“If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee.” –Abraham Lincoln
Oh, how true it is!
How often do we find ourselves in that same situation? Or, if you are too uncomfortable to admit it yourself, how often have you seen someone else there?
I’m not sure what I’ve got. But I want something different.
I suspect a massive percentage of our problems in this world can be traced back to that simple state of discontentment.
The Mess We’re In
Have you ever taken a job knowing it wasn’t a good fit for you, but you so desperately wanted to escape the job you were in that you made the switch anyway?
How’d it work out?
If you’re like me, not so good.
How many wars have been fought because “I don’t like this dirt I’ve got here. I want your dirt!”?
And what about the state of our families? Now I’m not going to
stand sit here and pretend that all marriages are salvageable.
Knowing that, however, doesn’t negate the fact that a huge number of marriages fall apart because one person (or maybe even both) are simply suffering from that “Lincoln Syndrome” above.
We say to ourselves, “I want out” often enough and loud enough eventually we’ll find ourselves out one way or another.
Funny how that seems to work. The thing we focus our attention on has this uncanny way of actually happening. Gotta say I don’t understand that. But I don’t have to understand it to know it’s true. (I’ve seen it in action!)
What Can We Do?
Wanna know how to escape from this “Lincoln Syndrome”? How to take the cure, as my father in law would say?
How do we learn to be content?
Well for starters we gotta change the way we think. As long as we let those thoughts of discontent continue occupy space in our brains we aren’t going to see any change.
It requires a two step process:
1. Stop letting our minds dwell on the junk – Don’t continue to keep repeating those same destructive tapes in your mind over and over again. When we have that discontented thought, we’ve got to push it away from us.
But that’s only half the battle. If we try to push the counter productive thought aside without replacing it, it will rush back in before you know it. And it will bring a bunch of its ugly-thought friends with it. Therefore we have to be sure to do step two of the process.
2. Focus our attention on something positive, encouraging, uplifting – Put something different in the place of the thought we are getting rid of. As long as we are shifting our focus, we might as well put out thoughts to work for us rather than against us, don’t you think?
One simple way to make this work is to think about things we are grateful for. It’s really hard to be grateful and bitter at the same time. But get specific. We can’t just think “I am sooooo grateful for [insert frustration here].”
Get down and dirty with it.
Think about what specifically we can find to be truly grateful in the person (or situation). It might go something like this:
Man my wife is driving me nuts! Oh wait… That’s stinking thinking… Um… Let’s see… She made a great dinner last night. In fact, she is a wonderful cook. And I get lots of great meals too. Not like Bubba down the street. Heh. They go out to eat almost every night. Man I’m glad my wife cooks so well. I’m so lucky to be married so someone like her.
So it sounds a little silly. Trust me you will probably feel silly trying it too at first. It isn’t natural.
But oh, is it worth it!
But that’s just the Way I C it.
P.S. And it’s not at all about a woman in the kitchen, that was just an example. Pick whatever fits your situation. Sheesh!
–Chris Cree, SuccessCREEations.