Elul … Introspection, self reflection … Looking to the past for a stronger future: our thoughts.

Thoughts will float in and out of our mind. We have little control of that which might float in. But we do control what we do with the thought once it appears.

Some thoughts are useful, creative, powerful. And we ought to build on them to grow and propel upward. “I feel so blessed in my life.” “I want to do something special for my spouse.”

Some thoughts are neutral enough. “That was unusual to see.” And we can just move on with our day.

Some thoughts can negatively impact our lives, “I wish my spouse would be different.” “What a lousy day; I want out of this marriage.” “I hate my life.” These ought to be replaced with better thoughts.
– Sometimes with thoughts that are a better framing of the very situation. “My spouse isn’t home now and things are stressful, but it is short term.”
– Sometimes with entirely different thoughts, like a simpler, happier part of your life – a peaceful sunset, a past happy memory, an upcoming event.
– What is not helpful is to be beat yourself for having such thoughts. “Why am I thinking such thoughts, what is wrong with me?” That usually gives the initial quick thought more head space and the ability to grow bigger.

Is there a method to how you work with your thoughts? How do you determine which thoughts are worth building on and which ought to be challenged and reframed or redirected? What might be an interesting ‘alternative replacement thought’ for those times that inappropriate thoughts pop up?

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