(Photo source: Kyle Broad via Unsplash.com)

(Photo source: Kyle Broad via Unsplash.com)

I was talking to a friend awhile back about the power of our thoughts and how they are busy creating our reality.

The conversation came up because she caught me in long train of negative comments about a situation in my life that was both less than ideal and also mostly out of my control. She pointed out my bad attitude.

At first, I resisted.

I told her I was just venting and that she was making a bigger deal out of it than it was. I tried to tell her I didn’t mean what I had said and that I was just trying to be funny or dramatic. She didn’t buy it.

“I wonder what would happen if you changed the way you think about this circumstance…” she said.

“What if you changed your mind?”

The whole thing made me feel upset at first. Changed my mind? Had she even been listening? I mean, wouldn’t a “positive spin” on a negative circumstance be kind of like lying?

Still, she pushed me…

“Our thoughts are busy creating our reality” she said.

I told her I wanted to agree with her, in theory, but that I was clearly having a hard time putting this into practice.

Honestly, I have to admit my long-time skepticism about this way of thinking.

In my mind, the whole thing felt a bit hokey, like a slippery slope to thinking I was somehow in charge of more than I really am.

I would tell myself that being critical and cynical was funny, that it was cute, that it was “just part of who I am”.


I would tell myself that being critical and cynical was funny, that it was cute, that it was “just part of who I am.”


But as I talked with my friend that day about cynicism and positive thinking, something unexpected happened. I began crying. Like, out of nowhere. She had taken the negative statement I was making about my situation (like, “my life is falling apart”) and turned it positive statement (“my life is coming together”) and then asked me to say it out loud.

I almost couldn’t do it. I was in tears.

As we talked more about it, I realized that my cynicism had, for a long time, been an incredibly effective form of self-protection for me. And if I was going to let down my cynicism, I was also going to have to let down my guard, too.

I was going to have to believe that something amazing was about to happen.

Hope takes so much courage.

When I get really honest about my cynicism and negativity, I have to admit that the reason it feels so comfortable to me is that it feels like it’s protecting me.

And in its own way, it is.

If we spend enough of our time worrying about things, complaining about things, criticizing things and judging other people, we get to avoid the terrifying work of fighting the raging battle of negative thoughts that is storming in so many of our lives.

Those negative thoughts dictate our feelings, which dictate our actions and, as such, silently steer our lives.

All of this is happening under the surface, like the small rudder that directs a giant ship.

This conversation happened almost a year ago now; and I’ve made a concerted effort to curb my negative thinking.

Life is not perfect. It never is. But I have seen dramatic and positive changes in my mood, my relationships, my career and my ability to deal with problems when they arise. Sometimes I’ll choose a thought to meditate on—like, “I am worthy of love”—and watch the following months as undeniably loving circumstances and people flood into my life.

In such a beautiful way, it makes me feel powerful and connected. It makes me feel like I have control and I have choices.

It feels like tiny little miracles unfolding all around me.

It’s true we don’t have total control over our lives.


But here’s what I’m learning: the most important thing we can control, the ONLY thing we can control, is our thoughts, which lead to emotions, which lead to actions.


But here’s what I’m learning: the most important thing we can control, the ONLY thing we can control, is our thoughts, which lead to emotions, which lead to actions.

This is the only fight we have to fight. It is the hardest fight we will ever fight.

No one else can fight it for us.

It matters so much how we tell our stories, especially to ourselves.

This blog post originally appeared on Storyline and was republished with permission.