My dictionary defines mind-set as “a fixed mental attitude formed by experience, education, prejudice, etc.” The word “fixed” indicates something can’t or won’t be changed. But you’re more powerful than that.
Mind-set means your thinking mind is set in a certain way. I like the word “set” because it means you place something in a particular spot or way, like when you set a vase on a table. If you can set it, you can set it differently or in another place or direction.
Here’s how I’d re-word the definition of mind-set: a mental attitude inclined in a direction based on what you tell yourself that anything means, which means you can tell yourself anything, depending on how you decide to or prefer to set your mind about anything and everything.
You may believe events and others cause you to feel or think a certain way, but no one but you can set your mind about anything.
But . . . “Some things are real,” you may say.
Many things are what they are—usually because of what leads up to them, but we often tell ourselves way more than what’s actually going on. And then we believe what we tell ourselves . . . and then, because misery loves company, we set out to convince others as well.
Here’s an example. A workshop presenter shared that she had to learn to “fix” her face. When she wore no expression, her mouth’s natural shape was turned down, which made her look as though she was frowning, when she wasn’t. You can imagine the chatter about her that likely included, “She’s always in a bad mood,” when she wasn’t. Once she realized this, she began to practice deliberately shifting the corners of her mouth up just a bit so people wouldn’t judge her as angry or unfriendly. You could say the corners of her mouth are fixed in a downward direction, but she chose to fix this—in order to have different experiences and results. And others had fixed in their minds an opinion of her that was inaccurate.
One of the daily emailed quotes I receive came from The Talmud: “If you add to the truth, you subtract from it.”
If you have a result or experience you don’t like or want, look at the choices or actions that led to it so you know what to shift, and don’t add to it with comments like, “I’m such a (whatever negative you might say about yourself)” or any other version of that about life or others. When you add such criticisms about yourself (or life or others) rather than look at what is and what can be done differently, you diminish the truth of yourself in your mind. You set your mind against your Self. What experiences and results might you expect if you do this?
You can choose to keep an attitude fixed, but that is a choice (remember that clever phrase “hardening of the attitudes”?). I’ve heard people say things like, “I’m too old to change” or “It’s too late to change it now,” and even “That’s how God made me.” What’s between the lines is, “This behavior (or mind-set) meets an immediate need for me. It creates problems for me, but it’s a lot easier for me to repeatedly butt my head against this familiar wall than to risk facing what scares me or admit that my behaviors create some of my problems.”
How is your mind set about these?
● I have to be perfect, OR My significance is inherent and not dependent on being “perfect”.
● Who I am is not enough, OR I’m the only me there is so I enjoy and make the most of it, and expand who I am in the ongoing process of my life.
● Every day is difficult, OR Some things challenge me, but I’ve been meeting and going beyond challenges since God made dirt. If I allowed this to be easier, what would I do differently?
● Money worries are like a shadow I can’t shake, OR Every day I find a way to increase my contribution to others and feel great about the compensation that’s exchanged.
● People with money are to be belittled (and simultaneously envied), Or Having all the money (and even wealth) that supports my life feels right.
● I HAVE to be stressed, OR Sometimes I feel stressed about certain events, but I can decide if they are events I need to take action on, and take it, or whether it’s my thinking about events causing the stress, and shift this.
● I don’t have what it takes to be successful (work, relationships), OR I choose success and nothing less, and allow myself to have it.
When you get into bed to sleep, how is your mind set?
When you wake, how is your mind set?
When you do anything at all, how is your mind set?
You can meditate, affirm, and use all the techniques you know, but if your mind-set is not aligned with what you truly desire, and desire to be and experience, you’re butting your head (and life experience) against a too-familiar wall.
Specific mind-sets create matching experiences and results. How is your mind set?
You are what you practice.
© Joyce Shafer