Just because you think it, doesn’t mean it’s true. When you believe all of your thoughts, you will find yourself immersed in suffering because thoughts can be deceiving. Understanding and using this single concept in your everyday life, will ease your pain and lighten your moods more than you can imagine.
Most people go through life thinking they are simply making observations, when in reality, they add to the facts and make judgements and form opinions. Those judgements and opinions are what create our unease. A fact would be something like, you ate a bowl of ice cream. This is something everyone would agree on and cannot be argued. The distress enters your life when you start thinking you are disgusting because you ate the bowl of ice cream, or believe you will never look good in a bathing suit because you can’t control yourself around sweets.
A belief is just a repeated thought, so if you walk around telling yourself things like, “I’m not good enough/pretty enough/thin enough/successful enough,” you will believe those things. When you think negatively about yourself or others, it never feels good. So why would you choose to buy into your own lies??
In most instances you cannot control the thoughts that enter your mind. What you can control though, is whether or not you choose to engage them. It can be tricky at first because most people aren’t even conscious of their thoughts. This is because people are so used to believing everything they think.
It’s a learned behavior to question our thinking and fully recognize that we are not our thoughts. Pay attention to your moods. If you find yourself feeling crappy, ask yourself, “What am I thinking about?” Your feelings always come from your thoughts, so start thinking about what you’re thinking about.
Understanding why we feel the way we feel, without placing blame on other people or circumstances is liberating. Sticking to the facts, will allow you to feel much more calm and content in life. If you could get cut off while driving without labeling the other driver an idiot, or see the number on the scale without a running commentary, you can avoid stress. If you can look for a new job because it’s time to move on, rather than labeling yourself a failure, you can avoid feeling depleted. If you can understand your partner is not a mindreader, rather than jump to the conclusion he or she doesn’t love you, you can avoid anger. If you can move on from a relationship without labelling yourself unlovable, you can avoid additional sadness.
Questioning your thoughts is next. Is it possible that the opposite of the thing you are worried about could also occur? Can you come up with some reasons why your thought might not be true? Can you see why maybe that person you are so angry with didn’t do anything to you, and it’s just your judgements that are causing you pain? This type of questioning, loosens the grip of your painful belief systems.
Pain in life is inevitable, but suffering is optional. When you compare yourself to others, you are choosing to suffer. When you berate yourself because your body isn’t “perfect,” you are choosing to suffer. When you blame others for the way you feel, you are choosing to suffer.
It’s nearly impossible to make positive changes from a negative place. The more you question the thoughts that make you feel icky, the sooner you can get on your merry way, and enjoy life for all that it truly is!