We are Thinking Machines

We are constantly making meaning of our world through our thoughts.  All thoughts are neither true nor untrue, they simply are.  Thoughts can be stimulated by what we hear from others, from what we see and learn about the world from our direct experiences, and from what we imagine.

The fact that we’re constantly having thoughts is not a problem.  Problems arise when we’re unaware we’re having thoughts and view them as “the truth”.  It is important to be able to have an awareness of your thinking perspective and an ability to evaluate whether particular thoughts are self-enhancing or self-defeating.

Being an observer of your thoughts means you ask questions like the following:

  • What makes me think this way?
  • What feelings does this thought create in me?
  • Does this thought fit with my experience?
  • Does my thinking help me achieve what I want in life or get in the way?
  • Is this rational or coming from a place of fear?
  • Am I accepting someone’s mistaken belief about me?

Our thoughts have a very powerful effect on us. Much research is currently being done on the effects of how we think, including research on the effectiveness of meditation and prayer.  The helpfulness of support groups is also being researched and found to be helpful in changing people’s attitudes, beliefs, and ideas about themselves – in other words people’s thoughts.

Changing our self-talk is an important step toward making personal changes. Self-talk is another way of referring to our internal dialogue or thoughts that are about ourselves.   The difference between how we feel if we tell ourselves the following two things is powerful:

  • “You’re so dumb.”
  • “It’s human to make a mistake; that’s how we learn.”

Making positive choices about our self-talk can help us be able to voice who we are and what we want more effectively.

We are the sum total of our thoughts.  From the time we begin to think as young children, our thoughts result from the sensory data we take in, what we hear and what we see.  This sensory data includes how others respond to us.  These responses underlie some of our earliest thoughts about ourselves and about our world.They lead us to have a healthy self-esteem or not.

Although we can’t change what we received growing up, we can change our mental habits today. It takes time, but being intentional about the thoughts you allow yourself to focus on is a powerful self-empowerment tool.

 

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