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I love this quote by author Robert Fulghum: “Don’t believe everything you think.” So succinct, so direct, so true. Whether you take this statement as truth or not will make all the difference in how well or poorly you live your life, so take a moment to consider on which side of the divide you stand.
If you don’t believe it, well, then you’re stuck with your false thoughts til you die and that’s that. This means you’ll be at their mercy to make you miserable and do things that aren’t remotely in your best interest. Sadly, you will think you’re a victim when you’re actually choosing to not develop and use the powers which will transform your life.
If you do believe that you can manage your thoughts, great. That brings us to not believing everything you think. If we don’t need to believe every thought that wanders across our minds, why do we? The answer is that it has never occurred to most of us that we can put up borders to stop wandering thoughts from drifting or barging through the door to our mind and settling in.
I recall how I felt when I first learned that it was possible to manage our thinking and that all thoughts aren’t created equal—surprised and elated, like I was being given the keys to the kingdom. Since then, I’ve seen clients experience this same transformative aha that they don’t have to be a slave to every idea that pops into their heads.
Listen up: We are not meant to take all our thoughts seriously. Many of them are based on untruths, things our parents or other adults believed were true that weren’t when we learned them and still aren’t—that one race, ethnicity or religion is better than another, that children should be seen and not heard. Not true then, not true now. Other thoughts were true in the childhood you lived and now aren’t—that people can’t be trusted or that it’s better to pretend you’re happy than to complain. Actually, there are many people in our lives now (but, still, perhaps not our parents) who can be trusted and you can now complain to your heart’s content without being sent to your room or being spanked.
Thoughts are meant to be carefully examined, just like the people we encounter. Be curious about your thoughts. Get in the habit of asking yourself if a thought has validity behind it and value for you. Stop repeating lies to yourself that were said decades ago: you’re stupid or lazy, no good in sports, need to get over your shyness, won’t ever succeed, aren’t smart enough, or are too fat. In the same way that someone saying something doesn’t make it true, neither does having a particular thought. Think about everything you believe, but don’t believe everything you think.
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