you are not your thoughts

you are not your thoughts

There can be a lot of struggle with what goes on in our minds, and I’m sure there are many different ways people handle unwanted thoughts.

I’ve always thought it important to be emotionally honest with ourselves and others, and still do, but something shifted in me after reading the resource I’ve included in this post. 

What shifted for me is that, no matter what thoughts or feelings I have, I can accept them and chose a behavior that moves me toward what I want, rather than respond automatically to negative thoughts.

So, if I’m in a friendship where I want a particular kind of response from a friend and do not get it, I can accept my thoughts and feelings, yet behave in a way that protects the friendship rather than brings damage. I can communicate honestly about what I was hoping for, but in a way that helps build trust between us instead of erode it.

This article starts with a quote I’ve referenced in another post:

“Give me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. ” ~Reinhold Niebuhr

I’m telling you, this quote is GOLD.

When reading this article, I was struck by the realization many of us feel overcome by our thoughts, but no one would know it, since it’s an indiscernible occurrence. Yet, isn’t that why many turn to drugs or alcohol, to tune out the thoughts?

The author of this article shares, “Around and around it went inside my mind, a never-ending internal conversation full of questions and uncertainties—the not knowing driving me insane and the desperation increasing every day. I must be able to resolve this, I thought. I need answers. I was overwhelmed by questions, uncertainty, indecision, paralysis, and fear.”

She goes on to tell us she was self medicating for a generalized anxiety disorder, and during her recovery she was taught and used a behavioral model called Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (or ACT.) This is based upon three basic concepts: acceptance, commitment and behavior.

My main take away from her article mirrors what I wrote at the beginning of this post: we accept our feelings, but we choose a BEHAVIOR that moves us more toward what we want. To me, that’s true empowerment.

She writes, “You are not your thoughts, beliefs, and feelings. You don’t need to try so hard to control them; you just need to accept them and come into the present moment so you can control what you do.”

That, my friend, is also GOLD!

She offers valuable insight, giving more detail for each of the three steps, and to read this article, click here.