We think our thoughts are the truth.
We tell our story as if it were factual.
In reality, our story is basically a description of our perspective and opinions about the experiences of our life.
Sometimes our thoughts are outdated. They came from childhood or as a young adult. Maybe they came from interactions within an old relationship.
Stories I hear from my clients include:
- “I’m not good with money.”
- “I’m indecisive. Making decisions are hard.”
- “I’m not good enough.”
- “I’m a people pleaser.”
- “I’ve failed at this before, so why would I think I could do it now?”
- “There’s never enough time.”
- “I’m a procrastinator.”
You don’t have to continue to hold on to those beliefs.
These thoughts can be updated with our adult, more mature, experienced brain. We can use intentional thinking to direct the stories we tell ourselves and others.
Our brain is designed to seek safety, do what is easy, and seek pleasure. By nature, we repeat what is familiar. But our thinking is not always on our side. It sometimes lies to us.
We often go along believing something simply
because we have not challenged the thinking.
Changing the stories we tell ourselves is not equal to being chased by a lion, even though we may not even understand why the mind is trying to protect us from something that does not necessarily pose a danger.
Afterall, it’s just a thought.
Invite thoughts like those above to sit down. If this creates resistance, thank the brain for the alert.
Learn from it and decide if a warning is necessary. The primitive nature of the brain does not distinguish if there’s real danger, but our prefrontal cortex is the decision maker.
I can decide to challenge my thoughts and the story they tell. The hard work is to notice and be with the thoughts. Get curious. Ask yourself if this is true today. Look for evidence of where maybe it is NOT true.
One of my favorite mantras to repeat when my brain tells me something is difficult is to add, “And I can do hard things.” When my brain says, “I don’t know,” I have shifted to “I don’t know. Hmm, let me think.”.
These small changes to my former baseline thinking opens up the story I tell myself. I intentionally go from the story of, “it’s too hard and I don’t know,” to boosting self-confidence and getting curious.
We are not stuck with our thoughts and the old stories they create.
Explore what else might be true.
Then develop a story today that serves you well.