Every parent's journey is different and has its own challenges. I tell myself that negative thoughts and emotions are a normal part of life and can be a natural consequence of a person's experience. Extreme challenges, such as life-threatening medical conditions with children, can naturally threaten my ability to focus on the good because my mind has been redirected to focus on those situations. These experiences can take a toll on mental health, making it difficult to maintain a positive outlook on life. Sometimes I feel like thinking positively is as laborious as training for a marathon.
I try to remind myself that when you're out of shape, it's hard to run a mile, let alone a marathon. You must train to run a mile, so you can run another mile, and then another, until you eventually run a marathon. Consistent training will inevitably improve performance. Likewise, when you train your mind to focus on the good, you can create a positive mindset. A positive mindset is not about wearing rose-colored glasses - it's about training the miles and miles of thoughts in your head to go where you want to be. At least that's what it feels like to me.
A mind's ability to think positively is as varied as a person's physical ability to run. Some people are naturally built to run. These natural runners step on a start line and cruise a mile time that takes others weeks to achieve. Some people can run barefoot or in minimalist shoes, while others need high support shoes. Some runners rarely get injured, while others manage ailment after ailment.
“I try not to focus on comparing myself to others. A little better each day is all relative to my own performance. That’s also the beauty of positive thinking.”
I don't need to compare myself to others to get better at it. I become incrementally better as I train my mind. As much as it may benefit others to be around me thinking more positively, I am the one who truly profits from being positive.
Training to run often creates a strange love for running. I also try to train my mind to push through and work hard, regardless of negative thoughts and emotions. Sometimes I find myself running on a day I felt tired or on a day it was raining. And not because I love running, but because I practiced being a badass long enough to know I can do hard things, even when I don't feel like it.
Just as a runner increases his or her threshold to endure running, I can increase my threshold to maintain positive thinking when faced with extreme challenges. When we actively work toward positivity despite circumstance, our mind has no choice but to follow. This is crucial to keep my mind from going down a sudden, sneaky, scary road not worth racing.
Some of the strongest runners known aren't necessarily the ones who won races; they are the runners who persevered because of their single-mindedness. It is possible to have a mind like a runner who fights the good fight and finishes the course. And I will!