Good Afternoon Journal!
I was about 14 yrs old, riding in the back seat of the car as our family went out to eat one night at Shakey's Pizza Parlor in Sunland, California.
I was the typical self-absorbed teenager. The rest of the family talked about this and that, when the subject of a particular tv show came up. Everyone else was in a good mood, taking turns talking about what they liked about the show. I piped up and glumly said that I HATED the show.......Silence.
Then my Mom said to me something that I have never forgotten, even 44 years later:
You know, people don't really like hearing what you HATE...if you don't have anything nice to say, just don't say anything at all.
I know there is a time and place for all things...a time to give my opinion, even about things for which I feel strongly AGAINST. But I know exactly what Momma was telling me...we were having a good time, and I was being a wet blanket, ruining the fun mood. I was being negative and selfish. Attitudes are contagious, and mine was definitely NOT worth catching. I haven't always taken Momma's advice, especially when I was younger...but I have tried.
There is an ancient proverb that says:
"Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life."
Another way of saying that is GIGO, which stands for "garbage in, garbage out." We are affected by what we allow IN. What we read, what we hear, music, tv, the people we allow to influence our thinking...this really is a big deal!
I LOVE inspirational quotes. I think of them as "distilled wisdom." Big thoughts distilled down into pithy, memorable quotes. Love 'em. I want to always have a teachable spirit that reminds me that I am NOT a know-it-all...that I can learn something from everyone I meet, even it is a lesson in reverse--what NOT to do.
So I want to be selective in choosing which people I allow to influence my heart, my "wellspring of life." I will often read about the people that I quote. I was inspired by the biography of Abraham Lincoln. I have read about the lives of other people that I admire, such as Michelangelo, Helen Keller, Og Mandino, Zig Ziglar, Dr Viktor Frankl, Ralph Marston Jr, Tom Venuto, Dr Phil McGraw, and many many more.
This idea of guarding our hearts even extends to the blogosphere-interwebs. I have had to make choices as to which people I will allow to influence me on a regular basis. There is only so much time, and I want to spend it wisely. I don't make that choice based on the blog's popularity, but rather on a few simple questions:
Is absorbing what this person is putting out going to make me a healthier, better, more loving and whole person??
How do I feel after leaving the this persons blog...uplifted, encouraged, inspired; or even if I don't totally agree, did it help me think, grow and learn??
Do I feel a kinship with them...a connectedness because we are on the same journey to wellness??
Are their values and philosophies of life compatible enough with mine...do they add to me or detract from me??
Do they, ultimately, CONTRIBUTE to or CONTAMINATE my journey to becoming a healthier person??
If all this sounds self-centered...maybe it is. But I, and I alone am responsible for what I allow into my life. I am not a victim...I have choices. And I am so happy there are a multitude of fantastic blogs out there from which to choose. Now if there was only more time in the day!!!!
From Dr Phil's book: "Ultimately, only you--and you alone--are responsible for getting your weight under control."