You are a gardener. You love planting good things in your mind, watching them grow, and harvesting their fruit.
However, for your garden to succeed, you must do some gardening work. You must be ruthlessly diligent about weeding out negative thoughts and emotions daily. They will take over and prevent you from reaping a plentiful harvest if you don’t.
Mental housecleaning removes the weeds from the fertile soil of your mind.
How do you do mental housecleaning?
Where do the weeds come from?
Most of the negativity that you experience does not come from the outside world, but from the distorted mental models that you are running.
Your mental models are the software you have unconsciously built in your brain to make sense of the world. You have constructed these patterns by observing how the world works and by learning from and imitating others.
You use your mental models to evaluate incoming sensory perceptions, to guide your behavior, and to help you figure out how to achieve your goals.
Distorted mental models are the generators of negative thoughts. They are the toxic soil in your garden. They choke out the good plants and prevent them from growing. These mental models are deeply ingrained in our psyches and can be challenging to modify.
If you don’t weed them out regularly, they will take over, and your garden will be overrun with negativity. Like in an actual garden, you must be willing and able to identify your faulty mental models and yank them out by the roots. This requires presence and conscious awareness.
Some tips for your mental housecleaning
Recognize negative thoughts when they arise.
Be grateful for them; they show you where the weeds are growing!
Acknowledge that these thoughts are not helpful or productive.
Label the thoughts as "unhelpful" and tell yourself that you don't want them in your garden.
Examine your mental models
What mental model are you running that is generating these thoughts?
Don't give these thoughts more power! Observe them and let them go.
Don't give these thoughts power over you- they are just thoughts, after all.
Be gentle with yourself as you work to change your thought patterns.
Weeding out recurring negative thought patterns is not always easy - if you don't tear out their roots, they will spring back up.
Surround yourself with positive people and constructive environments
Being exposed to fewer triggers that you can perceive as negative reduces the chance that your mental house will get dirty over and over again.
Remember that you are capable of change.
With time and practice, you can and will create a beautiful garden within your mind.
It takes awareness, time, and effort to eliminate these negative patterns, but it is well worth it in the end.
Negative thoughts and emotions prevent you from living a joyful life. To have a beautiful garden, you must be diligent about your daily mental housecleaning.
Mental housecleaning requires presence and conscious awareness. Like in a natural garden, you must be willing and able to identify your faulty mental models and rip them out by the roots.