Just as viruses can causes physical suffering, mental viruses, or toxic thinking patterns, can cause mental and emotional suffering. Mental viruses are any negative thinking patterns that keep us from experiencing the happiness and peace which God intends us to have. We can eliminate and protect ourselves from viruses of the mind by using the following tools:
1 Avoid victim mentality. No one has had a perfect life. Parents, friends, and family are imperfect, just as we are imperfect. When we focus our thoughts on the deficiencies and mistakes of others, we do not allow ourselves to experience present peace.
We cannot change others, and we cannot change the past, but we can change the way we view others. We can forgive those who may have offended us, and we can refuse to blame others for our own choices. As we become survivors—rather than victims—we destroy the viruses of self-pity, bitterness, and judgment which can destroy our peace of mind.
2. Avoid fear-based thinking. Our thoughts are either fear-based or centered on love. We can choose to replace fearful thoughts with loving ones. Love is a choice that begins with our thinking. We can free ourselves to loves ourselves and others more fully by remembering that each person on earth is a divine child of God with infinite potential.
We avoid fear-based thinking when we live joyfully in the moment, not fearing the future or regretting the past. We can learn from past mistakes and move forward without becoming frozen with fear. We can learn from the strengths of others as we celebrate the talents, gifts, and individual beauty of each person we meet. Fear destroys our peace of mind. Love enhances it. Choose love.
3. Choose forgiveness. The most miserable people I know choose to live with feelings of vengeance and bitterness. They believe others’ wrongs determine whether or not they can live with peace and happiness. Forgiveness destroys these toxic—and sometimes lethal--viruses. As Gandhi said, "An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind."
Forgiveness is a loving gift we give ourselves. Forgiveness is a choice to release the bad
—and sometimes evil—acts of another to a Higher Power. It frees us from being the judge, jury, and executioner of another, realizing that only God has the power to know the heart of another person. Forgiveness heals our hearts and empowers us to live authentically and peacefully.
4. Seek kindness. If we have to choose between being right and being kind, choose kindness. Kindness is a powerful and healing way of thinking and living. It fosters civility, patience, gentleness, and courage. Those who choose kindness transform the world with love. Kind people are strong, for they live with power and authenticity. They refuse to allow emotions of hatred, anger, or revenge to destroy their peace of mind.
Mother Teresa, Mahatma Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln, and countless of the greatest humanitarians and leaders in the world sought to live with a spirit of kindness and mercy. Lincoln said, “Kindness is the only service that will stand the storm of life and not wash out. It will wear well and will be remembered long after the prism of politeness or the complexion of courtesy has faded away.”
Mother Teresa posted this quote by Kent Keith on the wall of her orphanage in Calcutta. It summarizes how we can protect ourselves from viruses of the mind. Enjoy!
People are often unreasonable,
illogical, and self-centered;
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, People may accuse you of
selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some
false friends and some true enemies;
If you are honest and frank,
people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness,
they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today,
people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have,
and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.
You see, in the final analysis,
it is between you and God;
It was never between you and them anyway.
© Carol Brown