How important is that voice in your head? You know, the one that is constantly chattering away with worries, the replaying of scenarios (real and imagined), judgments/criticisms, what you should have said and what you’d like to say? The answer may be surprising and not easily agreed upon, but simply put, your mind is producing excessive amounts of content that is of little, to no importance in your daily living. In fact, most of what we think and say to ourselves is downright harmful.
So why does this happen? Simple, this is what the mind likes to do. The problems arise when we become so fused with the content of our thoughts that we fail to discern mind activity from reality. Thoughts become truth with no real attempt to employ rationality. We become hooked and dragged along the endless midstream of rigid thinking.
How do we stop this? You’d be hard pressed to find someone who is completely free from extraneous thinking. The key is to begin observing your thoughts rather than being “caught up in your thoughts.” To do this begin by challenging your thinking patterns. Ask yourself, can you have a thought, rather than buy a thought? Imagine your thoughts are like objects on a store shelf. You browse through the store looking at all the different items. Some items are interesting, some are not your taste, others peak your curiosity and some things you just have to buy. Would you go into a store and buy every item you see? Possibly, but most of us realize the consequence of that behavior. So, the next time you catch yourself saying, “My life sucks,” ask yourself if that is a thought you’d like to purchase or could there possibly be a better bargain on another shelf?
Language is imperfect. It is not an absolute truth, nor does it even come close to representing an absolute truth. Be careful what you choose to believe and “purchase” from the Wal-Mart of your mind.
Finally, be compassionate with how and what you think to yourself (or maybe even say out loud). What you choose to believe can have long lasting impacts on your worldview, happiness and sense of purpose in this world of never-ending thinking.