Do you REALLY notice your thoughts?
It’s 5am and you’ve jumped into your car, turned it on and started driving. You put on your flavour of the week playlist and almost function in autopilot the entire trip to the gym. During this 10 minute drive your body performs it’s system 1 abilities (things you can do automatically with very little thinking). So this spare 10 minutes then gets your full attention on other things, your life.
- What is on my agenda today?
- Where will I be at 11am?
- Do I have anything I need to do for another family member or friend?
- Why am I feeling more tired than usual?
- Why am I going to the gym today?
- Why did I say those things last night when I didn’t really mean them?
- Am I a bad person?
- Why am I bad person?
- What is the name of this artist playing right now?
- God I need to turn the heater up in this car now.
- What am I going to eat for breakfast?
- I don’t know if I want to be here anymore.
- I’m not really getting anywhere in life.
- Maybe I can fit that client in this Saturday morning after my workout?
- Everyone must look at me and think I’m a real loser.
- I don’t really want to make eye contact with anyone when I get to the gym.
- What is that actors last name? The one from Magnum PI but is also in Friends?
- Shit I need to do the washing today when I get home.
- This track is totally getting me pumped right now, better turn it up to the max.
- The moment I get into that gym my headphones are going in and with this track cranked!
- What the fuck is that actors name from Friends?! He’s from three men and a baby too!
I’m not even going to count how many of these thoughts I just jotted down. But they are absolutely a reasonable amount of the thoughts I myself would have on a 10 minute drive to the gym. The amount of things you think in a short space of time and the changes of tone in those thoughts can jump around significantly with little effort.
We all do it. And if you say you don’t, start being mindful and paying attention to your thoughts more often. The trick is to notice them and then decide what to do with them. Some thoughts are best forgotten when they are simply toxic inner voice ramblings. But others are quite important too. If you are having a bad patch right now and your thoughts are telling you less than desirable things, it would be a good idea to talk to someone. Or you could address these inner voice accusations and delve deeper on them eg. If your inner voice is saying your a bad person constantly, take a step back and actually ask yourself if this is true! Weigh up the pros and cons slowly and find that your inner voice is just bringing you down.
Another technique you could use is snapping out of that negative thought with an over riding thought. You use the lead up phrase ‘I am having a thought’ into whatever negative thought you may be having. ‘I am having a thought that I am a bad person’ takes you outside of that instant inner voice accusation and gives you more control of your current thought.
We are not who we appear to be (most of the time)
So the above scenario has happened on your way to the gym. You walk into the gym when you arrive and see a few faces around the floor, some regulars, some not so. You judge each and every face you see in a nanosecond. She’s okay, she’s a bitch, he’s a good bloke, he’s annoying as hell. Again your inner voice is just shooting thoughts into your mind instantly without you having any control. You mostly don’t mean these things but your thoughts run faster than you can control. Just because these thoughts pop into your mind does not mean that you believe them!!!
Everyone your inner voice just scanned in the room has already scanned you and had their own input as well. Thinking almost exactly what you’ve just thought more than likely! Every person you see has similar shit going on in their mind!
We see people every day on face value, but we don’t really see them. We can’t see what’s going on inside other peoples minds. We might think someone has everything together no matter their age. They could be a uni student, a 28 year old self run business person or a 65 year old with children and grand children. All of these people could look strong on the exterior with the way they speak and hold themselves. But what’s to say they don’t cry of a night from time to time? Crying because Uni isn’t a walk in the park like high-school was. Crying because the business has now been at a loss for profit for 7 months straight now. Crying because the eldest grandchild doesn’t seem to enjoy their grandparents company like they did in the past… We don’t see these stories. We only see the facade of strength they put up on face value.
We can’t possibly know.
I guess what I’m leading to is this; Try to treat everyone as best as you can. And try to realise that most of us are not bad people. We only react to things the way we do because of everything else that has lead us to this point in time right now. And we only respond in the ways we best can depending on where our current headspace is.
Life’s fucking hard man.
So be the cushioning for others that need a soft landing every once in a while. Or unfortunately, be the boxing bag they might need to let out on from time to time. Just be there.
The thoughts you have in your head are very, VERY similar to the thoughts the next person you see has in theirs. The way you decide to process those thoughts and carry on is where the self growth lies. Try not to judge others if their abilities of self progression are not as developed as yours.
Be kind to others, be kind to yourself.
Appear weak when you are strong,
And strong when you are weak.Sun Tzu
Self awareness is progression