Life: Optimized (Chapter 5, page 1 of 4)

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Chapter 5

Thoughts and Attitude

It has been said that our thoughts determine our reality. This is true. The powers of thought, and the mechanics of the brain, are still being studied. There is a great deal that scientists still do not know. We have discussed how self-perception and experience molds who we are and sometimes traps us in cycles of destructive behavior patterns. Those behaviors have their foundation in thought. Everything is connected. In this section, we will discuss ways to cope with various challenges that we face as we discover who we are and what we really want for ourselves. These challenges, and how we deal with them, become thoughts which govern every aspect of ourselves and our lives.

It might be helpful for you to have a talk with your child-self, if you have not already. I discovered that mine is a feisty, intelligent little girl who knows exactly what she wants and is determined and persistent enough to get it or die trying. Our first conversation shed light on a great many things. Here is a portion:

Child: Do you remember when you all played “Store”?

Adult: Yeah. I was always the Manager.

Child: And?

Adult: I wanted to be the rich lady who wore the beautiful dress and got whatever she wanted because she deserved it.

Child: Why didn't you?

Adult: The dress was too short. And it was hers.

Child: Stop making excuses. So what you wear determines who you are?

Adult: I was the oldest. I had to be responsible.

Child: And they didn't?

My particular challenge in life has been in the area of health. As a preemie, I grew up with developmental delays and physical problems. I also had emotional problems, which I discovered were actual mental disorders. When I was finally diagnosed with bipolar, the endless rounds of medications, therapy and hospitalization defined my schedule, my quality of life and my own self-image. I struggled to live with this crippling disorder for decades. I am still struggling. But when I reached the other side of crisis and despair, I dealt with my battle in writing. That's how I express myself.

Each of you has your own issues and struggles. Likewise, you have your own methods of coping with these struggles and your own ways of self-expression. Each of you has the choice and the ability to help others by telling your story. You might choose to write it, to create a song, to act it out, or to create something else that is uniquely you. Everyone gets challenges in life. How we choose to handle them determines who we are and what we are made of.

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