bath” where I wash off the mental and emotional dirt that attempts to cloud my mind and disrupt my focus. I work through my emotions through journaling, meditation and sometimes just a good cry. On the days, where I’m feeling weak or down, I look through my journals and I’m reminded that even in the midst of my brokenness, struggles, my hurt or confusion, the place where I am right now is just a bump on the road and the journey is far from over. After all, I can see how far I’ve already come through my own words.
The key to clearing out your mind is to change your focus from your pain and hurt to your triumph, victory and peace. What’s your life goal, what’s the vision you have for your life? Write it down someplace you can see it, or carry it with you as a reminder to stay focused on the finish line. I speak more about this in my post, "Manifest the Vision". Achieving mental clarity and balance in our thoughts is a practice that allows us to remain positive, hopeful and optimistic even in the midst of bad choices, decisions, mistakes, and pain.
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