November 2, 2016
What we think about matters. It matters so much, in fact, that the thoughts we think, literally, mold our reality.
And, it’s not magic or woo-woo. When we break it down, it’s actually pretty logical and easy to understand. That is, when we think a specific thought over and over again, we are training our mind to look for it. We either find evidence of its truth or find similar thoughts, which pair nicely with it. So, thought-by-thought we build our impressions of the world; and, impression-by-impression we build our reality.
One of the easiest ways to see this in action is when we think that someone is, perhaps, irked with us. When we have that specific thought in mind, we are prone to interpreting their words, actions, body language, and messages in a way that tells us, “Yep, they are definitely upset.” When, in reality, they are not. Nevertheless, the “reality” that we have created for ourselves in those moments is based not on truth, but, instead, on our own private thinking.
In that way, our thoughts created our reality—however false it was. This quality of life can tie in with everything.
Let’s start small. Say, for example, that we went to visit a friend in a new city and, from the moment we arrived, this person raved non-stop about how active and physically fit everyone in their city was.
Chances are, with this type of verbal conditioning, we would sub-consciously (and consciously) be on the look out for evidence of our friend’s claim about the physical-fitness of this new place.
Because our friend gave us something concrete to look for—healthy and fit people—we were encouraged to look for it. And, when we look for something, we are more likely to find it. In this case, we would mentally note all the people whom we saw exercising, eating well, and taking care of their bodies. Their prompting created a filter for us and gave us something specific to notice and focus on.
However, they could have just as easily told us that everyone in their city was a smoker and, more likely than not, we would have noticed every person with a cigarette who crossed our view.
Thoughts are powerful like that. So, when we are struggling with letting go of something—say, a past hurt, a resentment, or an emotional trauma—it is worth evaluating what types of thoughts we are having about this specific occurrence in our lives.
Are we replaying conversations over and over in our heads and re-living them? Are we honing in on very specific details and ignoring the rest? Are we playing the victim, the martyr, or the hero?
It really does matter, because the narrower our thinking is, the less room there is to have our ideas challenged by the thoughts and realities of others. And, it is difficult to heal, evolve, and grow when we are re-creating the same event again and again in our mind. When that happens, we become solidified in our own version of the world. Not only can this be isolating, but it can also make it extremely difficult to let go of the past and forgive and move forward.
So, what are you holding on to that does not serve your greatness? What thoughts do you think over and over again, repeatedly reliving the same scenario? What would be an alternative to just one of these thoughts?
Be your greatness. Start. Do. Go.
Zach Carlsen is the grateful lead blogger at StrengthsLife.com
His strengths of Ideation, Connectedness, Input, Strategic, and Empathy have taken him all over the world. He is an inventor, athlete, joyous wanderer/wonderer, translator, poet, and Gallup Certified Strengths Coach.