You may have seen the bumper sticker stating “Don’t believe everything you think.” When I first learned about this concept, it blew my mind. I had always thought of my thoughts as facts. I mean, if my mind has me think something, it’s probably true, yes? I began to realize I had whole storylines I would think about myself or where I should be in my life. I had always taken these thoughts at face value. One day, I realized not all of these thoughts were helpful or even true. It was just a pattern of thoughts I had been stuck in for years.
Our minds are amazing thought creators. We are constantly thinking, even if we are doing routine, mundane tasks. Our minds our thought machines, constantly churning them out.
For me, I had (and still do sometimes) perfectionistic story lines. In college, I was disappointed if I didn’t get the A in every class. I would have thoughts that “I’m not as smart as my classmates” and “Maybe I don’t belong in this school.” I really believed these to be true at time. Eventually, I came to learn that my intelligence is not a measure of grade in class. I now know my own worth and don’t let outside forces (school, work, other people) determine it for me. Although I still have my moments of course!
If this is a new idea to you, I invite you to roll the idea of “don’t believe everything you think” around your head. Have you noticed any thoughts about yourself that are not serving you? After a difficult interaction, say a rejection of some sort, do you notice that a pattern of thoughts comes up? For now, I just invite you to notice.
In counseling with me, we will look at your patterns of thoughts. With some practice, you will be able to identify patterns of thoughts and not feel as connected to the less helpful ones.