Have you ever heard or read something that made you stop and go, wow? It happened to me this morning. I was reading a book that asked this question, who do you listen to the most in life? The answer is yourself. I think about this concept occasionally, but today this question caused me to pause and think more deeply about it. Do you find yourself having negative ruminating thoughts that swirl around in your head like a plane circling a runway? Maybe you experience patterns of thought that bounce back and forth like a little silver ball in a pinball machine. Regardless, it is easy for thoughts to get stuck in a loop, which can hold you hostage to internal conversations that are not encouraging, especially when things are tough or you are facing a big life challenge. I lost my mom recently, so this quicksand place is very familiar to me. The big hits can even make you feel like the quicksand has turned into cement, but sometimes life can take us to this dark place without us even knowing it. It’s like pulling into your drive way and not remembering the drive home. Thoughts are the same way, somehow you find yourself in that place, listening to a voice that is less than encouraging. Does any of this sound familiar?
I invite you to start noticing your patterns of thinking and when your internal critic or “doom and gloom” show up, meet them with love and kindness, not judgement. Notice your thoughts and the conversation, and look a little closer to see if you can feel what is going on underneath the surface of the conversation. Pausing is a healthy practice because you can take time to inquiry and explore what is causing your reaction and fueling the unhealthy conversation. You don’t have to have all the answers, but inquiry without judgement is a good exercise and a great place to start. Awareness will allow you to consider new possibilities. It will help you entertain the idea of changing the patterns of thinking that are not serving a positive purpose. You do have the ability to shift your thinking and change the script so that your words move you out of shadow thinking towards the light. The light holds for you a conversation, which will lean you towards gratitude, hope, faith, and love. Flipping the switch doesn’t happen overnight. You have to have patience. Changing patterns of thinking is more like turning up a dimmer switch, it gradually gets brighter over time.
A few facts about thoughts and the change process:
- Your life’s experience has shaped your reality and influenced the way you respond to yourselves, people and the world around you.
- Personal life constructs (what you view to be the truth) influence your thoughts. Your thoughts influence actions, and your actions define how you show up in the world.
- You have the capacity to broaden your perspective and to change your patterns of thinking.
- Your brain is like a muscle, you can train it to think in a healthier manner.
- You cannot change something in which you are unaware.
- Change happens when you make a conscious decision to take action with a desired goal in mind.
- It is possible to exercise awareness and focus your energy around shifting the way you speak to yourself.
- Transformation happens when you integrate new behavior into your life.
Since you listen to yourself the most, why not ensure your words are encouraging and supportive. What you say to yourself matters and it will impact your life. So, train your brain and create new patterns of thinking that will change your conversation and your life.
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