A Sum of our Influences

When I was younger, I used to sing. By many people, I was told I sang really well. I had one of those brains that could hear music, feel music, and translate it into something wonderful. Though many people told me I could sing well, I hated the sound of my own voice. I began to not sing as much; I dropped out of the choir I was in; and stopped recording myself singing songs I loved. Part of the reason I stopped was this thought of hating the sound of my own voice, but that really only came into play when one person told me I couldn’t sing well. While I ended up hitting puberty and losing that voice I once had, like so many boys do, I had really lost my voice earlier than that. I lost my voice because one person told me I couldn’t sing, had a terrible voice, and repeated it enough times for it to take hold.

In this world, that’s all it seems to take to stop something, or worse, not even start something, because of all the negative thoughts that keep us bound. It starts with one person saying you can’t do something, or that you’re not pretty, or not smart, or various other things. It doesn’t even take more than one person, especially if that person is someone who’s opinion you value.

That one negative thought leads to more. Now, the thought becomes reinforced by the lack of any evidence it really isn’t true. You’re bombarded by images, whether from outside sources or internal ones, that make that negative thought even stronger. You find ways to cope with the negative thought which leads to a cycle of self-destructive behavior. Eventually, it feels like there is no escape. You only need to look in the mirror for proof that this happens. You can also look at everyone around you for proof.

You see, humans are designed to remember the negative more than the positive. The negative could mean death in the thousands of years leading to where we are now. When we’re told by one person we’re ugly or fat, whether it’s because they’re jealous of something, or just a bully, or whatever, then we take that internally. When that thought begins to take hold, now, the fact we aren’t in a relationship is because we’re ugly, in spite of the fact we never really put ourselves out there. Every failure is an opportunity to reinforce that negative thought, and even every success is “probably luck or because of something else”.

We go through life with all these negative influences. We take them in more than we take the positive ones, and we allow negative influences to rule our thoughts. That can change, though. Perhaps it’s time to let positive influences rule your thoughts and let negative ones go. You can let that happen. You don’t have to be weighed down by all the negative influences you grew up with.

We are the sum of all our influences, but we can choose which ones have more weight. I encourage you to no longer be weighed down by negative thoughts and influences you’ve had for a while, and even new ones that might just be starting to form. If you can’t love yourself, then you can never truly love anyone else.

Take the leap of faith and let all those negative influences go. I promise, you’ll feel better for it.

Until next time,

JB

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