Relax, You Will Not Be Eaten by Bears
Even if You Think a Lot
About Being Eaten by Bears
Jennifer Angelina Petro
I saw this ad on my Facebook sidebar that said something like: “You become what you think about,” and, “think happy,” and it got me thinking and feeling annoyed.
Yes, thoughts are things, but do you know what a thought actually is? I mean really?
Is a thought the stuff that drifts through your head like air through an open window, or static on a radio? Is it something you create out of your own “mind-stuffs”—in other words is a thought is something you “think it up?” Is that a thought?
I ask because some people who push things like the Law of Attraction (and I know this because I used to push it myself) haven’t a clue what they are talking about (just like I didn’t), and, as a result, they hurt people, frighten people, helped people feel powerless and defeated. And that sucks. Big time. I am making amends for my past stupidity and this article is part of that process.
Here’s the deal:
1). If you spend a lot of time thinking about ashtrays, you will not become an ashtray.
2). If you spend a lot of time thinking about medicine you will not become a doctor. You might become a doctor, but it wouldn’t be because you thought about medicine day in day out. It would because you studied and worked hard and got yourself into debt over college loans for the rest of your life.
3). Most of what passes for “thinking,” isn’t.
Let’s use some negative reasoning to help us understand what thinking is not.
Thinking is not all the afore mentioned stuff that drifts and sifts and dusts itself through your head.
Thinking is not all the “mindless” listening to NPR or the chatter of other people on the subway (yes, I used the word, “subway,” on purpose to make an allusion to the subconscious. Some would argue we actually live based on what’s stored (collecting dust) in the attics (basements, dungeons, silos) of our subconscious minds. This is like believing I am suffering in this lifetime for something I did, but cannot remember doing, in another lifetime. It is a cruel idea. It is like saying: “Here, YOU suffer for things unknown. YOU suffer because I suffer and don’t know why I suffer, but I am going to tell you why YOU suffer.”).
Thinking is not all the stuff you “think” about in a given day—the bills, the bad drivers, the fate of the nation, etc.
And now what I am about to say will sound like a contradiction:
Those things just mentioned above are all examples of “thoughts” yes, but only if we believe the definition of a thought as being anything that just so happens to be in your head at any given moment. But I don’t categorize these things as the kinds of thoughts that can be properly put into the file of, “thinking,” because they are not the kinds that can ever have truly creative properties.
So please, stop worrying about becoming bipolar because you think about bipolarism. Please stop worrying you are going to get eaten by a shark because you watch so many shark attack videos. Please stop worrying that your house will be robbed because you worry about your house being robbed.
Our fears do not, I repeat, do not, attract the things we fear into our lives. Promise.
I mentioned there are thoughts that have creative properties however. What kinds of thoughts are these?
They are the ones you invest your heart into. Thoughts that you think with your heart in addition to your head—those are powerful things; things that can bring about great changes in the world and within yourself. Here’s why:
Thoughts themselves are images really—sense impressions/impulses flashed on the screen of the mind—they are largely static, lifeless things, sort of like random magnetic poetry words on a refrigerator. However, once you stop, focus, draw your feelings up from your body, from your heart, suddenly those plain, “meaningless” thoughts begin to take form, shape, make sense, create beauty, excitement, dialog, poetry. YOU have to rearrange them though, like the magnetic words on the fridge. You give them meaning by what you DO with them and how you FEEL about them. In other words, thoughts can become powerful creational tools when infused with the heart, the soul, the spirit, and most of all, actions.
If you “think” a lot about being attacked by bears but never go into the woods, you’re probably safe from bear attacks. If you “think” about bear attacks AND THEN go out into places where bears live and you drag around slabs of meat and cart along backpacks full of honeypots, well, then, you might just become bear poop in the very near future.
You see the difference? One is empty(ish) and the other is boosted with actions.
I suffer from clinical depression. I have spent many years in various forms of dissociative states. I am a trauma survivor and someone who suffers from PTSD. The last thing I need to hear is “think happy thoughts and you will start farting rainbows, and dancing around happy as a well, farting unicorn.” The last thing I need to hear is “if only you would discipline your thinking to think positive thoughts you would be happy.”
There are times in my life when asking me to think positive thoughts is like asking someone without legs to get up and run. I simply cannot do it. I am not choosing to be mentally ill. I have not chosen to be unhappy. And I haven’t become depressed by simply thinking depressing thoughts any more than I will become taller by thinking about stilts.
People who find success with positive thinking are probably not as fundamentally ill as I am, and I am tired of being shamed for not being able to think as happily as you.
It’s similar with the Law of Attraction (LOA) cult. Yes, my thoughts are things, but they are not homeopathic. They will not attract other similar thoughts and thus, eventually, the desired thing (usually money, success, a relationship, a yacht) (nothing wrong with wanting any of these things, wanting is good, I am just pointing out the LOA cult leaders prey on people who are often economically disadvantaged, the lonely, the down-trodden, the ones who, forgive me for saying so, but who do not think clearly because they CAN’T).
The only kinds of thoughts that will attract other similar thoughts are the ones you think with your heart and hands. The ones you put your blood, sweat, and tears into. Things you love. Things you not only desire, but know are true and good for yourself and the world.
Of course, positive affirmations and positive thinking is a good “idea.” If it helps, go to town.
So, instead of telling me to “think positive” and to just “be happy,” or to just remember, “thoughts are things,” tell me you love me. Tell me you’re here to listen. Tell me you will drive me to my therapy appointment or come out for a cup of tea with me. Tell me you’re sorry and that you care. Whatever you do, know that I am listening to you and that it would be great if I knew we could stand together in the world, and not worry together about being eaten by bears.