I've been loving the conversations I have been having with clients recently about the nature of thought and the human experience of life. One of the messages I feel really passionate about the people I work with taking away from our sessions together is the truth that
YOU ARE NOT YOUR THOUGHTS
I know that sounds crazy, if you're only just hearing that for the first time... I mean your thoughts are in your head... they're in your voice (usually)... no-one else can hear them... it's pretty compelling to believe that those thoughts are you.
But stop and think about it for a moment.
Did you ask for those thoughts that bother you, upset you, run around in your head tormenting you? Did you say: "I'm going to think now that I'm worthless/fat/stupid/unlovable"? You didn't did you. I mean, why would you CHOOSE to think those thoughts about yourself? And really, when you consider it, don't those thoughts just arise unbidden from the depths of our brains?
That's right... they arise from the depth of your primitive brain. You are not your brain! Your brain is just another organ in your body doing what it's designed to do without you getting involved at all. Much as your heart pumps without you having to consciously instruct it to, your lungs inflate deflate inflate deflate without waiting for your permission, your stomach digests food all on its own - and your brain churns out thought. It's just what it does. It thinks, and it tells you what it's thinking.
BUT - and this is key
You don't have to take those thoughts seriously!
Wow! Now that's pretty big when you... think about it.
Most of the time those thoughts, especially if they are fear-driven thoughts of self-loathing and limitation, will be being generated by the most primitive part of your brain, often called the lizard brain. This part of your brain is irrational. It takes everything it has ever been exposed to in life (conversations, situations, sights, sounds, hell every episode of Eastenders you've subjected it to) and puts it all together to create an idea of what the world is like. The plan being to guide you through it in the safest way. And safe doesn't mean happy, it just means... safe. That you survive from day to day.
SO... if I'm not my thoughts... who AM I?!
Well, how about this. You are not the thinker of your thoughts (that would be the lizard brain), you're the one who hears them. You're the one that's left when all the shitty thoughts about yourself that have been learned (incorrectly) along the way because of the life experiences your brain has been exposed to are stripped away. You're the one that you'd be if you hadn't mis-evaluated that you were somehow stupid that time you put your hand up in class and got the answer wrong and everyone laughed. You're the you that you'd be if your parents crappy divorce hadn't made you doubt if you were lovable. You're the you you'd be if you hadn't fallen in love with someone whose own insecurities compelled them to relentlessly treat you like crap until you began to believe their abusive words.
You're the perfect, beautiful you that was born happy. Before life happened. Before the negative and limiting thinking started to cloud your pure loveliness.
Before you lost sight of the truth - you are not your thoughts.
You are not the thinker of your thoughts, you are the one who hears them. And as such you are the one who can choose how you react to them.
Let that settle. let that sink in. don't take my word for it. look for it in your life and you'll see the truth of it.
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Victoria is a Cognitive Hypnotherapist and Coach at 1 Harley Street in London. Formerly a magazine editor in the city, she left that career to travel through South America, before settling on Easter Island to start a family. She's now back in the UK, writing, blogging and helping people to live the lives they'd love to live.
"I want people to have less fear, more fun, less frustration and more freedom. Change is always possible - in fact, it's inevitable!"