Imagine this…An unexpected guest walks into your house. Delighted to have some company, you invite them in, usher them to the most comfortable sofa and offer a cup of tea. The guest is flattered by your hospitality. As they sip the tea, you entertain them with funny anecdotes that has them roaring with laughter. Seconds, minutes and then an hour passes by. The guest is now so comfortable that he/she shows no signs of leaving. You then invite them to stay for dinner. They agree. And another few hours roll by. By now, you’re uncomfortable because you have all those chores piling up but how do you simply ask your guest to leave? So you half-heartedly offer dessert. And of course, your guest says yes. Another hour later, unable to take it anymore, you start giving subtle hints that they’ve overstayed their welcome. Finally, at the end of your tether, you request your guest to leave.
Why do I tell this little story? Because that’s exactly what we do with the negative thoughts that arrive at our mind’s doorstep without warning.
Let’s say, bang in the middle of the day, it suddenly occurs to you that you’re a complete failure, that your entire life has been meaningless, that you’ve achieved nothing and that none of your dreams have come true. That’s the doorbell announcing your unexpected guest.
You welcome the thought in because it gives your mind something to do. You start feeding the thought with tea/snacks/dinner/dessert. That is, you start finding all the different reasons why you are indeed a failure. Proof after proof that nothing good has ever happened to you. Like your unwanted guest who was delighted by your generous hospitality, your negative thought puffs up with all the attention you shower on it. It leads you, cunningly, down memory lane into all the nooks and crannies of your life, pointing out your most humiliating, embarrassing moments.
You get more and more dejected, wallowing in self-pity. You know your time is getting wasted by these futile thoughts, but by now you’re paralysed and unable to banish your no-longer-welcome guest. By the time you’ve finished crying and cursing your luck, the precious hours when you could’ve been productive have gone….disappeared forever. And you’re left with a sense of emptiness and self-loathing. What could have been a beautiful and positive day boiled down to nothing more than a colossal waste of time.
The next time a negative thought comes knocking at your door, take a moment to recognise it. As soon as you recognise the thought, visualise the damage it has the power to unleash. Tell it firmly and politely that today you can’t play host as you’ve got other things to do. Stay at your front-door waving goodbye and don’t turn your back on it until it’s well and truly out of sight. Turn around and get started with the first positive thing you can think of that’ll move you forward.
Negative thoughts are floating around us 24 hours a day. They really have no agenda in life and have all the time in the world to keep you company. If you show the slightest encouragement, they’ll settle down, never to leave.
These thoughts don’t disappear by magic. YOU must lead them out yourself and then put a ‘Do not Disturb’ placard on your door.
Your time is precious. The sooner you let unwelcome guests know that, the more liberated you’ll be.
Nim Gholkar, 2018
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