I hear these statements so many times: “I need to control my thinking” and “I need to control my thoughts.” If you’ve said either of these too, don’t worry. They’ve both come out of my mouth before too. But, I’ve learned the truth and now share it with my clients – we cannot control our thinking and what thoughts we have. Was reading that a shock to you? It was to me the first time I realized it.
If you’re still reading this, hang in there with me because there is more to it. We were created with the ability to think. Having thoughts is just what we do as humans, so that’s why we can’t control our thinking. It’s just not our job. Trying to control our thinking and our thoughts is like trying to control the weather. But here’s what we can do: we can choose which thoughts we believe and act on. Paying attention to our thoughts is truly optional. Just because we have a thought does not mean that we have to pay attention to it, believe it, or act on it. A thought can just be there, hanging out in the space of our mind. When we do not give it attention, the thought will pass away. That’s just what thoughts do. That’s their job. We also have the gift of consciousness, our awareness of our thoughts. That’s what makes our thoughts seem like they are real and like we “have to” believe and act on them. But, we don’t have to. Try saying that to yourself, “I don’t have to.”
I think what makes it easy for us to believe that we need to control our thinking is our feelings and misunderstanding where our feelings really come from. Our feelings are only our responses to the thoughts we’re having in the moment. That’s it. Our feelings do not tell us anything about ourselves, past, present, or future, nor are they caused by our circumstances and situations. Our feelings are only telling us about the thoughts we’re having. That’s why trying to change things so that we feel differently does not work. We don’t feel the situations we experience. We’re only, and always, just feeling the thoughts we are having about the situations we experience.
Love & blessings,