Why You’re Stuck – Stinking Thinking. Part 2 of Our “Open Your Damned Eyes” Series.

Have you ever started out the day in a pretty good mood, or at least not minding it all so much?

You resolve to appreciate the day, get the stuff done that is weighing on your heart, have a great day.

But then, you discover the shirt you wanted to wear is in the wash . . . “oh my god, have you seen the pile in the laundry room? . . . I’ll just throw in a quick load . . . you open the washer door . . . %&*#@&+ who left their wet laundry in here AGAIN?” . . .

Now you have a mildew problem . . . “why do all these animals keep creating work for you?” Plus, you have to decide if you should just dump the mildewed pile in the offender’s room to “teach him a lesson.”

But who’s really getting the “lesson,” since you’re the one who has to deal with the ensuing mildew odor that will surely stink up the whole house . . . so you decide to run their clothes through another cycle . . . and there goes your clean shirt for the day.

Since that didn’t work out like everything else in your life that should be simple but isn’t, you go to your closet to find something else to wear.

Except . . .

. . . You don’t have anything to wear. Because you’re fat.

And, everything you own is so shabby, shapeless . . . just like your body . . . “my body is so depressing these days . . . when I stop walking it takes five minutes for my thighs to get the memo and stop jiggling . . . if only I’d kept on that diet I started 24, 15, 7, 3 weeks ago . . . why can’t I stick to anything? 4 diets in six months, and I’m still fat.”

So, you throw on a muumuu but you jazz it up with that emerald-eye cat pin you hate but can’t seem to throw/give away because it was a gift from your beloved, but now long-dead crazy aunt . . . and she was the only one who ever loved you . . .” why didn’t anyone ever love me?”

Do you see what happened here?

You got up ready to do your day. But you hit a snag, and the snag caught on the first sad-ass thought. And sad-ass thoughts are more contagious than the flu, and so, the first negative thought snagged another going by. And, in a matter of minutes, your whole life unraveled.

You suffer from Stinking Thinking. The lens through which you view your life is clouded by half-truths that you tell yourself about yourself and your life situation.

The problem is your brain is essentially stupid. It believes what you tell it. (click to tweet)

It accepts half-truths as the King James truth about your life.

Your brain believes you when you tell it that your life sucks, that people don’t love you, that you’re ugly, lazy, hopeless. Oh, and fat. Don’t forget fat.

Since all action is rooted in thinking, when you engage in Stinking Thinking, your actions reek as well.

If you deconstruct what happened up there, you’ll see that one negative thought attracted the next one. And that one, being also the “truth” about your life, snagged on another.

When you tell your brain that your life is depressing, hopeless, and futile it will spring into action to find circumstances that support that line of thinking. It will find everything in your life that sucks and it will point it out to you.


If it can’t find anything crappy enough, your brain will start to make shit up. Notice how you’re not standing in front of your washing machine GRATEFUL that you have a washing machine in your house.

(Quick aside – if you DON’T have a washing machine in your house – if you “have” to go to the Laundromat, notice how you got a bit of self-pity that you don’t have a machine in your home life EVERYONE ELSE who reads Life After Tampons.)

Yep, all of us “wealthy folk.”

For you, notice how you are NOT grateful that you have a Laundromat to go to and that you are not cleaning your clothes by smacking them on stones down by the river.

Anyway, here’s the thing Sweet Pea:

Whatever you place in your Magical Magnifying Mind grows. (click to tweet)

I call this the “Sticky Tape” phenomenon. Whatever you are thinking is written on sticky tape – it will attract more of the same. If you are thinking negative thoughts, your essentially stupid brain will look for more.

If you are looking at things with optimism, if you have decided that life is good, your essentially mindless brain will hop right in and support you in that decision.

So, what you need to do is to remind yourself not to forget to remember to look on the bright side of things. You need to train your mindless mind to mind the “good stuff.” Your objective is to train yourself to “see” only good.

Okay, how many of you objected to that last statement? “What kind of La La Land does this Jennifer-Chick live in that she has the audacity to suggest that life is good? Does she not read the paper?”

If you want to be happy, if you want to get unstuck, you’re gonna have to sacrifice your will just a little bit.

Choose to “see” what is good in life. Develop your mental muscle power to strengthen and support you, rather than destroy any hope that you create. In short, do your mental push-ups.

Here’s how– When you catch yourself thinking crappy stuff, when you feel yourself sliding into an abyss of negativity, say out loud “STOP.” (Yes, it works better if you stay STOP out loud.) Then replace your sad-ass thought with a glad-ass one.

Be grateful. Make it your life’s work. Express your appreciation, to yourself and others. Start now, in the comments below.  Oh, and here’s Part 1 of Why You’re Stuck.  In case you’re really stuck.


P.S. If you’re really committed to change, make sure you’ve signed up for updates. That way you can be mindless and let me send them to you. Sign up here.

Oh, and photo is flickr, from someone named “y!”


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25 Responses to Why You’re Stuck – Stinking Thinking. Part 2 of Our “Open Your Damned Eyes” Series.

  1. Connie Foss says:

    Beautifully said! I just had an experience like that first thing this morning. Instead of dwelling on the sticky, negative message someone sent me, I hopped on my bike and rode to the beach. Swam in the crystal water and prayed to let go, be grateful, all the things your post talked about. It works! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Mary says:

    thanks really needed to hear this on Monday. And what a fantastic Monday it is!!!

  3. Have you installed surveillance cameras in my home? The parallels to what you are writing and to my life are getting a little bizarre, lol! But thank you for reminding me to remember to not forget that my life is gorgeous and the fact that bitching about a laundry pile might negate that to the Universe makes me throw up in my mouth a little 😉 Thank you my friend – you are spectacular!

  4. The GREAT thing is, your brain is BRILLIANT! It believes what you tell it. It does not discriminate or weed out the bad shit from the good shit. So, TELL IT ONLY GOOD!

  5. Jennifer,

    Of all the things you’ve ever shared, here’s the most important:
    Be grateful. Make it your life’s work. Express your appreciation, to yourself and others.
    Wow! It’s amazing how easy it is to slip into that STINKING THINKING even
    when we live in beautiful places, have so much luxury compared to so much of the world, and most of all have working brains that come up with all this crazy thinking.

    Even though I wrote a book on happiness and coach others to go for their goals, I don’t get to be exempt from this human tendency to get tripped by a small snag in my day and plummet from there to a pitiful and pathetic mood. In other words, even when we know better we still have to work at doing better.

    That’s why I love your reminder that being grateful and expressing it is our life’s work. Each day we get to choose anew.

    So, today I chose to say STOP to some negative chatter that threatened to darken my day as soon as I woke up. Instead, I’m reminding myself of the wonderful life I have, the healthy kids and grandkids I have, and the amazing folks I’ve met on and off line who care enough to help me stay mindful. Therefore, I take responsbility for where I am in my life, which means I have the power to change it. Yippee!

    Thank you.

  6. Jeanette2 says:

    Wonderful article! I, too, think you must have secret cameras installed in my home. How did you know our washing machine needs a new motor & we are reduced this week to (gasp) doing laundry at the homes of family members who live nearby? And then you managed to work in a mention of my recent weight gain and the failure to be loved enough, too! : )
    As for the moral of the story, I forget regularly how affluent and blessed my life is. I read somewhere that if you are shopping for, say, a red car, your subconscious mind is set up in such a way that you’ll start noticing red cars EVERYWHERE you go. What you are thinking about, you notice more of. It seems to actually grow and expand — I mean, who ever thought there were so many red cars on the road and in parking lots around where you live? Noticing what works, what to appreciate, needs to be my “red car” of choice. It will help my days (weeks, years, life) go better, and when I am doing better I have more resources to offer others and be a positive force in the world.

  7. Tim Brownson says:

    The idea of what you’re saying is a good one, but it’s not actually accurate to say your brain believes what you tell it.

    If that were true we could reverse 3 million years of evolution, we could remove phobias and irrational fears with ease and helping people with depression would be a doddle.

    Thoughts effect everything we do that’s very true, but conscious thoughts and the much more powerful unconscious thoughts are not the same thing and the premise that happy thoughts lead to more happy thoughts and vice versa would suggest happy people are always happy and sad people will always remain sad.

    I genuinely think the message is a good one, but I also think we have a duty of care to be accurate and not suggest it’s just a case of thinking happy thoughts.

    Hope it’s ok to say that.

    • Jennifer says:

      Hi, Tim. Thank you for writing in. Here at Life After Tampons, we’re seeking individual solutions to things that dog us. Your point may be true for all of humanity, but that’s not what we’re doing here. Most of us are too smart for our own good, we’ve discarded real workable solutions because we’ve looked for “holes in the argument” instead of just trying something new and making adjustments until we find something that works..

      It is true that an individual can’t overcome the PHYSICAL symptoms of depression without help. But it is also true that many of us repeat negative things to ourselves all day long, and that habit hurts us.

      We’re too old to be arguing about what is right or wrong for all of humanity, we don’t have time for that any more. We’re looking for things that will help us finally take a turn in our own lives. Checking your negativity at the door each day ABSOLUTELY helps any person who trys it enough.

      And absolutely it’s “okay to say that.” I’m glad you did.


  8. Debbie says:

    I love your articles and find I can relate. It is just comforting to know others feel the same way. Have you read any of Joyce Meyers’ books? A lot of your writings are similar and I love the down to earth way your ideas are presented. Keep up the excellent work. I love when your emails arrive in my inbox.

  9. Bonnie says:

    It is so easy to see what we don’t have in the midst of all we do have! I had a business set back last week (person won’t pay me what they signed a contract for) and it was necessary to sever this business relationship. I was disappointed – BIG time yet not as big as in the past. Why? I caught myself, asked myself the lessons learned from this experience. I let myself sit with the disappointment a bit – but not too long. Then I started to think of ideas to boost my business. Onward and upward, don’t dwell, just consider it another lesson. Don’t let disappointments “eat you up” – always remember, “this too shall pass.” Thanks Jennifer for reminding me to stop and say “stop” – this has helped me in the past too.

  10. Betty says:

    I love the visual that negative thoughts are like sticky tape. They certainly do multiply when left untended.

    I am thankful, grateful, thrilled to have a new job at a great place just when I was thinking as a 50+ woman that nobody was interested in hiring me.

  11. Cija Black says:

    Thank you for this Jennifer. I was giggle, snorting all the way through this article. It was beautifully and sarcastically said. For the person that wants to argue the point down to science and logic and I think that view actually misses the point altogether and turns it into an A + B +C sort of thing. There is no possibility that we will lose our ability to be negative simply because we make an effort to give a happy string of thoughts together over the muumuu of sadness. Our brains are actually keyed to look out for danger and avoid it, which is why it is SO much easier to string a bunch of unhappy, soul sucking thoughts together. The point is choice, the choice at each moment to eithere look down or look up and I know that is is much easier for me to move through my day when I feel up about the big and the little things.

  12. Gayle says:

    I think it’s funny when people want you to jump into their “bad day thinking” when you’re creating your own “best day”. If you turn some negative event into something positive–then tell someone about it, they quickly find the negative in it. I’m sick of that stuff–I don’t have my own washing machine at the moment, but I can make it to the laundromat at 6:00 am to wash my clothes–until I can get a place to have my own washing machine–and I have dreams that only I can make happen–instead of living other peoples’ dreams they didn’t have the courage to jump out and live. Love your blog–thanks!!

  13. Ali Davies says:

    Our mindset is certainly a powerful driver of how we experience everything in our lives and the outcomes we get so, working to improve it is a no brainer. Seeking out useful resources that help us with that process is really helpful. One I have used many times with “feeding” the mindset I want to foster is a book called “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz. Really good food for thought around our mindset. I have read it umpteen times and never fail to get something useful from it. I highly recommend it.

  14. Sarah says:

    I laughed out load with this post (don’t normally do that when reading blogs!)
    Yep, I totally do the nose dive into the abyss thing, all triggered from one thing going wrong. And when I get flustered I can’t operate properly causing more s**t to happen. I love your work.


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