INSIDE OUT

Yes, I am writing about the new Disney/Pixar movie. Went to see it twice: once with grandson and once with granddaughter. Cute, fast moving, perky and a story to tell. We all liked it. The importance of the movie for me was it’s illustration of one of my core beliefs about people: WE ARE WHAT WE THINK. During the film, viewers meet five characters that reside in the “brain control center” of Riley, the 12 year old main character. Each one represents a feeling/action/response pattern: JOY, FEAR, ANGER,DISGUST and SADNESS. Whichever character gets to the control panel and speaks first into Riley’s brain directs her response to whatever is the current situation. If Joy gets there first Riley is happy, if it is Anger—you get the idea.

This is the process (very simplified) that occurs in my head and yours. I hear the alarm clock. I think:
1. Guess I’ll get up and start the day. (neutral)
2. I hate that lock. (negative)
What I DO next and how I FEEL is directly related to my thoughts. Humans are not cartoon characters created and controlled by animators. We can have control over our thoughts and actions, if and when we make the choice to be in charge. When we don’t make the choice, an automatic habitual response takes over and we float down the familiar path of least resistance, again. The mood of our day is set into motion by a thought we don’t even remember and wouldn’t think very important if we did.

Obviously I have used a simple example so it is easy to break down. You can see the cause and effect relationship between the thought, and the feeling and behavior that follow. Try one of your own. Pick a recurring activity you have a negative response to: laundry, cooking, cleaning, exercise, paying bills. Think of your normal response and then rethink it to make it as positive as possible. Let’s not get crazy and say “I love cleaning toilets”. Instead of “I hate doing laundry”, you could say “It only takes a few minutes to put the laundry in”. Another example is “I am so glad I have an automatic washer and dryer”.

Taking control of thoughts takes a ton of work. The implications of changing our thoughts, thus your feelings and behavior are unlimited. Being the master of my thoughts is the first step in being the master of my behavior. It brings JOY to be positive and we can see more beauty when we’re not grumpy.

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