Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Whack-a-mole Though Control

So, I was discussing with a friend recently how what we think and do can impact us as individuals. I think we all can agree that doing "bad things" or maybe even unkind or uncharitable things is not what we strive for.

But what we were talking about is thinking unkind or uncharitable things.

Maybe it's about our friends and family, or maybe it's about that person at the intersection who barely stops at the stop sign while you're waiting with your five-year-old to cross the street and then they rush off with spinning wheels and blaring music while you grip your small child's hand more tightly and think to yourself, Why is this a**hole driving like a maniac in my neighborhood?

Yeah, so those kinds of thoughts.

We agreed that sometimes you can't help those kinds of thoughts. I could even argue that sometimes thinking those thoughts is a good venting strategy that helps you deal with life.

But what if those thoughts start to change the way you think about your friends and family. Or maybe you think unkind thoughts about yourself-- the way you look, or talk, or act, or write-- in a non-constructive way.

This friend used the analogy of whack-a-mole.

And I love it.

These thoughts pop up, and that's okay.

Maybe the best we can do is whack them down when we think them.

And maybe that will be enough.

Even for me as I encounter that guy driving like a maniac in my neighborhood.

What about you? Do you let those thoughts fly or try to contain them? What do you think are the merits of each method? 

Photo attribution to Tiger Girl via Flickr available under a creative commons license.

Check out the other Kindess Project Posts here and please do join in and add your own:


  1. Whack-a-thought. I like it!

    My last day of work is 9/28 and then I can catch up on your THIRST series. I've been wanting to check kt out but laziness has taken over these past few weeks

    1. Eliza-- you definitely need to do what you need to do right now. I'm 100% in support of you being as lazy as you need to be until that baby arrives.

  2. Ohhhh, how those thoughts do pop up when you least expect them! And we all have them, don't we? I love your analogy, though. I think one of the best "whack-a-mole" strategies is to put yourself in that person's shoes. Imagine why they are the way they are. Even if it doesn't necessarily make you want to be best friends, trying to understand them can shape the way you view them and interact with them.

    1. Great advice Carolina-- that's maybe the most important life lesson of all.

  3. Great analogy! And you're right; those unkind thoughts do pop up. It seems like human nature. The hard part is pushing them back down. But giving into them only makes us less kind. Bullying the bully is never the answer.

    I like what Carolina said. Also, I suspect part of the problem is we're all in too much of a hurry today and no one takes the time for manners or to get to know our neighbors.

    1. True, Joanne! I think in our society it's very easy to say, "I'm just too busy and stressed out" and that's not the way to go.

  4. The comments totally disappeared on here because of a switch with the intense debate plug in-- but please know I did get your comments Connie, Jaime, Leigh, Rebecca, Nick, Barbara, and Alison! I hope you had a chance to see my replies before they got eaten by the plug in!

    Thanks for the comments!

    I re-installed comment luv, so it will hopefully work well from now on.

  5. A perfect metaphor! Love it.

    I posted on the Kindness Project and am trying to stop in to say hi to the others who signed up. Glad I stopped in here today to read your post.


YAY for comments! Thanks for adding to the conversation.