If you grew up in a tropical environment, you’re very familiar with the danger of termites. Residing in nests, they are tiny yet formidable opponents of the common homeowner. They enjoy dark places, feed on waste, and ruin quality material. Not unlike the negative thoughts running rampant in our heads, the discomfort and devastating damage they cause starts from the inside. And like termites, the structural damage of destructive self-thoughts may not even be noticeable until long after they begin their work. By then, it may be too late to salvage your investment.
Just as this pest works to undermine the foundation of your home, the judgments you level against yourself and others serve to gnaw away at what is true, beautiful, and unique about you. Whenever you make assumptions about what others think about you, you’re making your head space more unlivable. Every time you call yourself, fat, stupid, slow, unlovable, ugly, lazy, undeserving, etc. you are growing your infestation. When we level these types of criticisms at others, our infestation threatens to blight someone else’s home. Every single termite must be killed.
Once infested, there is no easy way to extricate your self from these damaging beliefs. Virally reproducing, those things you tell yourself become your truth. They are insidious, intrusive, and in some cases debilitating. Some of us misidentify the problem as an external one, and “pick up stakes and move” from our domain. We leave jobs, trade partners, find new hobbies, join interest groups, and start diets. But we carry the termites with us in our bags, to effectively destroy our new found interests time and again. Without fumigating thoroughly to the depths of our floors and walls, we risk watching everything collapse, trapping everything valuable under the rubble.
I am not saying that it is possible to always have positive thoughts. I am encouraging you to inspect your thoughts. Find the sagging floors, the holes in your woodwork, and the hollow parts of your foundation. What things do you say to yourself that you would never say to your children, a mentor, a friend, your life partner? What spaces do you allow others to reside for which they pay no rent? What unpleasant thoughts undermine your power and belief in your abilities? Find your termites and annihilate each one, because there is no such thing as one termite, and they never remain in one room.
Your “home” is the largest investment you’ll ever make. You are not able to effectively serve others or honor your belief in anyone else if you harbor anemic or bloated thoughts about yourself. When you leave the infestation unattended, it destroys your substance and character. When you stop paying attention to your “home”, you will suffer costly repairs to your edifice.
- Fumigate. Rid yourself of the undesirable thoughts.
- Create an environment in which termites can no longer thrive. Grow a spirit of love, gratitude, and acceptance. Practice self-appreciation.
- Be vigilant. Don’t invite visitors who travel with their own termites into your now clean space. Schedule frequent inspections. And,
- Don’t trade your termites for other types of vermin.