Friday, December 6, 2013


Proverbs 23:7

King James Version (KJV)
For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.

For thousands of years, humans debate the power of thoughts.  The recent controversy over articles written about how rich people vs. poor people think caught my attention.  I was highly amused by a comment on one of the articles that said, "It can't be that easy."  It is and it isn't.  Our thoughts never shut down.  In sleep, there is an actual jump in brain activity.  Every experience is recorded, processed and added to the vast amount of information that makes up who we are.  Way early in our marriage, my husband and I experienced some hard times.  Worry about paying bills, feeding kids, and how to make ends be not-so-far-apart littered every conversation.  (There was little hope of the ends actually meeting.)  I realized then that some people thought poor.  They dressed poorly, ate poorly, and believed themselves to be trapped.  I know what if feels like to believe I was trapped.  Over the years, I observed and watched others and changed my own thinking.  I know about victim thinking, survivor thinking, and I am learning about thriving thinking.  When I thought poor, I didn't mend our clothes.  I didn't care what I looked like.  I didn't even get dress some days.  I didn't care for myself.  I did what I had to do to get by.  I started changing my thinking all those years ago.  I made sure our clothes were mended and clean.  I learned that eating simply and frugally took a bit more time than running to a fast food place but it saved money.  Until I started working full time, we rarely ate out.  I learned that eating healthy meant fewer doctor visits.  We moved to California for a year.  The area we lived in was very wealthy.  At church, we were discussing budgeting our money.  The speaker talked about how he and his sons decided to mow their own lawn to save money, I realized that the man had no idea what my circumstances were like.  I remember watching a movie about a man that locked up his credit cards and lived on the streets like his son had, trying to make a connection with his estranged son.  His son yelled at him that he still didn't understand because the father had the safety net of the bank accounts if he needed to bail.  The son's, pride prevented from asking his father, knew no such luxury.  I don't remember if the movie had a happily-ever-after ending.  I just understood what the son meant.  

In counseling, I talked about my thoughts.  How I saw the world and my reaction to it.  KavinCoach told me about victim thinking and how my own thoughts chained me to my past that I didn't remember.  I couldn't grasp what he meant.  Progress was slow as he taught me how my thoughts and fears kept me locked in victim mode.  I exclaimed, "What? Do I have a sign on me that says abuse me?"  His answer rocked my world.  He said, "Yes."  He then explained that how I walked, how I responded to people, how I reacted all screamed victim.  Predators lock on to these behaviors and know how to manipulate a victim.  Changing my thinking changed how I walked, talked and responded to people.  I remember the week I was given the assignment to ask someone for something with the expectation the person would say yes.  My husband and I went to Frazolli's.  Near the end of the meal, I went to the counter and asked for more bread sticks.  I was so happy when they gave them to me.  When I reported my success to KavinCoach, he stared at me for a second or two then said, "They give anyone more bread sticks."  I prattled on, "I know but I did it."  This one experience showed KavinCoach how badly damaged my thinking was, I didn't believe I could ask for a bread stick.  There was a time in my life that I worked 3 part time jobs.  Combined the income covered food for our growing teenagers.  I knew what it is like to come home exhausted from one job to turn around and have to be at the next job in an hour.  I don't know all the answers.  I don't have the answers to the poverty that most of the world lives in.  I know I am blessed to be working one job and my husband is working another.  We have enough to meet our needs with a little extra.  I still worry, but I also feel so blessed.  I know that Cadillac taste on a Volkswagen budget leads to misery.  I know some people that are very poor that are happy.  I know some people that are very rich that are just miserable.  The young man in the comments said, "It can't be that easy."  I bet he has never been in counseling.  Changing my thinking patterns is one of the toughest things I have ever done.  However, it is worth the effort.      

My thoughts are as unsubstantial as a shadow but can lock me up tighter than any prison. 

1 comment:

Evan said...

Our experience is a combination of us (including our thoughts) and our situation.

Our thoughts can make a difference to our happiness and also to our action (what options we perceive are possible for us and so on). This is where the possible change to external circumstances (including the financial) comes in I think.

But we won't just think away injustice. For injustice to disappear our new thoughts need to lead to new actions and institutions.