Day 71: They Are Just Thoughts

It’s a funny thing about our thoughts. Thoughts are like a running commentary on who we are, our lives, the people around us. Thoughts are our beliefs, our habits of thought. Some thoughts feel good, some thoughts don’t feel good.

Don’t we have a tendency to think that whatever we are thinking is “reality?” Isn’t it easy to think that because we are thinking it, it must be true? Even if it is completely bogus! Look at it another way: have you ever had a friend or loved one who expresses some thought that you can tell is causing them suffering, is totally OFF, yet they accept it as true anyway? You say to them, “What are you talking about? Of course that’s not true!” Maybe they hear you. Maybe they appreciate the reminder and feel a restored sense of empowerment. Or perhaps not.

A long time ago, I learned to appreciate sharing my thoughts with others. I realized how distorted my thinking was. I felt better by getting some perspective from an objective outsider. I remember the moment when it clicked that my own thoughts, left alone to fester and multiply inside my head, had led me astray, causing me to live in ways that weren’t making me happy. It made a difference to realize that “reality” was quite a lot more positive and full of promise than the dire pessimism inside my head 🙂

In other words, I realized that my thoughts weren’t actually “reality.” Or they don’t have to be. I had given them too much credence.

These days, I think I am better at putting my own thoughts in perspective. Yet I’m far from perfect. Especially if my thoughts are upset, they can descend upon me like a storm cloud. And all I can think of is to take shelter and wait until the storm dissipates. This happened to me recently. It wasn’t the circumstances I was in that made me unhappy… it was my thinking about those circumstances!

I appreciate the reminder. It is another piece in the puzzle of mastering my own mind, and of mastering my own life experience. It’s not that I expect to be able to eliminate spells of negative thoughts. But hopefully I can take them with a grain of salt, and remember that they aren’t reality.

After all, they are just thoughts.

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