I rarely do this, but I’m piggy-backing on an article I saw this week by Dr. Carol Morgan. She matches my on conviction with one of her mottos, “Change your thinking, change your life.” My own version is—

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It’s really hard to think crooked and walk straight

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If you haven’t thought about it yet, it is way past time. The way you think about cooking, sales, schooling, love, relationships, driving, playing boggle or Catan, communication, money, government, and makeup ALL affect how you act and react. I used to worry a fair amount about everyone being happy / pleased / grateful toward me. One day, however, wrestling with this brought me to a fresh conclusion as I read how someone else came to grips with the issue by thinking differently. I realized —

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No matter what, about 1/3 of the people who get to know you will love you…about 1/3 will hate you…and about 1/3 won’t care about you either way!

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That may sound discouraging to you, but it gave me a fresh way to appreciate the supportive people in my life (P.S. Jesus, Socrates, and Lincoln’s numbers where a good bit lower 😉 So, how do you change your thinking away from toxic misbeliefs? Dr. Morgan’s article has some good thoughts (12 Poisonous Thoughts That Are Sabotaging Your Life) about this issue. In fact, here’s her list:

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1. Thinking that you are a victim.
2. Thinking that you can change other people.
3. Thoughts that constantly resist “What Is.”
4. Thinking that “The Grass is Always Greener on the Other Side.”
5. Having expectations of other people.
6. Thinking that having a significant other will complete you.
7. Feeling that you always need to prove that you are right.
8. Worrying about what other people think.
9. Thinking there is only ONE right and ONE wrong.
10. Worrying about the future because you feel unprepared.
11. Thinking that money equals happiness.
12. Believing that the past determines your future.

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Identifying them doesn’t ‘cure’ them, so what do you do? The most ready-to-use answer is to learn how to argue with yourself (Lord knows you CAN argue if you were ever a teen!). Most of the problem is that these kinds of toxic thoughts get to the level of belief or assumptions. When they get there they are ‘automatic’ in that you just aren’t aware of them influencing your decisions and behaviors.

So, how do you argue with them? Start by answering this one question, “What are 3 reasons this might be wrong?” Honestly, if you’ll start doing that (and adding reasons as you go) you will see this practice start to loosen the toxic thought’s grip on you.You can doubt anything if you question it enough. The other thing to do is to find out what is true and think about that in addition to arguing with yourself. Personally, the Bible has been my best source for this step. Hope this helps.

Off to learn,

Fred Ray Lybrand

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