• Melissa McGrath

We Become What we Focus on

“Your thoughts are a catalyst for self-perpetuating cycles. What you think directly influences how you feel and how you behave” This quote I read recently says in a nutshell, how we are able to continue on with a path that regardless of knowing it is not helpful, still we do. You know the old saying the more we practice at something the better we get – well that can very much apply to getting good at negative thoughts! Or as noted in the picture/saying heading the article, what we feed through focussing on it, will be sure to grow.

‘I am too old to change careers now’ ‘I have been in this relationship so long how would I know how to start again’ ‘I know I desperately want to lose 10 kilo, to be healthier, look better, but if I try I'll just fail’ ‘I am not such an interesting person, why would someone want to hang out with me’ the list could go on. You might have heard of labels like self-limiting beliefs or negative self-talk, but the crux of it is after telling ourselves these things for long enough our minds will believe it. Then when we do fail at something it is easy to use that as evidence. See the cycle? A cycle we have created ourselves.

How about instead, the idea of * I hate my job and have always wanted the satisfaction of doing something I would really love. Who cares how old I am and do I really want to look back in 10 years cranky with myself that I never bothered having a shot * Every day I wake up I wonder how it is I am still in this unsatisfying relationship. I deserve happiness and laughter. I know it could be scary taking the step to jump but is it way scarier to be in the same place this time next year and now one year older * I know in the past I have had no commitment to weight loss / quitting cigarettes / drinking less, but why not set a goal of success. Imagine how proud I will be in 2-3 short months * Or I am just as interesting as anybody else, I know I have things that I am good at and I am a kind and generous person that others would love to get to know if only I got out there more.

We can either feed and focus on the negatives, or feed and focus on positive thoughts. And yes there will be days that it is just too difficult to do the latter and that’s Ok. Let that day go. After actively paying attention to the glass is half full concept over time, as opposed to it being half empty, you would be surprised how your mindset will make permanent changes to thought patterns.

Have you ever heard of the Law of Attraction, or manifesting? These are concepts that are a step up again, but the idea is still the same. It is all about challenging the current perceptions. Once you have an idea about yourself it is very easy to look for evidence to prove that thought right. And when things go right it will be easy to say that it was a fluke. That is because once in this negative trap we like to keep proving it. But what if you decided instead to challenge that idea, that belief that you are holding with all your might? You might actually have to admit that it is exaggerated, that it is entrenched because you keep feeding it, or that it has come from a limitation in life that somebody else put on you. It might sound like a catch phrase from a yoga workshop but we really do create our own reality. And it does require a complete mind shift to undo entrenched ideas that up til now we have refused to part with.

To provide insight into a personal experience, I will refer to when my ex husband and I parted ways after 20 years. Whilst we both knew our partnership was no point and events had taken place that were irreparable, it did not lesson my anxiety or fears about ‘where to now?’ Here I was at 42 years old, healthy, capable, qualified in two careers and living in one of the most beautiful parts of the country. However, my self talk went a little bit like this ‘Oooh myyy God what is to become of my life! My kids will finish school and leave home and I will be all alone. How on earth do you date at this age and who do you find that wouldn’t be somebody else’s old problem anyway. I’m not going to have enough money when I’m older after we split everything up. I’m doomed to watching every re-run of Gossip Girl on Friday nights’ Bla bla bla – apparently the next meteorite about to fall was bound to hit my house if you had asked me back then.

Luckily, I had a good friendship base and over coming months I slowly started to emerge from the fog. I read anything and everything I could get my hands on mind you, self-help books primarily. Then when word got out in the reasonably small seaside town I resided in that I was single, even the dating offers started to come in. Granted some seemed more trouble than my ex-husband, but some were not. The point being that low and behold, apparently I wasn’t to become a mad cat woman or a wino after all.

Now the biggest thing that happened between point (a) and point (b) in my divorce recovery was that I completely changed what I ‘fed’ in my mind, what I focussed on. I decided my life was going to be fantastic. I decided I was going to have fun because for too many years I had not. I decided I had wasted so much time on someone undeserving that I would only seek out and spend time with men and women who were inspiring and uplifting. I won’t say that process was simple, easy or quick. In fact that took about 2 years bit by bit. But just say I had never bothered. Here I would be a decade later now with my earlier doom and gloom self-fulfilling prophecies probably having come true. And I have known several people whereby that has been the case.

If you take nothing more than this as food for thought today that is fine. An understanding that we create a lot of our own reality. We just do. If you know you are unduly focussed on self-limiting beliefs but are not ready for the leap forward just yet, at the least take a small step by waking up tomorrow morning telling yourself ‘there is at least one changed thought holding me back that I will unpack by year’s end’.

If you do wish to discuss how Clinical Hypnotherapy can be a catalyst for change, a pathway to fine tuning existing thought processes, please don't hesitate to jump up the top to our enquiries form and let me know. Also, if you feel there is someone who may benefit from this or any other of the Blog topics, feel free to share.


#anxietysupport #separation #divorcesupport #moving forward #happiness

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