Friday, September 26, 2014

Do Your Thoughts Rub You the Wrong Way?

There is a phrase, “That person rubs me the wrong way,” that basically means the person (though it could also apply to a situation) doesn’t make you feel good and, in fact, irritates you. You, at times, do this to yourself with your thoughts (most of us do). So, what works to shift this?

This topic reminds me of that old joke where the patient tells the doctor that hitting his head against the wall gives him a headache. He asks the doctor what can be done about the pain. The doctor replies, “Stop hitting your head against the wall.” Seems obvious, but we do this to ourselves in many ways and more often than we realize.
I’m always amazed when I do this to myself. It’s as though particular situations that crop up cause a form of temporary amnesia and I, at least for a little while, forget what I know about Source and how everything works based on past experiences that proved the Truth. If you’re nodding your head in agreement because you do this too, I ask you to pay attention to which situations lead you down this path. It’s likely the same types each time. These are trigger points bringing our attention to issues (or beliefs) that we haven’t as yet resolved in our favor.

Esther Hicks of Abraham fame has a video on YouTube, “Now Is Where All Your Power Is, Part 2,” where she likens feeding negative thoughts—any thoughts that take you out of feeling good—with rubbing your hand on sandpaper. You wouldn’t deliberately rub your hand on sandpaper for an extended period of time because it would hurt, remove skin, require healing, maybe lead to infection, and so on. But, you will rub your thoughts in this way: it’s a habit that seems logical because it is a widespread social, and especially familial, practice. It’s likely that nearly everyone you know does this from time to time. You may have worked yourself, or watched someone work him- or herself, into a frothy state of anger or upset about something that isn’t even happening at that moment, or is long or long-enough over. Focus is on what happened, rather than what can be done to improve circumstances.

A good example of this is replaying in your mind and verbally repeating events you’ve labeled “negative” that happened in the past. How many times will you need to replay and repeat “negative” past events before you feel better about them or change them to “positives” in the present moment? You may even do this when you anticipate negative events that “might” happen. It’s a hamster wheel experience.

What does this habit allow you to do? Let’s first look at what it doesn’t do or allow you to do. It doesn’t empower you. It doesn’t allow you to feel appreciation. It doesn’t allow you to feel aligned with what’s good in your life. It doesn’t open you to inspired ideas and creative solutions. It doesn’t allow more good in this specific circumstance to come to you; and if more good does pierce that energy, you may not appreciate it fully.

It does present you with an opportunity (maybe even Opportunity No. 5,798) to ask different questions about it such as: What can I learn about myself from this? If I don’t like what I learn, how can I shift that? In what way does this make me feel disempowered? How can and will I empower myself about this? What does this opportunity allow me to do, and will I do it?

When I catch myself doing this, and when I remember to ask myself two specific questions, I immediately cease to use sandpaper on my thoughts (although, sometimes it takes several repetitions of the questions and answers before I really get it!). The questions and answers are these: Q: “Where am I?” A: “Here.” Q: “What time is it?” A: “Now.” Obviously, this re-minds me to return to the “here and now,” rather than stay in my ego-aspect’s not-so-pleasant musings. Here and now is where any solutions I require will surface; and they’ll surface when I calm myself and my energy so that the solutions can reach me.

The tendency to use your thoughts like sandpaper on your psyche comes from knowing that whatever causes you to feel out of alignment, negative, angered, hurt, or fearful, wasn’t or hasn’t been resolved or addressed within you in a way that allows you to feel the way you want to feel. Maybe it’s something you can address in the present, and maybe what you need to address is what you’re doing to yourself (and perhaps others) in the present, through your mental attitude. “Ask yourself this question: Is my attitude worth catching?” - Anonymous

You may feel it’s logical or justified to place responsibility for how you feel or your ability to shift how you feel onto someone directly involved. How’s that worked for you so far? Maybe it worked in some way (like for manipulation), but do you feel serenely self-empowered when you do this? Your ego-aspect may feel justified and even somewhat satisfied if you put responsibility for how you feel on another. But, if you give any person responsibility for how you choose to feel, then that person has the power over you and your mental attitude, not you. If you practice this denial of your power, you know it’s not the truth—because of the resistance you experience when you do it. That resistance is a trigger to re-MIND yourself that the power truly is within you.

Here are ways to shift any thoughts about anything you use repeatedly like sandpaper on your psyche, whether from the past or now:
1.       Notice that you’re doing it. Notice what you’re allowing yourself to feel and be by doing this. Notice this without judgment, because self-criticism is another form of sandpaper—a very coarse form.
2.       Ask, “What part of this reflects something in me?” You may not like this fact, but anything you harbor resentment about is something you do in a similar way, even though it may appear as different, so different, you may not even recognize you’re repeating a pattern you detest in another. This level of self-assessment may not (initially or ever) feel good, but it is extraordinarily powerful on many levels. If you still practice the negative aspect, you’ll find you feel annoyance with the individual. If you’ve resolved it within yourself, you’ll find you feel empathy and or compassion for the individual involved. This doesn’t mean you have to put up with any crap from them, just that you don’t engage them or the situation in the same way as you would if angered.
3.       Ask, “What can I do about this that I will do?” You may know what you can do, but what can you do that you will do? One thing you can do is find something to appreciate about this. You can appreciate that you notice you’re doing this and that you can ask the right questions about this from a sincere desire to shift and self-empower (sometimes the right question is “What’s the right question to ask about this?”). You can appreciate how this process leads to deeper understanding and compassion of and for yourself and others. You can appreciate the feeling of relief you get when you empower yourself to stop rubbing your thoughts the wrong way and then rub them the right way.

You may also experience challenges about allowing what you say you want into your life. Any thought about what you desire that rubs the wrong way, will slow or prevent what you want coming to you as quickly and easily as it might or would otherwise. It’s like saying No or Not Yet. When this habit surfaces, you can diffuse it with this question: “Does allowing this thought pattern support me to move forward, self-empower, and feel the way I want to feel now?” If it doesn’t, you need to find a thought pattern that does.

If something needs addressing, address it. Otherwise, find and use a thought pattern that lifts your mind and emotions from the sandpaper. The most immediate relief is to stop doing it when you notice you’re doing it. It’s a good practice, one you’ll appreciate.             
Practice makes progress.
© Joyce L. Shafer

You are welcome to use this article in your newsletter or on your blog/website as long as you use my complete bio with it.

Joyce L. Shafer is a Life Empowerment Coach dedicated to helping people feel, be, and live their true inner power. She’s author of “I Don’t Want to be Your Guru, But I Have Something to Say” and other books/e-books, and publishes a free weekly online newsletter that offers empowering articles. See all that’s offered by Joyce and on her site at

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