Today, I was thinking about a quote about roses having thorns. I first heard that quote in Al-anon when someone was complaining about the alcoholic in their life. My sponsor spoke the quote to her and reminded her to focus on the good things in life amidst the bad things. With a search on the internet, I found the quote and found that it was originally spoken by Abraham Lincoln. Very interesting discovery for me.
The quote I chose this evening is:
“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.” Abraham Lincoln
The quote above has two parts to it that I will discuss. First, “We can complain because rose bushes have thorns,”says something not profound but about complaining. I remember that before therapy and Al-anon, I was a professional complainer. I always saw the negative in any given situation. With the help of counseling, I learned that negative thoughts breed more negative thoughts and feelings. I had to learn to change my perspective. I had to switch my negative thoughts to positive ones. This is done by a technique of “thought stopping.” Wikipedia says,
Thought stopping is a controversial self-intervention technique prescribed by therapists (psychologists and psychiatrists) with the goal of interrupting and removing problematic recurring thought patterns. The problem thought could be a worry, an obsession, an urge, an unwanted habit, etc. One approach is to command, yell, or mind scream “Stop!” whenever the unwanted thought recurs, and then think of a more positive or productive thought to replace it with. Another technique is to wear a rubber band on the wrist which the patient snaps to punish himself whenever the unwanted thought surfaces. Dismissing the thought at will as soon as it is noticed is another method.
While using that technique or exercise with my internal dialogue, I learned to stop my thought process mid-stream and replace the negative thought with a positive one. The second part of the quote, “or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.” uses that very process of “thought stopping” and encourages me to look at the positive and rejoice in that. The second part of the quote simply compares the negative thoughts (complaining) with the positive thoughts (rejoicing).
Do you have negative thoughts? Do you see the thorns in your situations? Or do you see the roses despite the thorns? Listen to my favorite song, “The Rose” by Bette Midler.
My gratitude list of 5 things I am grateful for this tonight:
Thankful for the technique or exercise of “thought stopping.”
Thankful that my negativity changed to positivity in my internal dialogue.
Grateful for the gift of gratitude because it shows me how to change negative to positive.
Grateful for my family and their positive thought and spoken words.
Thankful for counseling and the Al-anon Fellowship that modeled positive ideas and thoughts.