Man oh man … this Self Awareness Journey thing has really been an interesting thing. I’ve been working on my habits for a few weeks, so now it’s time to jump into a really tough area … my thoughts.
I’m a fan of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy which focuses on changing our thoughts which changes our actions and attitudes. But before we can actively work on changing our thoughts, we have to recognize our thought patterns. Our negative thoughts. Our automatic thoughts. Our self-defeating thoughts. Any thought that keeps us from moving forward.
Here are a few things I’m working on while becoming more Self Aware of my thoughts and thought patterns …
- Stories I tell Myself
I’m sure we all do this to some degree, but I tend to do it subconsciously, especially when I’m tired or stressed. Someone will say something to me and my mind will automatically make up either a background story for why they said it or an alternate scenario where they are either excluding me from something or trying to harm me in some way. I’m working on recognizing it when it happens and stopping it from spiraling by asking myself some questions
1. Do I know all of the things in my made up scenario to be true?
2. Have I asked follow up questions to get the truth?
3. Why do I feel like this person would exclude or want to harm me?
The vast majority of the time I don’t even have enough information to jump to any sort of conclusion and unless I’m willing to ask the follow up questions then there’s no way to know what the real situation even is. So asking myself the questions stops me from letting my mind continue with the story.
- I Accept Dishonesty
Even when I know someone is being dishonest with me or trying to hide something from me, I allow them to continue doing it. My thoughts are that it’s just easier to keep the peace, but that only benefits the other person at the moment and probably doesn’t benefit anyone in the long term.
I’m working on finding a way to express my knowledge of someone’s dishonesty in a calm way so that everyone in the situation is open with each other and I’m being more true to myself. Plus having all of the real information simplifies my life, because I then have less to worry about.
- I Worry about Things I Can’t Control
Embracing the Serenity Prayer has really helped me to see that there are so many things that I can’t change nor control and that spending time worrying about those things, especially the things that other people should be doing for themselves, is time I could be spending doing things I want to do.
Trying to micromanage the world in an effort to prevent bad things from happening just keeps good things from happening. The mental energy of it is better spent elsewhere.
For the next few days really think about your thoughts. I know that sounds like a strange concept, because it is, but analyzing what we think and why we think that way is a huge part of being more Self Aware.
What can you do to change your negative thought patterns?
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