I’m not going to say a word about politics.  I’m not going to say a word about new gun laws or regulation. Although looking back at what I just typed I did mention those words. But that’s just it, they’re only words. And words only have power if we let them.

I’ve written before about my Mom’s motto, “Sticks and stones will break your bones but names will never hurt you.” But she also used to say, “Actions speak louder than words.” Of course my smart aleck Dad would jokingly say, “Do as I say not as I do.” But there is truth in that saying as well.  Well I think there is.

You and I’ve both watched people who say one thing and do another. Although I’ve been that guy too! I wouldn’t say I knowingly was acting in a way contrary to what I preached but I know there have been times when my actions didn’t match what I was saying. Growing up in a fundamentalist Christian household that was always a big no-no. Mom would say things like, “You can’t very well act one way in church on Sunday then turn around and act another way the other six days of the week.” I tried to do that Mom, I really did.  Actually, I still do, which is the point of this seemingly pointless blog entry.

Today, a friend asked for advice on how to handle stress.  She was seeking a way to deal with a common problem so many people face. Years ago stress brought me to my knees. I would get so anxiety ridden I’d have dizzy spells, hyperventilate, get sick, lose weight, lose my appetite and generally lose the ability to function. I was prescribed different types of anti-anxiety medication but it didn’t seem to do any good. Then one night I was sitting watching PBS and there was a guy on there talking about me. Okay, he may not have been talking about me but his words were most definitely speaking to me. I went out the next day and purchased the book “The Power of Intention” by Dr. Wayne Dyer. I read it once, studied it the second time through and finally started applying some of it to my life. It was pretty amazing. I won’t go into detail about the contents but one lesson I do my best to apply each and every day is, “If we change our thoughts we change our lives.” It seemed simple enough but boy it’s a difficult task to achieve.

Perhaps it has to do with our amazing minds. We have the ability to recall so many emotions from our past. Unfortunately for many of us, we also recall many times in lives we would rather forget. I was however, challenged to think back to those unfortunate events, my subsequent reactions and my eventual response. And when I thought about them, I realized that many of the negative emotions I associated with those things didn’t solve anything.  My frustration, regret, anger, sadness, envy or worry only made those events and my memory of them more painful. So why think of them that way?

I decided to make it my lifelong goal to change the way I look at things, the change way I remember things and to change the way I respond to things. For nearly 12 years now I’ve adopted this new way of life, and even though I still drop the ball once in a while, I can honestly say my life is so much simpler. I’m not going to pretend that my initial responses to things aren’t sometimes negative because they do.  However, I’m now able to have those feelings and then turn my thoughts to something positive. I challenge you to the same.

Let’s say you’re on Facebook and someone posts something that offends you. Your first instinct is to write something back like, “How dare you say something like that?”  Or perhaps, “I can’t believe you feel that way?”  What happens when you respond in that matter usually creates a long thread of back and forth negative comments that really go nowhere and only serves to get two or more parties really upset.  *Heavy sigh* Just today I read numerous Facebook posts that evoked a lot of negative thoughts in my head. Some part of me wanted to shout at them for saying such awful things, but I quickly realized it wouldn’t solve anything; not really. So, I read the post, felt some negative emotions, I hid the post from my timeline and moved on. I felt relieved knowing I didn’t allow myself to get pulled into that negative stream of consciousness. And that’s what it is. And it doesn’t only happen on social media. It happens every day in real life as well.

Which takes me back to words and my friend who is stressed out; heck even the word stressed out makes me stressed.  J Actually it no longer has that effect on me. I guess I just don’t look at it that way any longer, or more accurately I don’t think of it that way anymore.  I am in no way trying to belittle someone’s right to get worked up about something. We all do it from time to time. We are after all, human beings. By all means, feel those feelings we are so blessed to possess. But we just shouldn’t dwell on them. It’s damaging to our minds, our bodies and our souls. Plus, life is too damn short to spend “stressed out”. So instead, when we’re feeling stressed we can ask ourselves what exactly is it that is stressing us out in the first place? Is it something that is beyond our control? Is it a possible negative scenario our mind has created to keep us in that stressed out zone? I found over the past 12 years that in most cases all amount of stress in the world, all the worry, all the freaking out over something that I was certain was the end all of my existence was indeed…not. Getting worked up never solved anything it only made it worse.

So words…yes those sometimes hateful, thoughtless, useless, demeaning, argumentative words…yea they aren’t cool.  But people say them all the time don’t they? And those too only have power over our emotions if we let them. When I read those things or hear them come out of people’s lips I shake my head and think, “Now why would they say such a thing?” Then I think, “I hope they find they peace they need some day.” And you know what? I feel better!

When I started writing this I had every intention on concentrating on “actions speak louder than words”. Guess I just wrote some of these words so I better start putting them into action huh?

Namaste