How, you wonder? When you get a young puppy you know you are going to have to do some training with it. If you don’t, it will run around peeing in all corners of your house, it will chew on your furniture, clothes, shoes, whatever it will come across, it will not listen if you call for it to come to you or tell it to sit. So you train with it, you take it outside regularly, you reward the good behavior it shows, and (try) to ignore the bad behavior, since that works better than punishment.
In that way it is much similar to your mind, if you don’t learn how to train your mind, it will have all kinds of thoughts, good ones, bad ones, ones you cannot act on, ones you can act on, and also ones that make you feel really bad. A Google search showed me that on average we have around 6000 thoughts throughout the day. That’s a lot! On most of them we don’t consciously act, most of them don’t even serve us very well, or are very productive. Often we just think, and then follow the thought, and that follow up can be actually doing something, but also it can just create a judgement you unconsciously act on. For instance, if you think something like; “I made a mistake, that was so dumb of me”, you probably feel bad and your confidence and overal feeling about yourself drops with ten points, or even more! This can last a couple of minutes, hours, days, or even longer, depending on how severe you judge the mistake to be and what consequence it had. This just happens because you are used to thinking all these thoughts and not question them, often we just take them for truth. They just pop up in your head and it leads you through your day.Your mind just wanders all over the place, just like a happy puppy, jumping from one to another experience. Not aware of any of the consequences of its behavior. And those consequences are often not what you desire for yourself.
Low self esteem, imposter syndrome, anxious feelings, feeling like your not good enough, working harder to be more successful, be more productive, the stress of trying to function as a sensitive in an insensitive world, they are all examples of our mind judging life. In this process we get burned out, have a lot of stress, feel bad about ourselves because we don’t seem able to live a happy life like others.
Those are just some of the the miserable effects our thoughts can produce. If you think often that you didn’t do something very well, you end up believing that you suck, that you are not good enough. If you think often that you have to pay attention to everything around you or else you will get into trouble or bad things will happen, you will start to feel anxious. The thing is, we don’t question the thought to begin with, so it creates a feeling and then an action. And since we tend to think more negative thoughts (shown in research) our overal feeling about ourselves and our lives can deteriorate quickly. Making us work even harder, do more our best, try more to prevent the bad from happening, and so creating a struggle which is hard to overcome. And until you start learning how to train your mind, it will just continue to be a struggle.
Your mind is actually in need of some training, when to ignore a thought, to discern wether or not to take the thought seriously or to let it go with a smile. Teaching it to not run after every bone the world throws at you. Now you may think, how in the world can I control my brain? I cannot not think something. And you are correct on that.
But thinking something and then assessing what to do with the thought is actually very well within your control. Assessing wether you want to take it serious, if you need to act on it, or if it just a thought you don’t want to pay attention to, let alone believe. Now it is impossible to think about and assess all those 6000 thoughts, but if you start training your brain on at least part of them, it becomes easier and your mind will get used to it, so it won’t run around jumping from thought to thought without any discernment about how to act on or feel about them. It becomes trained, just as that puppy who learns to not chew on anything it comes across and only pee outside. It is what we call a resilient mind.
Think about how things would change if you would stop taking the thoughts that make you feel miserable so serious. If you think about your thoughts an ask, how do they serve me? Is this actually true or is it a judgement based on old patterns, previous experiences, or things learned in childhood? We often don’t correct this habitual thinking because we are so used to them. We are so used to thoughts like; I will never be able to fit in, they are going to find out I really suck at this, if I just work harder I’d be happier, if I just pay more attention then things will go right, or I am just too sensitive for this world.
What would it free up for you? What beliefs could you do without? What is your biggest struggle? Let me know!
So what to do? How to go about this? You can try to become aware as much as you can, but often you forget this during the day and you end up in your old patterns and then beating yourself up again for not learning. But remember, your brain is just as that little puppy, it does not learn overnight, or after one time. It needs a training period, a more intense practice until it becomes more of a new habit.
Learning about all the different voices we have in our minds, our inner judge, and other accomplish saboteurs such as the controller, stickler, and the pleaser (and more) all have very distinct ways of stressing you out, of trying to make the best of life but they all have in common that they do not get you the happiness and succes you aim for. And the truth is, you do deserve to be happy and have a great life! Reach out to me if you would like support with this!