CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- It's just human nature -- especially during these challenging times -- to look at what's missing in our lives instead of what we have. If you catch yourself doing this, you're certainly not alone.
I've often referred to this as "the missing tile syndrome." It's like looking at an entire ceiling and focusing on the one tile that's missing.
This constant focus about what's missing can keep us in a state of turmoil. And what we focus on over time is what is likely to manifest in our lives. So the cycle continues.
It's not that we necessarily do this in a conscious fashion. I doubt that anyone wants to manifest more lack in their lives. It's just the way our systems process information and feelings.
Did you know we think about 60,000 thoughts a day, and that most of them are the same ones we thought yesterday? No wonder we can find ourselves in a downward spiral.
While it can be healthy to take stock of things you want to improve about yourself and your circumstances, it's crossing that line into obsessive fretting that can be harmful. We all fall victim to the "woulda, coulda, shoulda" syndrome at times.
And then there are those times when we keep replaying events over and over in our minds. We ask ourselves what we could have done differently. We examine every angle and run through scenario after scenario. Or we project negative thoughts onto others.
Before we know it, we've used up so much energy we're exhausted. And to what end? Sometimes it's better to let it go. When we hold on to something so tightly, we can choke off any chance of letting it flow in our lives. Think about trying to hold water in your hands tightly. The harder you squeeze, the faster it comes out.
Charleston psychologist and minister Sky Kershner made a reference in a meditation last week that really made an impact on me. It went something like this: "As we reflect on the events of the past week in which our egos experienced triumphs and disappointments ..."
So it's just our egos feeling these wins and losses in our lives? When I heard that, it gave me a sense of comfort to think it's just a compartment of myself that's responsible for feeling these things. Somehow that sense of detachment was comforting.
We all know our egos serve some important functions. It's just that when they get out of check, they can cause a lot of heartache and pain. So, where is that delicate balance?
I don't believe there's an exact formula. I do believe, however, when we start to pay attention to those instances in which we become obsessed, we can start to identify triggers that lead to unhealthy thinking.