Emotional garbage can fester and eventually stink up everything around it. Keeping spiritually fit and conducting a daily inventory of my actions, thoughts, and feelings every day is imperative to my overall happiness.
Much like the physical garbage can in my kitchen, my mind and body accumulate trash. Poor eating, poor thinking, and poor actions build up a kind of filmy layer of scum that is much easier to clean and sanitize than if it’s left to rot.
My daily inventory includes reflection and ideas for action. I identify the character defects in play and then look at the opposites.
Resentments, anger, jealousy, condescending thoughts and words, arrogance, hatred, fear, frustration, selfishness, hard-headedness, guilt, sarcasm, hurt pride… These are all things I need to be wary of because these are the things that run me off the rails and into a severe downward spiral if left unchecked.
What are the opposites of these?
Resentment :: Contentment, Happiness
I’ve discovered it is possible to choose joy, live in happiness, and to love and be loved.
Anger :: Calm
Deep breathing exercises and taking the time to re-center myself help with this. Anger and resentments are luxuries I can’t afford.
What can I learn from this person? What do they have I don’t? What is it about them I can emulate to improve myself ?
It’s important to show people respect even when I don’t like them. I can learn something from someone even if I don’t think they possess the same level of education or experience as I have. At the very least I can learn what not to do, and show them the same courtesy I would to those I actually do respect. Perhaps by setting a good example I’ll be able to be helpful to them
Arrogance :: Humility, Modesty
It helps me to remember we are all human and that mistakes will be made daily. No one is perfect, even me. First I have to learn to give myself a break. When I can forgive myself for my imperfections, it makes it easier to forgive others for theirs.
Hatred :: Love
I don’t have to like everyone, but I have to love them. My sanity and sense of well being depend on it. Hatred is a very heavy load to carry around all the time. It will wear me down in a very short time if I don’t keep it in check. It’s also a lot easier to hate than to love, which is why this is something that requires constant vigilance.
Fear :: Faith, Calmness, Confidence
I connect with my higher power on a daily basis. I ask for my fear to be removed and my attention directed to what it would have me be. I turn over my will to my higher power. When I try to force my will I become disconnected and the fear takes over. Being connected helps me stay calm knowing everything will happen the way it’s supposed to. Even if it’s not the way I think it should be, I have faith that there’s a reason for it.
Frustration :: Satisfaction
This goes hand in hand with fear. When progress is not being made the way I think it should be, I need to look at how I can be helpful instead of looking at how it should’ve gone. Criticizing something that is already done is not helpful and adds to the frustration. Having faith that things will work out in the end, even if it’s not the way I wanted it to go, helps me achieve the feeling of satisfaction.
Selfishness :: Generosity
‘Tis better to give than to receive. Getting what I want at the expense of others doesn’t make me feel good. Giving to others in need does. Generosity builds confidence, goodwill, and awareness of others. I am not in this world alone. We are all in this together. This is one of the best deodorizers for my “trash can”.
Hard-Headedness :: Realistic
I’ve learned that being right just for the sake of being right, isn’t right. It doesn’t make me feel good in the long run. It creates animosity and is generally unhelpful in every way. Its much more practical and realistic for me to collaborate and hear others thoughts and ideas.
Guilt :: Peace
What’s in the past is done. I can’t go back. I can only try my best to correct my past behavior. Only once I can forgive myself can I move forward.
Sarcasm :: Sincerity, Kindness
A first cousin of anger, sarcasm is the gateway into all the other defects. It’s a very quick way to begin the decomposition of garbage in my “trash can” and the smell, and consequences are horrendous. Before opening my mouth I try to remember to ask myself the following questions:
- Is it True?
- Is it Helpful?
- Is it Inspiring?
- Is it Necessary?
- Is it Kind?
This is known as the “THINK” method of speech. It has really been a game changer in my quest for self improvement.
Hurt Pride :: Let it go
As stated above, no one is perfect. The sooner I can get over myself, the sooner I can move on. Dwelling on the words and actions of others doesn’t do any good. Those are things I can’t control. Sulking leads me into that downward spiral that is very difficult to get out of. It’s better for me to laugh something off and learn from it than it is to fixate and worry.
Keeping my trash can clean every day helps me be better equipped to deal with life on life’s terms. Not mine.
Eating healthy foods and getting physical at least once a day are also important building blocks in my inner transformation.
When I put junk in my body, junk comes out of my mouth.
When I do something active every day, no matter how brief, I feel physically better and get a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. This carries over into my mood.
A great mood becomes a great day, which becomes a great year, which becomes a great life.