The story behind 1 minute
One day, in 1995, in what seems like another lifetime, I'm flipping through channels and I see Marianne Williamson. She's talking about how much time we spend in negativity each day -- thinking negative thoughts about ourselves. And how hard it is to get something positive to happen in your life when you're only focusing on the negative. And that we're so used to thinking unwanted thoughts that we don't even notice what we're doing.
Or something like that.
(Marianne Williamson, I apologize if I have misrepresented you. In my defense, it was more than a couple of decades ago. I'm hoping that will earn me a little wiggle room.)
At any rate, I, of course, yell, "Such BS!" and turn off the TV and throw the remote across the room.
And then I think, "Ah...If I'm being honest here, I'm going to have to admit that that was a tiiiiiiiny bit negative, wasn't it. Maybe she has a point."
So, I decide to challenge myself to think 1 minute of positive thoughts about myself. Just 1 minute. In a whole 24-hour day, how hard can 1 minute be?
I get out an index card to write down things I like about myself. Positive things. About myself. Anything at all. As long as it's positive. Well, that is not as easy as it looks.
I end up with 3 positive things about myself. It takes me 10 minutes. Here's my list: I'm good at writing. My first instinct is to be kind to people. I like my eyebrows.
I set the timer for 1 minute, read my card, close my eyes and hit go.
You know that feeling when you've been out running around all day and you finally get home and sit down and you're exhausted and it feels just so good to sit down? And someone brings you a drink? And some food? And you feel fabulous?!
It was nothing like that.
It was the world's slowest minute. I kept having to look at my index card because I would forget. By the end of the first 10 seconds, I had forgotten all 3 of the things I had any pride in in this world. Are you kidding me? Mostly I was thinking about people I hated, situations that I was ashamed of or fears I had about what was coming up for me, which was certain to be -- Marianne knows it -- more negativity.
But, I survived. I made it through. And although I actually did feel a little lighter in a very subtle way at first, the biggest surprise was the rest of the day. After just 1 minute full of struggle while trying to focus on something good about myself, I found that the entire rest of the day was calmer, lighter, less anxious. I didn't get as angry. I didn't spend all of my free time beating myself up. One little space opened up. After just 1 minute.
Okay, I thought. Now, I'm listening.