When it comes to holiday shopping, careers, relationships, life happiness, or basically anything, for that matter, it IS the thought that counts. In fact, it may be the ONLY thing that matters.
I “should” be holiday shopping RIGHT NOW, if I want to get gifts to my family before December 25.
But I’m not. I’m procrastinating. I love my family. I want to get them gifts, but right now my bank account might not agree with my desire.
I can assure you, the LAST thing anyone in my family wants is for me to spend money I don’t have.
So why am I even considering it?
Pride. Tradition. Because this is what I always do. Because I don’t want to admit to myself, much less my family, that maybe it’d be wiser for me to hang on to that cash. Because this is what we do as a family, and I don’t want to be the first one in the family who can’t afford it.
I’m telling myself that I HAVE to buy them gifts.
But do I? Really? According to the gospels of Walmart, Amazon, Best Buy and Target?
The truth is, my pride is eating at me.
The thought that’s motivating me the most is not a pretty one: “I don’t want to look like a loser in front of my family.”
That’s not a good reason to do anything.
What I tell myself determines how I think about the world and the results I get.
Look at the self-fulfilling prophecy I would be creating if I stuck with the “I’m a loser if I can’t buy Christmas gifts for my family.” I’d probably buy gifts I can’t necessarily afford to prove to myself that I’m not a loser. And then I’d be saddled with credit card debt and high interest rates that would cost me even more money that I can’t afford.
Seems kind of loser-y, doesn’t it?
What we think matters. Thoughts trigger our emotions and drive our actions. (Or inaction.)
I can choose to think, “I don’t want to look like a loser in front of my family” or I can choose to think: “I want to show my family I love them.” My brain will start looking for evidence to prove whichever thought I’ve chosen. If I choose thought #2, I start wondering…hmmmm…how else can I show them that I love them?
Even now, as I write that thought, my brain has started to consider possibilities. The creative juices have re-directed their energy from the “I’m a loser” type of thought to considering what I can do to let everyone know how much they mean to me. This is far more energizing than tearing myself down.
The good news is we can change what we think.
It takes work, especially if we’ve had years of practicing a negative belief pattern. When we start to become aware of our thoughts and the impact they have on us, it also makes it possible for us to think something different, thereby creating new neural pathways in our brains.
Changing our thoughts gives us the power to change our lives. We don’t have to wait for someone else to make us happy. We create our own happiness.
Isn’t that the best gift ever?