On Sunday I went for a run along my favorite beach bluffs path. I got to my turn around point and I stopped like I usually do to bask in the beauty and look out over the ocean for a few minutes before making my way back home.
There was a thin, scruffy, homeless looking guy with an impressive afro standing along the guardrail. I’m guessing he was in his mid-20s, he was wearing clothes that were way too big for him, and he was holding a small blow-up beach ball.
He was fiddling with the beach ball and said something to me about how it would be funny to toss it down and hit someone in the head that was riding by on their bike. Weird start to a convo but I got a good vibe from him, so I was open to talk.
Then he began telling me about how he is originally from Puerto Rico and that he walked from Washington, DC to Santa Monica, CA. It took him 3 months and he slept on park benches the whole way.
He said he decided to do this because his life got turned upside down and he had nothing left. A man that was a pastor in Puerto Rico ruined his reputation and destroyed his relationship with his girl. He was very bitter and angry.
I let him talk for a while and then I stopped him and kinda bluntly said, “You know what you need to do? Stop telling that story.”
We bring so much anger, resentment, and ickyness into the present moment by telling old stories of hardship. Yeah, crappy stuff happens, but every single thing that we experience helps us to become more of who we truly are and want to be.
Every challenge is an opportunity to grow.
We talked for a little while longer about how he wants to find a job and get back on his feet. Then we shook hands and he told me his name (Alex) and I went on my way.
It’s weird how things happen like this. I never would have expected to have this conversation with this man on that day, but it was a conversation that mattered.
Hopefully it helped him get what he needed and for me, it reminded me how toxic resentment and anger can be, whether it’s directed toward someone else or toward ourselves.
We can let go of anger and resentment. We don’t have to allow it to control us and keep us stuck cycling in it. Here’s how.
3 Steps To Letting Go of Toxic Thoughts
Every night for 30 days, make a list of 5 things that you appreciate about that particular day. The more you train your brain to look for things to appreciate, the more things to appreciate you will attract because you are open to receiving, rather than closed-off and constricted.
We tend to have 9 things going right and one thing not-so-great, and all we do is focus on that one not-so-great thing because we believe that’s how you fix stuff—by focusing on it.
We have this backward.
You can’t fix anything when you’re cycling in anger and resentment, you just make it worse. You’ve got to shift your vibe and get into a mindset that will allow you to be inspired, open, and connected to your power.
Anger and resentment hold you apart from your power.
The honest to God way to fix things is to learn how to be happy no matter the circumstances. When you are, opportunities, people, your health, your body—everything that matters to you begins to align to match your vibe because you are connected to your power.
When you notice yourself going down the “I’m a victim” thought path, consciously reframe your thoughts. Looks for reasons to give people the benefit of the doubt or feel compassion.
You have a choice—to react to whatever is put in front of you without conscious attention to your thought process. OR you can take more of a proactive stance, where you can choose to feel any way that you want regardless of the circumstance.
You have control over your feelings and no person and no thing has to be any different in order for you to feel how you want to feel.
YOU just have to take control of your emotions and your mind and CHOOSE different thoughts, CHOOSE to focus on different things, and therefore, CHOOSE to feel a different way.
3. Fill Your Heart With Love
The more love you are filled up with, the more love continues to flow your way.
Sometimes I meditate on the word LOVE. I close my eyes, take some deep breaths and repeat the word LOVE to myself in my head over and over again.
At times it brings me to tears of joy when I do this. My heart feels like it’s overflowing with love.
Since I started doing this I’ve noticed that I’ve stopped looking for love and instead I just “flow” love. I love because it feels good to love, with no expectation of anything in return.
I fill myself with love and I don’t need anything from anyone else in order to feel it.
On Sunday two more really cool things happened in addition to my convo with Alex from Puerto Rico.
Later in the day I was working at home and I decided to go for a beach rollerblade break. I was rollerblading down the beach path, jammin’ out to my Spotify playlist and this guy on a bike headed the other direction on the path reached out his hand and high-fived me as we flew past each other.
What a rush! It almost knocked me over, ha. What an awesome, spontaneous, fun connection with someone I don’t even know.
A few miles later a girl carrying a bunch of towels and bags (ahem… she needed a Live Well 360 Luxx) dropped her money without realizing it and it blew across the beach path.
I grabbed it and gave it back to her. She said thank you but it was more the appreciation I saw in her eyes than her words that made my heart melt.
Letting go of toxic thoughts isn’t about stopping thinking them, because you can’t just make yourself stop doing something. You have to replace those old thought patterns and behaviors with new, healthier ones. These three steps will help you do just that.
So, what are you ready to let go of?
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