It is perfectly natural to notice things that you don’t have. It is normal to compare yourself to other people. It’s also normal to judge other people based on their appearance. We all do it. What’s just as bad, if not worse, is that we also say and think terrible things about ourselves. That’s the most important reason you should be guarding your mind and thoughts.
Your thoughts become your actions and your actions are what make your reality. If you are constantly comparing yourself to others and noticing what you don’t have you will stay in a mindset of lack. Like attracts like so being constantly aware of what you don’t have will mean you will experience that feeling more. As the saying goes, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”
You will also constantly feel judged if you are judging other people. You don’t know their life, just like they do not know yours. Who are you to pass judgment on them based on limited interactions? And the reverse is true too.
If you are not guarding your mind you will stay in a cycle of negativity and lack. It will be more difficult for you to see what’s good in the world because you’ll be too focused on what you don’t have and can’t see. You will not talk to yourself nicely and you can’t grow if you keep putting yourself down.
5 Ways to Guard Your Mind and Heart
1. Stay Away From Negative People
People can be very quick to cut people off. That’s not a bad thing, but I like to give someone a chance to change their behavior before I distance myself. Constantly being around Debbie Downer and Negative Nancy is a drag. They’re going to bring you down too. If you are a reflection of the five people you spend the most time with you don’t want a negative person in the mix at all. They can try to frame their negativity as “realness” all they want, but you don’t need their thinly veiled pessimism to get in the way of your optimism.
2. Stay Away From Negative Media
You are what you eat. Your eyes and ears are “eating” what you see and hear. Make sure you are choosing what to read and watch wisely. If something important is happening I promise you won’t need to hear about it on the morning or evening news. You don’t need a constant barrage of street-fighting videos, conspiracy theories, and reality TV shows arguments on your timeline. They aren’t doing your mind any favors. The more you consume that, the more you will think that behavior is what you should be thinking and doing. I’m more than certain those aren’t activities you’re up for since you’re on this website and reading this post.
3. Don’t Criticize or Judge Others
This one is a hard one because we all judge and stereotype people. It’s a shortcut for our brains to not have to process information as novel all the time. The key here is to stop yourself from letting the stereotype completely drive your thoughts and assumptions about that person. If you see someone on the street stinking and looking disheveled and dirty you may assume they are unhoused. You may also assume that they are having a mental health crisis or are addicted to drugs. That would make you not want to be around them or act like they aren’t there. But they could have just come from a dusty hike or finished their shift working in construction. You don’t know them or what they are going through so you should stop yourself before you go on a, hopefully, mental tirade about how lazy someone is, or how they shouldn’t be acting the way they are. Treat all people with the same respect you’d want to be given to you.
4. Do Something Positive
I’m sure there is a happiness study out there that shows how doing something positive makes you happier. I just happen to know this from personal experience. Helping someone or your community makes you feel like you are making a positive impact in the world because you are. Practicing gratitude makes you feel happier because it puts you in a mindset of measuring the gains, not the gaps. It’s about taking stock of the things you do have instead of focusing on the things that you don’t. (There’s a book about this called The Gap and The Gain. I highly recommend it.)
Prayer really does work. I used to pray and think no one was listening because the things I wanted weren’t coming fast enough for me. Then it was brought to my attention that the things I was asking for were – and are – pretty big leaps from where I am now. That means they might take a little longer to make their way to me. It’s like baking a cake from scratch versus a boxed cake. The scratch-made cake will always taste better if you follow the recipe properly, but it will take three times as long. It can be hard to stay optimistic and in a positive mindset, but knowing that someone is working things out on my behalf helps me block out the BS and stay on the right path.
Control Your Thoughts and Guard Your Mind to be Happier
I will not lie to you and say that learning to guard your mind is easy. Guarding your thoughts is a skill that takes time and patience to learn. Give yourself some grace as you are learning so you don’t mentally beat yourself up or stop trying when you’re not perfect at it. What is most important is that you are trying. Sometimes things get through even the toughest safe guards. If you need some more positivity to help you guard your thoughts, make sure you sign up for my newsletter. You won’t see any negativity and strife there.