One of my standard “coachingisms” is
Don’t Believe Everything You Think.
Our brains like us to believe that our thoughts are an accurate reflection of what is happening when in truth we are always adding our own filter, context, and meaning.
Sometimes this is helpful as we need our interpretive brain to keep us functioning at a higher level but it can backfire when we allow our unexamined and possibly-not-really-true thoughts to become our reality.
One option is to think less, as modeled below by Astro, the Department of Practical Sunshine’s Chief Happiness Officer.
For most of us that’s not an option.
Consider the last time you went into a thought rabbit hole. What was it about—work? Politics? Family? The fact that Grape Nuts contains neither grapes nor nuts?*
When you allowed thoughts to swirl and you believed them, what was the result?
I find I alter my behavior and actions based on those thoughts and not always to positive effect. Especially when the thoughts are rooted in fear, anger, or hurt, I find I cannot be my most compassionate and aligned self.
For while we are not our thoughts, our thoughts are one way through which we interpret the world; they directly impact our moods, attitudes and ultimately our actions.
I find it comforting that often the problem is not the thoughts themselves but in our unquestioning acceptance of all of them as all true. Awareness of this may get you one step closer to Astro-level serenity.
Anything is paw-sible.
*Credit to Saturday Night Live “Coffee Talk” sketch writers.
Starter Kit for Questioning Your Thoughts
What am I thinking?
How does that thought feel—physically, mentally, emotionally?
Does that thought serve me?
Does that thought create the reality I wish to inhabit?
What is the emotion behind the thought?
Who would I be without this thought? (credit to Byron Katie)
(other) Smart People
“Words can bang around in your head
Forever, if you let them and you give them room.
I used to love poetry, and mostly I still do,
Though sometimes “I, too, dislike it.” There must be
Something real beyond the fiddle and perfunctory
Consolations and the quarrels—as of course
There is, though what it is is difficult to say.”
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