There’s so much noise in the world to distract us…and I mean this both literally and metaphorically. You’ve got the traffic, the crowds, and the chaos of the external world but, then, you’ve also got the noise of opinions, social media, other people’s expectations, and comments from those around you. With so much going on, it’s so easy to get pushed and pulled in all different directions. We can find ourselves mulling over thoughts that are not truly our own because of throwaway comments said over breakfast, an opinion shared on social media, or the general consensus of our generation’s opinion on how to best live your life.
All this noise can cause a temporary block in hearing our own heart’s desires.
As I was walking to work the other day, the cars were whizzing past and it ruined the beautiful morning. However, above the noise of the people shouting to each other in the street and engines roaring by, there was a quiet symphony of birdsong in the background. Living in the city means that little things like this can often get missed, or barely ever happen, so it was refreshing to hear. As I focussed on the birds singing, I found that all the other noise (that previously was, to be honest, getting on my fucking nerves) just faded into the background…
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in the last few years is simply this: what you pay attention to, you get more of. It’s something that was said in a parenting class I helped run, the premise being that if you focus on a child’s bad behaviour, you’ll get more of it. However, if you start paying more attention to their good behaviour, that’s what will flourish in them and they will start responding with more positive behaviour in return. This same thing can be applied to anything in life – if you focus on finding the negative in anything, you’ll find it. But, if you choose to look for the silver linings, you’ll be able to have more positivity flourish in your life. It’s a simple case of tuning into the good in order to fade out the negative.
In the same way with the birds, you can choose what you tune into in life. You can choose your thoughts, your outlook, and your approach to difficulties.* For example, if you feel that looking at Instagram isn’t beneficial for your body confidence or outlook on reality at the moment then stop following the accounts that make you feel like shit. It’s called a ‘feed’, remember? You wouldn’t feed yourself shit food and hope to fuel your body well so, likewise, don’t feed your brain stuff that makes you feel crappy and hope to have a positive outlook. Tune out of that, and choose to tune into accounts that make you feel good when you browse.
Take back control of your life. Watch TV that makes you feel good, and listen to music that brings a smile to your face. Surround yourself with people who are going to cheer you on and lift you up. Tune into all the good shit and the noise that winds you up the wrong way will fade away into the background.
You might think that I’m spouting things that cause you to avoid challenges but it’s not. Look, life isn’t all roses and some situations that happen are just absolutely shite. But, we can make life a little easier for ourselves wherever possible because this journey is hard enough as it is sometimes without all this unecessary baggage drowning out the noise of all the good things that we could be hearing. We have a habit of making life more complicated that it is when, really, we just need to “go where peace is.” (Thanks, Rachel Brathen!)
Choose to tune into the things that make you feel good, that bring you joy, contentment, and peace. Choose to tune into the positive emotions that are available for you to feel during the day and practice focusing on that everyday.
Be grateful for the coffee in the morning, and your annoyance at the rude barista will fade away. Be grateful for the car you drive, and feel the tension caused by the traffic you face melt into the background. Be grateful for the house you have to clean, and your ire at having a house so dirty will fizzle out.
You’ve got the choice. You have control. Once you realise that, everything else will come a little easier.
*FYI, I wouldn’t condone this as a universal application for all circumstances we face. ‘You can choose happiness!’ is often touted nowadays and, frankly, I think that’s bullshit because some situations you can’t choose to be happy and some individuals don’t have the option to choose happiness because of mental health difficulties.