• Helen

You are what you think

Updated: Jul 28, 2020

You are what you think...

It's one of those statements that I sometimes wish I could un-remember. Did I really create my life today thanks to a compilation of mostly random thoughts over the years? I find the idea equally liberating as I do depressing, with no-one left to blame or offload the responsibility for making the rest of my life better.

Wondering how to think better thoughts, lead me to explore mindfulness. Jon Kabat Zin, an American doctor who taught mindfulness to patients to help them manage their untreatable pain, wrote about buddhists viewing all thoughts as either coming from love or from hate. Things like negative self talk, judgements, envy, obsessions, complaint, revenge, spite, criticism are all coming from hate, while acceptance, patience, forgiveness, respect, admiration etc. come from love.

As I observed my thoughts and labeled them love or hate, I saw immediately how every hate thought I had was like a mental and emotional paper cut. Thousands upon thousands of seemingly insignificant thoughts creating deep wounds inside of me; impacting my self-esteem, my behavior, my conversations, my relationships, my choices. Each thought quietly influencing my actions which created my reality. This type of thinking was no different from physical self-harm and with that, 'you are what you think' landed for me.

It doesn't really matter where we start in creating a life we love, as long as we do. And this exercise, of observing our thoughts and gently labelling them love or hate to get some starting awareness of our mindset, is as good a place as any to start.

Over to you.

"Whether you think you can or can't, you're right"
Henry Ford

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