Tending Your Mind Garden - Speaker Christina Aldan

Tending Your Mind Garden

Tending Your Mind Garden

Tending Your Mind Garden

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A friend of mine recently gave me a deck of affirmation cards for “non-new-agey” people. You know, people like me. I’m no stranger to affirmations, mind you, as I have found them helpful when I am seeking words or phrases to encourage positive thinking. And, if truth be told, they have, on occasion, left me with a feeling of more peace and clarity.

So, I shuffled the cards and pulled one from the deck. It reminds us to water the good thoughts and weed out the bad ones. This reminded me about my own thoughts and internal dialogue with past situations and the processes I went through to overcome them.

Here are three things I’ve learned to do when tending to the garden of my mind:

  1. Weed-whack jealousy—Tend to the garden of your mind by taking the weed whacker to jealousy (and by the way, “weed whacker” is not the official term for the tool. In researching for this blog post, I learned it is actually named a Weed Eater. Who knew?)

Jealousy happens for several reasons. For one, obsessive thinking can play a role when engaging in doubt-filled thoughts, reacting poorly to being unable to control a situation, or blowing a certain problem out of proportion. Jealousy can cause you to disconnect from reality to some degree or allow paranoia to set in, creating the inability to trust others. Jealousy is often a nonsensical inclination conceived from misinterpreting something. These obsessive thoughts result from insecurity, guilt, or other comparable feelings, translating or leading to jealous spiraling.

Stopping jealousy begins with understanding jealousy. One way to understand it would be learning how to recognize what you are jealous of so the emotion can loosen its grip on you, perhaps to the point of not being ashamed of it anymore. Identifying what you are suspicious of can lead to acknowledging it and learning from it. This can also help show you where your values are in life and take positive steps towards them. Knowing that festering jealousy is toxic will prevent you from keeping jealous emotions bottled up inside, which is not only pointless, it’s also unhealthy. Whenever you have those feelings, learn to let them go, or they will fester inside of you. 

  1. Trim your thoughts by pruning away the clutter —Worse than having a cluttered home or workspace is having a cluttered mind, which can make us feel restless and unfocused. You don’t need to let an unkempt mind garden grow wildly in every direction, fixating, unchecked on whatever it likes. Pruning your thinking mind is essential to maintaining your energy and well-being. While it may seem relatively simple, it can be difficult because it requires you to cut off thoughts that aren’t serving you and let them go. Similar to pruning a plant, it can be hard to cut those branches and toss them. Each cut of the vine is final, and it can seem like you are diminishing the plant. However, a few weeks later, when the plant is growing again, you see it is alive and more vigorous than ever. Similarly, your mind becomes clearer, strong, and vital when you learn to let go of thoughts that don’t serve you. We have to be willing to let go of the bad thoughts to keep producing the good thoughts.
  1. Sow seeds of forgiveness and empathy — let them sprout and grow. Cultivating forgiveness and empathy in the garden of my mind leads me to self-compassion. Every time. One trick that helped me (and it might help you, too) is to remember to have the courage to be brave in those moments. I am much better at this these days, but it’s been a life-long journey. 

We all feel resentful at some point in our life. We feel angry, too. At times, we will suffer because someone, something, or some event doesn’t meet our expectations. We will be disappointed or worse, wounded, hurt, or bitter. It doesn’t matter whether or not life is fair. It doesn’t matter whether or not there is someone to blame. Sometimes life isn’t fair. What matters is how we react to each event and interaction as it happens. It is always the subject and not the object that is important. Our perceptions and reactions shape our character and our life. Our perceptions and reactions also decide whether or not we are happy, kind, or peaceful, long after the memory of an event or whether something or someone was fair or not.

We all have gardens that need tending. How does your mind garden look? Is it delightful and welcoming, or is it congested and cluttered? What are aspects of your life that need some consideration? If we don’t nurture our minds with healthy thoughts, we will have no harvest, just weeds.

So, clear away the clutter and allow those seeds of thought to blossom.

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