Recently, I was sitting in my car at lunch time trying to eat my fast food sandwich and reading my emails on my phone, when I notice this woman parked next to me. She is giving me the total stare down and rolling her eyes. She is annoyed with my being in my car for some reason and appears to take personal offense to me.
First and foremost, I like to please people. So, I look at her and also try to see if my car is between the lines like it is supposed to be, etc. And I start to question what I was doing (and why it was obviously wrong).
Do you ever find yourself in these situations where you feel about two inches tall – calling yourself names in your head, the whole bit? I certainly did. However on this occasion, I was able to catch myself in the act of thinking these negative thoughts and realize I was engaging in “stinky thinking”.
Negative thoughts (stinky thinking) will have you questioning all kinds of things – your sanity, your choice of hairstyle that day, whether you are dressed appropriately, etc. But, after “Miss Sassy Pants” drove away and I got out of my car to go in the store I realized I was indeed parked exactly as I should have been – right between the lines.
Maybe the problem was more about her and the kind of day she was having, than it was about having anything to do with me.
How to Stop Negative Thoughts
“Change your thoughts and you change your world”. Norman Vincent Peale
My Mom gave me the book “The Power of Positive Thinking” by Norman Vincent Peale, when I was in stinky thinking mode as a young girl. She said she had read it as a teenager when she had the same problem and I’ve since referred my own daughter to it as well. (Maybe stinky thinking runs in our family). It is amazing the power our thoughts hold over us.
In this situation, if I hadn’t stopped to realize I had done nothing wrong, I could have negatively impacted many other people the rest of that day with my “stinky thinking”. If I had carried that negative energy forward, my day would have turned out very differently.
I chose instead to focus on a much more positive thought – I had done nothing wrong, she must be having a bad day. Now I feel bad for her, rather than mad at her, and I am back to being a fully functioning human being smiling at people in the store and generally being her exact opposite. Plus, the rebellious side of me gets a huge kick out of knowing if she saw me after she would see she didn’t affect me in a negative manner.
Next time you are tempted to let someone else’s stinky thinking ruin your day, please remember my real-life example and go the other way. We have all seen what happens when you succumb to being hateful yourself. You won’t like yourself in the morning and there is a high likelihood someone will capture your altercation on Facebook for all to see!
How do you turn your thoughts around when you are in stinky thinking mode? I’d love to hear!