What do I do when I screw up?

Take action, including getting real with myself, if I’m responding correctly.

I’m currently re-reading the Secret. Why? I need to get myself re-centered.

The Secret is about the Law of Attraction, and more specifically, the power of positive thoughts and intentions. Why do I need that?

I’ve gotten off-kilter on that score in recent months, which has manifested itself in negative energy and unproductive actions in my daily life. There are a lot of things I could point to as the root cause: rough stretch at work earlier this year, a frenetic and challenging stretch with two teenagers, an injury that thwarted my workout activity (and the stress relief that comes with it) …it doesn’t really matter. Because what counts is I didn’t handle all of it well. My negative self-talk became more than just thoughts, it became frustration that impacted others.

I’m not proud to say that impacted my wife and kids more than anyone, especially my lovely bride.

What’s behind all that? I’m a worrier. Some of that is in my nature. Some of that comes from a major adult in my life that influenced me growing up. What’s the exact division on that between my nature and my childhood? I don’t know and it’s beside the point.

What is the point is I’m more than a little familiar with the negative thoughts that go with worrying. It’s not one of my better attributes. A lot of those changed, consciously and subconsciously, when I transformed a couple years ago.

Changed, but not vanquished. Because they crept back, to no one’s benefit.

Thus, re-reading the Secret. It’s a little corny at times, and definitely can feel a bit woo-woo. It was also one of the single most impactful books I’ve ever read in terms of shaping how I think and function.

I’m a little over half way way through it again and it’s already has a tangible impact on me, how I’m feeling, and most importantly, where and on what I’m spending my mental energy.

Maybe the book is having that impact because I’m ready. I had to stare down the impact the return of some negative thinking was having on my marriage and my kids.

Not pleasant. And I didn’t like it.

One thing Stephani and I have both found following our respect of and shared transformations is that we have zero interest in returning to aspects of our lives that were present when our marriage went to shit.

Zero fucking interest.

So, belatedly, here I am. Mindfully working my way back into a rhythm of positive thinking so I can be the man I want to be.

Maybe you’ve looked at the Secret before and indeed found it a little woo-woo. Perhaps a book like the Charge is more your thing. Both use different approaches to get to the same end, the dramatically powerful — potentially life-changing — impact of positive, intentional thinking and actions. In my case, it partners well with the non-physical components of yoga too: the mindfullness, the letting go of your own bullshit, the ability to recognize and focus on what’s going well, and what causes you to be grateful.

My fellow friends of faith might hesitate at such things, especially as express in those books. To which I say, yes, some of this stuff challenges traditional Western thinking that we’ve become accustomed to, especially in some church settings and related social circles (notice I didn’t say challenges core theology). I think it comes down to a basic question: are you limiting how big God can be? If so, the kind of thinking and approach found in such books (or even yoga for that matter) might be troublesome and uncomfortable. If not, you’ll likely find them delightfully additive and expanding in how you look at spirituality and your faith.

Either way, I post all that because being authentic means really laying it out. If someone reads my blog and thinks things are all sunshine and lollipops then I shouldn’t be writing.

At the same time, there’s more than enough negativity in our world. It dominates the news and can easily take hold of our social media feeds too. It’s incredibly easy with the volume of information in our modern society to get subsumed by negative thinking, even before you get to the false expectations we can feel society puts on us to be “successful,” to fit in with our supposed peer group, etc.

There are ways out of that. I just shared one way I deal with that.

I spent years not understanding my negative thoughts were a problem that manifested themselves outside of my head, let alone failing to correct it. Maybe reading this will help you or someone you know make a better choice.

I hope so.

3 thoughts on “What do I do when I screw up?

  1. Eric–one of your best; thank you for sharing. I think it’d be easy for people to look at your transformation and think that all is groovy now, but sustaining even such a positive change as that can be work–especially when stressors bring back the muscle memory of patterns that don’t work for us anymore. But what you’re doing IS the work and the right work. Another part of your journey that will be helpful for those trying to make positive changes in their lives–thank you for the reality check and sharing your process.


  2. Pingback: Be Your Damn Self | Eric Earling

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