We often go into a victim mode in our thoughts without even realizing it. A train of thought may look like this: “My neighbor just bought a new car, look how fancy it is, she must have gotten a promotion. I was overlooked again and did not get promoted despite my hard work. And I am stuck with this job without any prospects of advancement and I don’t even have enough vacation days, unlike my sister who has 30 days of paid vacation per year. This is so unfair…”.
And on and on your thoughts lead you to a negative state of mind which ruins your day. You become bitter, resentful, and snappy. I have been there too, comparing myself with others, projecting, judging… Don’t beat yourself over this, everyone’s mind is going through similar states. What you can do as a first step in changing this negative racing thought pattern is to recognize it. That’s all it is needed actually. As you go into a downward spiral of self-pity, negativism, regrets, jealousy, self-blame, just stop and acknowledge it: “Oh, here I go again…” This immediately breaks the thought pattern.
I will be honest; your mind will find something else to lament for. It will immediately start analyzing another problem that you currently have. “Well, how can I be content if my dishwasher is broken, and I cannot wash my dishes, and it is Sunday evening, and I have to go to work tomorrow, and I don’t have clean plastic containers for my lunch. So, I must start washing everything now, and pack my lunch. Now I have to wash all the dishes instead of enjoying my evening and tomorrow I go to work where I am not appreciated…” All you need is to recognize and acknowledge that you are aware of your thought pattern: “Ok, here I go again”.
As you start recognizing this thought pattern, you can think of something that you are grateful for in this entire situation. For example, your train of thought may be something like this: “I need to do the laundry today, I have tons of laundry, and then I need to iron my work clothes, and by the way, I also need to wash the blanket as my cat just threw up a hairball on it. I am brushing my cat every day and I am still cleaning hairballs twice a week. Why is nobody helping me with the laundry, I am the only one in the house doing it, and cleaning the litter box… And, goodness, I need to clean the litter box too. I am so overwhelmed…”
Think of the positive angle in this situation. It might be something along the line of: “I have to clean hairballs twice a week, but I love my cat, she is curling next to me and giving me comfort when I watch TV. I like her purring; it calms me down and I feel content.” Or “I enjoy folding laundry and watching my favorite TV shows. I have so much laundry to fold but I can catch up on the new episodes.”
A positive gratifying thought will distract your mind and give you a fresh perspective that things are not as bad as your mind makes them. You will soon realize that you can choose the direction of your thoughts that will lead you to either contentment or resentment. Count your blessings in every situation and you will be amazed that your day is ripe with opportunities for positive experiences.