All my thoughts are hairs on a wild, wild boar, running slowly down a lilac slope. – Devendra Banhart
As I was thinking about a topic for this post, the lyric above, from a Devendra Banhart song, caught my attention. No, I’m not going to be talking about boars, interesting as that might be. Today I’d like to talk about thoughts. How they can be as wild and destructive as that runaway pig. Specifically, let’s look at three thoughts that drive me crazy. Maybe you can identify.
My _______ looks like crap. Fill in the blank with your own insecurities. Hair (big one for me), shoes, outfit, FB page, car, room… the list is endless. My latest failure in this department (a minor failure, though I assure you I have major ones) was nail polish. Hoping to replicate a pretty shade of pale blue I’d seen on a coworker’s nails, I bought a bottle I thought would work. Now You Sea Me turned out to be a bright rendition of the blue-green waters of the Florida Gulf Coast. And on me, it needed a search and rescue. I admit it—I felt miserable all day. Just because my nails looked like crap. Like anyone really cared what my nails looked like. (Want to try Now You Sea Me? I’ll mail a bottle to the first person who comments and asks for it. Hopefully your thoughts about the aquatic nail color will be happy ones.)
There’s no way I can get all this done. I have a full time, real job in the real world of business. Plus I write novels in my spare time. Sleep? I don’t get a lot of it these days. And sometimes when I lie down at night, my thoughts run pell-mell down that lilac slope, churning up clods of the many tasks I’ve left undone. #2 is a choral refrain threading through my day like the Heartbreakers backing up Tom Petty, the Supremes supporting Diana Ross, the Pips… you get the picture. Only this chorus is off key, stressful, counterproductive. And guess what? Usually, despite the dire predictions of my personal Supremes, I do get it all done. What prompts there’s no way I can get all this done in your life? Final exams? Too many projects due at the same time? The holiday rush? (Yep, one of mine.)
I can’t cope with this. Ever had this reaction? I don’t need this right now, I think. Which, translated, means I don’t need it at all. It’s some sort of mess I don’t want to deal with. I just want it to go away. On top of being super busy, my PC, with which I had a lovely 7-year relationship, decided to go into a death spiral that involved a column of dust shooting out of it and hitting the ceiling. (Okay, that to-do list the Supremes croon doesn’t include dusting.) I spent several weeks nursing the dying hunk of metal, grappling resistance all the while. You. Will. Not. Die. And it didn’t. Completely. But I threw in the towel, and I’m now the proud owner of a new MacBook Pro. Good, in the form of a sleek, pomaceous (that’s your $1 word-of-the-day) laptop. Which I love. But it’s led to a new refrain of I can’t cope with this as I try to figure out how to use it. (Now, how do I close this window?)
Variations of these three thoughts, hanging on to that runaway boar for dear life, have one thing in common. You got it. They’re all negative self-talk. And they all involve resistance to reality. Which is never a good place to be. But I’ve learned a trick. That boar? It can be tamed. Penned up. Relocated. Your choice. (Just don’t shoot it, please! Violence is not condoned.) Successful people learn how to do this well. They “relocate the boar” by making sure their positive self talk outweighs the negative. Like a bank—life works best when you put in more than you take out. So, I remind myself frequently (and preferably while soaking in a nice bubble bath) — I WILL get it all done. I CAN cope with this. My _____ looks GREAT. And nail polish remover was invented for a reason.
How about you? What are some of your “boars” and how do you tame them?
Laura Templeton gardens, reads, writes and polishes her nails near Atlanta, Georgia. Her debut novel, SOMETHING YELLOW, is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo. Follow Laura Templeton: Website | Facebook | Twitter