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  • Jen de Azevedo

I Lost My Ability To Think Right

Interesting picture, right? That's my brother and I after Thanksgiving dinner a few years back drinking Rock Stars and talking about how tired we always are (admittedly, a huge turkey dinner doesn't help). As a single mom who has received no help from my boys' father, financial or otherwise, I became accustomed to burning the candle at both ends. I'd tell you that I didn't mind because I loved my sons and was lucky to have them. But the truth is...I was tired and overwhelmed. I couldn't seem to find a way out of those feelings. I had lost my ability to think right.

As a child, I was born knowing how to think right. I think most children are, until we teach it out of them. What do I mean by "thinking right"? Let me tell you a story so you can better understand what I mean.

At 12 years old, in a 7th grade PE class, I was instructed by my coach to carry a bag of soccer balls to her office at the end of class. I left my classmates and headed up the hill to drop off the soccer balls. At the same time, there were two girls from the 9th grade PE class headed up with orange cones. As we headed up the hill to the locker room, they started shouting at me through the orange cones (like a megaphone). "Hey fatty!" "Hey fat ass!" All of this occurred in front of an entire soccer field of peers. Nevermind the fact that I wasn't even a fat kid, these girls just picked some random kid they didn't know and started bullying. If I'm being honest, the thought crossed my mind to turn around and smash the cones in their faces, which would send them ass over tea kettle down the hill backwards. That thought was quickly replaced with me sitting in the principals office so I ignored their behavior. Five minutes later I was in the locker room changing when the rest of my class came in. One of my best friends approached and asked if I was okay. I assured her I was fine. Here's what I mean by "thinking right". How I handled this situation in my mind was I thought, "I feel sorry for those girls. Their mother probably doesn't love them." And that was the end of it. It didn't affect me. It didn't haunt me. The only reason I remebered it was because my mom asked me if I'd ever been bullied after watching a special on the subject.

That is some strong thinking. I gave them no power. How did I know how to do that?

After I recounted this story for a friend, she said, "I would never have gone back to school."

Viktor Frankl said it best, "Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms - to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way." If we could teach our children to think THAT way...what kind of powerful lives could they live?

I'd like to tell you that I went on thinking like that for the rest of my life...but I'd be lying. If you've read any of my other blogs you know that I went through some very dark years. After surviving some crazy things my thoughts shifted from, "Everything works out for me" to "What if it doesn't work out for me?"

After that...I just never felt happy.

Have you ever felt like that? Want to know how to get out of it? There's a lot of things that will help but I'm going to give you a very simple thing to get started. Gratitude. Not just saying you're grateful, but really feeling it. How do you do that?

Here's an example. My children and I moved out of our 3500 square foot house on a half acre and into my parents house after my divorce. My parents house is beautiful...but it's not mine. I always thought I was grateful for having a roof over my head and warm beds for my children (and I am), but I couldn't wait to get out of it and be on my own again. That was my dominant thought; only I thought about it from a fearful place. "How am I going to afford this?"

So how do you shift that? Think about the mothers who are telling their kids bedtime stories in their car. Watch the film The Pursuit of Happyness. Drive through any major city's downtown homeless area and truly think about what you have. That is one of the keys to moving forward and feeling happy. Start there and practice it. Let me know how it goes...

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