Why Believe Them Just Because They’re Your Thoughts?
It’s Time To Do Some Weeding
When we don’t like someone much, we tend to internally (if not verbally) dismiss or disagree with much of what they have to say.
Take that opinionated co-worker who just won’t stop blabbing his political views to anyone within earshot. And since you’re in the next cubicle over, that’s you, pretty much all day long.
He’s annoying as hell, no doubt. But you keep your calm and composure because you don’t take anything this guy has to say seriously. His endless monologues are actually mildly entertaining and even help break up the monotony of the workday a bit.
In contrast, when we really like, respect or idealize someone, we generally tend to place a lot of weight and importance on what they think and say. I’m sure you’ve seen people do this with their mentors and new romantic interests.
We still don’t necessarily always agree with everything our newfound lover or longtime mentor holds to be true. Sometimes we politely and respectfully disagree with them. Nobody has all the answers, after all. We’re all wrong sometimes.
Oddly, when it comes to our own opinions, we almost always do automatically assume they must be true, that everything we think must be spot on.
Even if we don’t like what our thoughts are telling us about ourselves, about others and about life. Still, it’s as if we’re somehow wired to believe that if a thought has come out of our own mind, then it must be true.
Nobody actually says this aloud, or even consciously thinks this way. But it’s how most people operate.
What’s behind this “double standard?”
I’ll give you a clue. It’s a three letter word that starts with the letter “E” and ends with the letter “O.”
How’d you guess?
I’m not pointing this out simply to make anyone feel like an egotistical jerk. We all do it.
From a very early age, most of us learned to view our thoughts as who we are, as extensions of ourselves. Logically, we know that’s bunk. Yet in practice, it’s almost as if we don’t realize we have the option to dismiss and disregard our own thoughts and beliefs, just like we can and do the thoughts and beliefs of others.
If we don’t question and even dismiss our thoughts regularly, then guess what? We are the opinionated co-worker of our very own minds.
Bleh. I know.
But I mean, have you ever taken a few minutes to really look at your thoughts?
Most writers have given stream of conscious writing a whirl at some point. You know, some variation of setting the timer for, say, five minutes, and just writing the first thing that comes to mind, followed by the next, and the next, without stopping until time’s up.
If you really follow the rules here and write down every single thing that pops into your mind during your time, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
If you’ve never tried it, I highly recommend that you give stream of conscious writing a go the next time you have five free minutes.
Oh, and welcome to your mind. Eeesh!
Until we stop and examine the madness of our minds, we’re pretty well married to our thoughts without even realizing it.
If you want to be free, in the truest sense of the word, it’s time to break your love affair with your thoughts.
This does require a leap to a different kind of living. It’s a jump away from thought-centered living towards heart-centered living in which we feel our way through life instead of thinking our way through it.
It’s not that we stop thinking, but rather that we stop placing ultimate importance on our thoughts. We recognize the fickleness and untrustworthiness of our thoughts, and we simply choose to stay out of our own internal conversation, the same way we chose to stay out of our co-worker’s diatribe.
So why aren’t most people doing it?
It’s because giving up our thoughts is ultimately giving up a part of our identity, our world as we know it. That’s seriously scary shit.
Even our negative and miserable thoughts give us a sense of being someone. It may not even be someone we like, but at least we know where we stand. Many people feel so uncomfortable without an identity to define them and their place in the world that they opt to hold on to an unpleasant identity.
Newsflash: you don’t have to believe all of your thoughts. You don’t even have to believe most of them.
Sure, thoughts will continue to flood your consciousness. It’s just what thoughts do.
But you can start to disregard your own thoughts just like you shrug off anyone else’s thoughts and opinions.
You don’t have to give your thoughts a lot of priority and attention.
Do this enough times, and you may eventually find that your step becomes a little lighter, with more of a bounce to it.
It’s akin to finally breaking out of an abusive relationship that you never recognized as being abusive because you were enmeshed in it for so many years that you forgot how abnormal it was. Until you finally woke up one day and saw it for what it was: self-imposed slavery.