What is your mindset?
I have been thinking a lot about mindset lately. Mindset is our mental attitude which when needed to interpret a situation pretty much determines what we are going to think about that situation.
Mindset’s official definition is your “philosophy of life.” It’s defined in the dictionary as “A fixed mental attitude or disposition that predetermines a person’s responses to and interpretations of situations.”
For instance, as an empty nest mom, did you walk around for the 4 years your child was in high school saying to yourself “I’m going to dread when she leaves, I’m going to be so sad”? You were already predetermining your outcome based on your mindset.
The old saying goes “they didn’t build Rome in a day” and it takes some work to undo years of negative mindset. But, your empty nest survival is ahead. I am comforted by scripture in the Bible that says in Romans 12:2:
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
An easier version to understand is from The Message: “Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what He wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
That scripture promises me that I can overcome by transforming my mind, my thoughts.
We are often times dragged down by all the “noise” in the world. That’s why we have to make a very conscious effort to not to “fit in”. Did your kids ever have one of those play-dough toys where you could put the play-dough in a mold and smash it into a shape? That’s what being conformed or well-adjusted means. The world (media, friends, family) would have us come down to their level of thinking. But we have to break out of that mold. And we have to break out of our own negative molds we made for ourselves.
How to Change Your Mindset
1. Knowledge From The Word
Again, I turn to the Bible for clear direction in how I should be thinking. There are thousands upon thousands of self-help books on the bookshelves and in the online book stores. But, there is in my opinion only one Book that tells you exactly what God wants you to think about and how to change from the inside out.
You have to learn to set your mind on the good things. When a negative or sad thought comes into your mind you have to make a pointed decision and ask your self if it passes the thought filter:
Is it true, is it noble, is it right, is it pure, is it lovely, is it admirable, is it excellent, is it praiseworthy? (Philippians 4:8). If it passes through this filter than continue to think about it.
2. Put on Positive Qualities
This is where you have to take the results of your filter and make those decisions of what you will allow yourself to think about. You have to decide to become more loving, more patient, more kind. I have found one my greatest tools to bring my qualities into alignment is to practice the gift of Gratitude. Working on our outward actions to others has an affect on our inward attitude.
You can’t think negative thoughts and expect positive things to happen in your life. You can’t dwell on sad thoughts and expect to walk around feeling joyful. It’s just not going to happen that way. Life is not going to change until you change your way of thinking. You change your way of thinking by choosing to dwell, act upon, and DO positive qualities.
3. Make the Mindset Change
1. Get your list of the positive qualities you know you need to work on. If you are brave ask your husband or friend what they think you need to work on..what have they noticed you struggle with.
2. Make the best effort you can to turn the negative mindset around to good. Become very conscious of what you are thinking and stop yourself as soon as a negative mindset thought begins to surface.
3. Be very open and sensitive to yourself as you are making this change. Your morning devotion or meditation time Is a good time to listen to your thoughts. You will have inner promptings which will tell you if you are making progress or if there is more you need to work on. If you journal, the morning journal time will be very beneficial as well.
As you start working on your mindset, I won’t lie to you – it may be a bit painful. It’s hard as a mom to admit to anyone that we aren’t super-mom and that we have problems. But, I encourage you to make it your mindset that you will become an Empty Nest Survivor. Reach out to friends for support, and if you are anything like me, pray hard! And you will survive!
Kim Steadman is the COOP (Chief Online Operating Person) for The Re-Feathered Nest. A place of encouragement for moms entering the Empty Nest Zone who find they need to Re-Purpose and Re-Design their lives now that the kids have flown the coop. Kim can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TheRefeatheredNest and on Google+ at +Kim.