I was sent this photo of my 4yr old granddaughter earlier this year. She was busy watering the overgrown garden in her new home. She was actually watering some weeds that needed to be pulled out. She doesn’t know what weeds are so she was just innocently going about her business of watering the garden.

As I looked at the photo it came to my mind that the weeds are similar to our negative thoughts, these thoughts like weeds serve absolutely no purpose, but negative thoughts can lead to feelings of self-doubt, sadness, insecurity and even depression.  I likened my granddaughter watering these weeds to the way we as human beings unknowingly give life to our negative thoughts.

As human beings, we live our lives via our thoughts and we often reinforce our negative thoughts (weeds) by repeating them to ourselves and others. (water them) How many times have you heard statements like “I could never speak in public, I feel sick just thinking about it” or “I’ll never do better than this, I’ll just have to accept it” or “it’s just my bad luck, that’s just the way it is” or “I’m useless at this, and I could never do that”.

The repetition of these statements can make them seem real, but in many cases, we will not even have attempted the goal or task and so really have no way of knowing whether we would succeed or not. Other times we will have managed to convince ourselves beforehand that we are not capable of achieving the goal or completing the task, so we try but with the belief that we are going to fail and so we do. This then serves to reinforce the negative thought further (more watering) and so it goes on until the negative thought has flourished and is now life-size and very real.

I guess the answer to my question of “Who would knowingly water the weeds”? is that no one would, knowingly. I’m almost sure that no one wakes up in the morning and consciously decides to make them self as miserable as possible – but we do! Just as my granddaughter was innocently giving life to the weeds, we innocently give life to our negative thoughts daily.

We can’t control our thoughts, trying to control our thoughts tends to lead to more negative thinking. The key is in understanding the true nature of our thoughts, this helps us to identify when we are reinforcing (watering) our negative thoughts. Once we have that understanding, we are able to make different choices.

The garden is much more enjoyable without the weeds, life is much more fun without our negative thoughts!

Thoughts are not reality, yet it is through Thought that our realities are created. (Sydney Banks, The Missing Link)