What if you can choose which thoughts to believe and which to ignore?
Our thoughts feel compelling and real and believable, yet they’re not always that helpful in giving us the kind of life that we would like. When people realise they have more choice about what they can do with their thinking, it opens up the possibility of having a nicer experience of life, because it’s our thinking that creates our experience of life.
When we’re having thoughts of anger, worry, inadequacy and so forth, that’s how we experience our life in that moment. That’s the lens that we look through and that’s the life we have.
When I realised I don’t have to give so much attention to the content of my thinking, that I could choose to believe some thoughts and ignore others, my life became a whole lot easier.
Here are some examples of thoughts I (mostly) choose to ignore these days. Thoughts about I’m not good enough, I’m no good, I’m terrible at this job, someone’s going to suss me out one day, that was a big mistake, I should know better. I should do this and I should do that.
Do you recognise these thoughts of self-judgement and self-criticism? How helpful do you find them to be?
I’ve found they’re just not helpful at all. None of these thoughts help in any way, shape or form. They hold me back, make me procrastinate, knock my confidence and make everything far worse than it already is.
The vast majority of worrying thoughts never come to fruition
When you boil them down, there’s so little truth in them yet the effects can be devastating. So I can choose to ignore them. They are not worth paying attention to.
Whether I believe them or not, doesn’t really come into it. Sometimes I do believe them and sometimes I don’t, but whichever, I can choose to not pay them so much attention.
What happens when I don’t pay attention to thoughts that judge and criticise me? I feel more confident and it makes my life a lot easier and nicer.
When I start to get worried or anxious, I can choose whether to believe the thoughts that generate those feelings or not. Most worry is extrapolation, worst-case scenarios and apocalypse in the making. The vast majority of which never come to fruition. It is so rare that these imaginings come to pass. They’re also not worth paying so much attention to.
What does this mean? When there’s less worry, I have more clarity and I can deal with things more easily and it makes my life so much easier and nicer.
Anger and frustration are other bothersome thoughts that I choose to ignore these days. They come from measuring someone or something against an expectation that hasn’t been met. That expectation is often perfection. Thoughts of how things should or shouldn’t be. Who says? If you don’t believe the expectation, then would you feel angry or frustrated?
You have the choice to have an easier and nicer life
What’s the outcome? Without the anger, I have more peace in my life, and it makes my life so much easier and nicer.
I can ignore the thoughts of self-judgement or self-criticism and feel good about myself.
I can ignore the thoughts about disaster and worst-case scenarios and have more clarity.
I can ignore the measurements and impossible expectations so there’s nothing to get angry or frustrated about, and I can have more peace.
These are just a few examples of how paying less attention to the content or my thoughts has helped me to have an easier and nicer life. It’s not whether I believe the thoughts or not, it’s the knowing that I can choose not to buy into them or that I can ignore them that gives me an easier and nicer life.
I’m not saying you should or should not believe your thoughts. I’m not saying you should or should not ignore your thoughts. I’m not saying which thoughts you should believe and which you should ignore.
I’m saying you have the choice, and the choice can help you to have an easier and nicer life.
Which thoughts are you going to stop paying attention to, to give you a nicer and easier life?
We’re going to be discussing this further in our live Facebook stream on Thursday, March 21 (7pm UK time). We’d love for you to join us and share your thoughts with us. You can find all the info you need right here