Dr. Noelle Nelson

Get Picky With Your Thoughts!

Last week, I had a rather nasty disagreement with a colleague. Even though it got resolved – well, sort of – I found myself going over and over it in my mind. For days. Not a productive path to mental well-being, no way, no how.

I realized, somewhere amid my internal grousing, that I was letting my thoughts run me, instead of doing the intelligent thing–choosing deliberately the thoughts I dwell on. Huh! How about that? I am pickier about the produce I select at the store than I am about the thoughts I allow free rein through my mind. Pickier about what I’m going to wear on any given day, pickier about the gas I put in my car and pickier about pretty much everything else.

Enough already! I didn’t need to rehash the disagreement. What I needed to do was get picky about how I thought about it. I couldn’t very well shut off my brain, as tempting as that would be at times. So I returned to a truth I know that has served me very well over the years: people are always doing the best they can with what they’ve got from where they are at the time. That may not be their always “best,” it may not even look like any kind of best, but it is the best that is available to them, given what they know and where they’re at emotionally, mentally or physically.

That includes me. And apparently, grousing was the best I could do for a while. It doesn’t mean I had to stay stuck there. Reminding myself that I can certainly get picky about my thoughts helped me get back to a better place with myself–a saner perspective on the situation with my colleague.

Relief! So yes, get picky. Preferably not about other people–everyone has the right to think as they choose–but about yourself! About what occupies that space between your ears all day long. After all, don’t you want to be doing the best you can with what you’ve got from where you are? And I’ll bet your best is generally better than what you think it is.

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