Shakespeare told us that there is nothing either good or bad, but only our thinking that makes it so.
What a profound relief to know this.
His objectification of the human experience is an ideal tool to help us practice loving acceptance. Because once we realize that there are no bad thoughts and no bad feelings, only healthy and unhealthy ways of expressing them, then we can finally start to see ourselves with kinder eyes.
And so, when the intrusive soldiers begin their march on our minds, instead of letting ourselves become totally consumed with them until they raise our pulse and blood pressure, our invitation is to intercept them at the gate with surrender.
Here is a cognitive behavioral process for doing that.
First, we ask ourselves a centering question:
Will we judge ourselves harshly for these crazy thoughts, or will we allow ourselves to be human?
This is critical for entering the frame with as much surrender as possible. Assuming that our answer is the latter, we move on.
Next, we choose not to banish those thoughts.
Instead of wasting any time and energy trying to push them out of our minds, we allow them to be. Trusting that our thoughts are not the center of the universe, they will not last forever, they’re probably not even true, and our identity is not at the mercy of them.
Third, we intentionally select the pathways where our thoughts run.
Think of it as engaging our mental railroad switch, gracefully enabling our intellectual trains to be guided from one track to another.
Writing, for example, is a simple and cathartic tool for imposing order on these unruly thoughts inside our heads. It helps tame and reframe those thoughts in a safe container. Especially if we throw away, delete or burn that piece of writing once we’re done. There was actually a university study whose subjects were less influenced by offending thoughts than those who didn’t literally discard it.
To summarize, no bad feelings, only healthy ways of expressing them.
And so, may we be kind and compassionate towards ourselves, may we forgive reality for being what it is, and may we guide our runaway trains of thought to more optimal destinations.
LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Will you judge yourself harshly for your thoughts today, or do you allow yourself to be human?
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That Guy with the Nametag
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