In her email today, Mrs. Frugalwoods says:
Today’s mantra: Once we get past the debilitating position of trying to define ourselves by our things, we can express gratitude for what we have instead of anguish over what we don’t have.
Today’s action: Look around you and list everything you’re thankful for.
In psychology, this is called “reframing” – taking what is around you, what is bothering you, and putting it into another viewpoint. To put it bluntly, it’s called thinking! So often it is easy to react, and not give some thought to what is going on.
Reflecting on things helps us deal with reality and emotions and to make decisions about things. It is not an easy process because some of us are very emotional and have a hard time thinking (me!). Emotions can trip a person up unless they are considered carefully, and the illogical quality of emotions can create a whole sea of conflict. This is why something as a mind shift or exercise as “practice an attitude of gratitude” is very powerful – it is action without denying a reality, whatever that reality is for the individual.
I think all of us deal with comparing ourselves and what we don’t have on multiple levels. Upbringing, something someone says. External forces can negatively impact internal realities. We want to stop internal pain with something, and we all know that there are a lot of things out there to distract us – one being spending money on stuff, or drugs, or alcohol, or whatever. Failing to address internal pain leads to external behavior that can be potentially dangerous and/or self-destructive. Feeling trapped is no fun, and learning to get untrapped can be a hard and difficult journey, alone or with someone to help. Backsliding introduces guilt, and a cycle of negative thoughts – a failure to be perfect like everyone else – and problems begin again.
It is important to think, just as it is important to feel. Feelings are not always clear or logical, nor is thinking. Analyzing reality is vital to seeing what is happening – cause and effect. It can be as simple as understanding that a negative attitude can breed negative responses, but practicing attitudinal shifts takes time and work. Money is emotional for many of us, as is feeling inferior to others.
Saying “what” when in pursuit of truth is much less emotionally laden with guilt and other negative emotions than “how come?” or why?” For me, choosing “what” has always the best route to find the cause and the effect without making myself feel inferior and worthless. And, it is a great tool to getting onto a good financial path, as well as presenting reasons – not reactions – to why some choices are better than others.