You Are What You Think

DSCN7942It isn’t what you have, or who you are, or where you are, or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about. ~ Dale Carnegie




It has been almost a year since I started this blog…well 10 months really.  And in that time I have been on a journey to reconnect to my inner happiness.  It lies within me, within us all…all the time…available.  We just have to tap into it….to allow it to come into our lives.



Seems simple really, but it has been a bumpy road filled with so much learning, knowing, joy and some sadness that had to be wiped away occasionally.  When I read this quote by Dale Carnegie recently, it really stuck with me.  Simple and not so simple sometimes.  Just change your thoughts…



But in reality, it takes time to change our thought patterns…and we need patience DSCN7941with ourselves.  If we have been in a worrying frame of mind….my legacy given to me by my mom and my aunt who raised her….forever worrying about every little thing, thought, detail….we won’t just stop worrying at the drop of a hat.  Or maybe in a negative cycle where we think everything is going to go wrong…nothing ever works out….we just aren’t meant to be happy or to have nice things….well you get the picture.  I remember hearing some of this too growing up.  Part of a generation plagued by a Depression and war.



And when you have been exposed to or been part of these limiting thoughts for so long, they become you.  There is a fear in letting them go because they have been part of your identity.  Long engrained habitual thinking.  And there is the thought….If I stop the worry, what will I replace it with?   We even have long-held social interactions with family and friends around the worry…the negative.  Now how do I or who do I talk with if I give it all up?



I know this may sound crazy, but the fear and not wanting to let it all go can be real.  And it can completely change who and how we interact with those closest to us….some friendships may even slip away because the negativity is too much for us once we begin to change.



I have been dealing with changing thought patterns for a long time around family.  You DSCN7938can easily get sucked back in, as I did early on years ago as I began this change.  Especially when family doesn’t want to change.  But now I think about what I want for myself.  How I want to feel.  I think about the happiness always there for me….something I choose to tap into as often as possible.



And I want to enjoy my life…connect with people over mutual interests and celebrate the achievements we all are making.  So I continue to be a role model for some family and friends turning conversations to the positive….talking about the good things happening.  Changing the perspective, seeing the gifts laid before me each moment.



The flowers blooming and shifting, the cries of laughter of children playing outside my window, the birds…new ones visiting daily with new songs to witness.  The flowers are springing up all over dotting the landscape with a rainbow of colors….oh the heavenly perfume.  These wonders keep me connected to my inner bliss.



DSCN7939Will there be sad times…the loss of loved ones….the worry when a loved one is sick?  Absolutely.  That is just part of life.  But I try not to dwell there for long….I look for the gifts always around me, and lift up those who may be in pain with kindnesses….a bouquet of flowers or just a smile.  Trying to always see the magic, the tingly joyful times before me.






Special Note:   The flowers pictured here are columbines, specifically Aquilegia Vulgaris Nora Barlow Pink’.  In The Language of Flowers, columbines represent being anxious and trembling.  Such a lovely flower to have such worries, but I will dwell on their beauty not their meaning.








I leave you with more thoughts about the power of positive thinking.  Feel free to download this photo and share.

think positive

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2015.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

40 Replies to “You Are What You Think”

  1. Columbines, aquilegia, grannies bonnets are a part of my childhood. I had never known their meaning – and chose to put it aside and remember them for their beauty, their resilience, and their sweet nectar.
    Even on the darkest days there is always beauty if I keep my heart, mind and eyes open – for which I am grateful. Very grateful.

  2. I am a huge believer in the power of positive thinking! I have this conversation with my mom all the time…only the individual can make change…not anyone around them. At times I have to preach to myself too! Love the columbine images!

  3. Yes it does take time to change your thoughts and kindness and acceptance of yourself. No-one can please all the folk all the time, you are so right to try and enjoy the moments though. Still no idea of what lovely photographs you are sharing today Donna. There is rumour of an improved internet speed in our village next year. I live in hope!

  4. Gorgeous shots! And I agree – and a recent study has confirmed this: that your thoughts do affect what you do and who you are.

  5. I’ve suffered from anxiety for as long as I can remember, at one point was so bad that I was spending all
    my day contemplating suicide and the part that angered me the most was the fact that I couldn’t sleep and
    the severe insomnia almost drove me mad. Only a couple months ago I come across a review about program
    called the Thought Elevators program it contains some meditation techniques that helped me to get rid of depression, now I fell more confident, happy and for the first time in many years I can say that I am happy to be alive
    If you want to check it out yourself you can read about it here
    So thank you dor this article, panic attacks are like someone is literally crushing you hearth with his
    hand, and the worst part is that most of the time I didn’t know why I had a panic attack

  6. I wanted to thank Derek for his brave and helpful post just above. For those who suffer with anxiety, it takes a huge amount of effort to change. Sometimes medications are needed. Surely, meditation needs to become a part of daily life. For myself, when I was actively meditating, anxiety was at a minimum. It is like a circuitry in the brain that needs to be altered, and can rarely happen with just thinking positively, although there is no doubt that helps a lot. I often have to stop myself in the middle of anxiety and use a series of questions that I learned from Byron Katie. If you’ve never listened to her work, I encourage you to google the name. She has been a life-saver for me. Thanks Donna, for addressing this subject in your post….it’s powerful. I’ve just returned from the beach where I went to clear my head for a few days, wonderful! Changing patterns always helps! Loved the pics today Donna….

    1. I agree Susan, Derek was brave to share his story and it helps many of us when we do share. I do know some of Byron Katie’s work and thanks for mentioning it here. And so glad you found the post powerful and helpful….feeling the love and support my friend!

  7. The columbines are beautiful flowers and you’ve captured them in such a nice way, Donna. I recognized their Latin name Aquilegia and realized I also have them in my garden, even two varieties. A small violet variety which grows in my rock garden and a tall pink variety which grows wildly by a fence next to our neighbours. I wonder whether they planted it and its seeds got to our part or whether it is a wild flower… I have to ask them sometimes.

    I guess Carnegie gets it right, it is what we think about that makes us happy. Yet what we think about relates to who we are enormously and as you’ve said, it’s difficult to break those patterns. I always say to my younger son who tends to be quite negative that it’s “cheap” to reach for the negative as you don’t need to invest much energy into that, it’s much easier than to be positive, but I need to hear that too and change my thinking patterns. Thanks for this inspiration, Donna!

    1. Those columbines sound lovely Petra and how lucky to have them growing wild. I love how you say it is easier and cheap to go to the negative….and once we do the work, the benefits from the positive side are so worth the work!

  8. This is all so true. And hard to change. At the moment though all that I can think about is that I am too damn hot, lol. Heat wave here 🙂 Feels like August and it’s not even summer yet.

    Your columbines are lovely as are all of your posts. Whether I am too hot or not I do enjoy them 🙂

    1. We have been having temps in and near the 80s with severe storms almost daily and flooding….crazy weather….hope you can stay cool Deb. Our weather has produced a bumper crop of skeeters here.

  9. Very thoughtful post… Anxiety and depression are not talked about, yet so many have had to or are coping with it. The mind is so powerful. Both for good and not so good as that negative voice in my head. I am still on my journey and appreciate that you are so open and accessible. I just found my journal from 12 years ago when I had a terrible spinal cord lesion and could not walk… I read of my fears and hope to walk again. I need to remember that I did that with a lot of hard work….. Hope I don’t have to again

    1. Michelle that is wonderful that reading your old journals can help you….it is amazing how we forget how strong we were and how strong we still are….I am happy that you found the post helpful.

  10. I have been lucky to not have had the afflictions others speak of here. Having a positive attitude and being thankful for being alive is all I need to face each day with a smile. To be living in thought as the quote seems to imply would be a sad existence for me. I need the stimulation everyday of what I experience first hand where I am, enjoy and be thankful what I have, and love the job I do each day. The quote is really not one I would subscribe to. So late in life, no change is necessary for me. I guess I am like those in your family. Like what is wrong with the way things are and who we have become?

    1. That is wonderful Donna….and as they say, ‘different strokes for different folks’ which is what makes life so interesting. Having that positive attitude is everything isn’t it! We just may get to it in different ways….

  11. I have a small piece of art posted by the back door – the way I usually leave or enter our home. It reads “Don’t believe everything you think”. I have found adhering to that principle simple, but not easy. Old patterns resurface in stressful times and interrupting what has become familiar can seem counterproductive, even when it means adapting a more positive approach.

  12. Earlier today I was reading one of Paramahansa Yogananda’s books and the chapter I was reading was about the same subject as this post and one of the sub headings was “we are what we think we are”. Both your post and the words in the book are inspiring.

    They remind that I should always try and brush away the negative thoughts and focus on the positive ones. I do try but I don’t always succeed 😉

  13. Wonderful post. I was a cognitive therapist and so much of what I did was work with people to change their thoughts, to see things in a new way. Life is too short to live from a perspective of unhappiness. xo Laura

  14. I LOVE those words….they just grabbed me at first sight.
    It’s what we think that makes us unhappy and frustrated, isn’t it.
    We get to choose our thoughts. So much is a choice.
    Life:) Thanks for the sweet reminder,

  15. I hadn’t thought about how scary making a change that most would consider positive can be. We all have a story or narrative we tell ourselves about who we are, and that narrative provides a coherent structure to our biography through a set of threads that we see as largely unchanging through our lives. But if we decide to change how we think (e.g., moving from negative thoughts to positive by practicing gratitude), it can threaten the coherence of our sense of self. And others also have narratives about who we are that they use to interact with us, and they may also be resistant to changes that threaten to disrupt those narratives.

    1. It is fascinating Jean and I have recently realized much of what you have said here especially in relation to friends and family. They sometimes have a hard time dealing with our changes or understanding them. Thanks as always for your insightful thoughts….they add so much to my education!

  16. This was beautiful written and a subject I ponder a lot. We are all surrounded by hardships, and negativity. It takes a lot of effort to think positively. And of course the help of a higher power. Thanks for writing about this my friend. Sweet hugs, Diane

  17. Hi Donna, Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving a comment. I am glad that you did, it led me to your blog. What a wonderful site. The layout is well arranged and the content is very inspiring. I love your quotes most specially ~ indeed, why should we seek out the storms when there is a lot of sunshine to enjoy right now? I will surely think of this. Thank you once again and have a beautiful day…

  18. Hi, a beautiful post. True indeed that changing our thoughts is not that easy, it is a process and we really need a lot of patience. Thanks for sharing. Great Read!

  19. Beautiful images. I am not sure I agree with Carnegie that we can change our thoughts. I do think we can be mindful of them: that is, recognize what is going on and hopefully move on if the thought or feeling isn’t helpful or healthy. It is like that old thing where someone says: Don’t think of an apple. You automatically will think of an apple.

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