For weeks, I did nothing. I laid in bed, darkness surrounding me, and immersed myself into the world of social media and Netflix. I mean, it was all I had to do, right? My anxiety and sadness increased. My loved ones began to believe I was descending into the deep cavern of depression all over again. In fact, if I'm being honest, I probably was. In my eyes, my purpose and future was gone (although now I know these thoughts were illogical, but mental illness never is logical).
I'll admit it, I played the victim. We're all guilty of that sometimes, without even realizing it. In my head, negative thoughts were taking over the positive ones. I stopped being kind to myself, not showing myself the tiniest ounce of compassion.
I stopped working on myself and growing for an entire month. Then, my partner confronted me. He pointed out that I had stopped moving. I was no longer trying to be happy, nor attempting to create my dream life. In other words, I gave up.
"What changed?" I thought.
Then it hit me. I stopped being aware of my inner-dialogue. I was running on auto-pilot. I let whatever thought popped into my head take the wheel, and was not intentional with my self-communication. Here's how I turned that around and keep it up today.
If we want to live life to our fullest potential and achieve extraordinary amounts of happiness, awareness is one of the most important tools. We self-communicate every second of our lives. Although it's impossible to control every single thought we have, we can be aware of our self-dialogue. The easiest way to become aware of our thoughts is to sit down periodically and assess our feelings.
At least a few times a day, I stop and assess how I'm currently feeling. Am I sad? Am I anxious? Am I happy? Our emotions normally coincide with our thoughts, and they are more easily tracked. If we know how we are feeling, it is simpler to replace our negative thoughts with more positive ones.
Yes, you heard that right, I talk to myself all the time. And no, I'm not crazy (at least I think so!). Once I know what emotion I'm feeling, I either keep up the dialogue I'm having in my head, or change it around to more productive thoughts.
I know what you may be thinking. Changing our thoughts isn't always easy, as they come automatically. However, once we are aware of our thoughts, we can work at changing them to ones that will have a better impact on our lives.
"I can do this."
"I deserve happiness."
"I am a successful person.'
Yes, positive affirmations sound cliche, but they work. If we use the right words in our head, we start to believe them.
Once I am aware of my feelings and work at changing any ineffective thoughts to effective ones, I live according to them. Although at first we may not believe these new thoughts, it's important to push ourselves to live the way our productive inner-communication wants us to.
Perhaps you told yourself that you are an expert in your profession. Act like it. Try your absolute best and complete quality work. Maybe you are a college student who tells yourself that you are a smart person who is capable of straight A's. Again, act like it. Study like crazy and put your best effort forward.
We may not feel like we are accomplishing what we want yet, but I urge you to just keep forcing yourself and acting the part. Our self-communication is heavily connected to our actions. As long as we keep moving in the right direction, we start to believe that this is the person we are, and that's the first step to actually becoming the person we want to be.
It's important to know that change is not going to happen right away. It takes practice, and a lot of it to master these steps. Even when we think we might have mastered them, it's vital to keep practicing, as we can always keep improving. Before we know it, these actions will come naturally to us.