Yes, I know that sounds like a bit of an oxymoron…
But it really does get you thinking doesn’t it?
Think about it…
Do you ever stop to wonder about why you’re thinking about a certain topic? Are you curious why certain thoughts make you feel a certain way?
After reading Eckhart Tolle’s book, A New Earth, I came to the realization that our thought patterns create our environment and that the primary cause of any emotion is never really the situation, it is our thoughts about the situation and that we have a choice when it comes to how we think and act based on our thoughts. I can observe my thoughts, I can be aware of the subtle shifts in emotions, impulses and feelings in my body and I can decide how to react.
This isn’t some new, life-altering realization. This really is the foundation of emotional intelligence:
The more you can observe how you think, the more control you have of how you act, therefore the more emotionally intelligent you become.
A lot of us are floating around thinking that our thoughts are who we are, but our thoughts are at best 25% of who we are, and if we can pull back the curtain a little bit, we can become free of the thoughts ruling our existence. We can calm the mind to feel more relaxed, confident and stable. And if done consistently, we can unchain ourselves from the unruly voice in our mind telling us how to think, act and feel.
Think about this (don’t think about thinking about this, actually think about this OK?)…
Have you ever been preparing for a big event; an important meeting, a family outing, a road trip? When you start to think about what you need to do, how you need to prepare, do you start to think about all the things that could go wrong?
What happens next? You start to get this awful knot in your stomach. Your mind starts creating all these scenario’s. You can sense the ever-familiar anxiety emotion kicking in and all of a sudden you can feel all of your blood in your body. Your face gets red, you feel scared and you can visualize these worries so clearly in that moment that it seems as though they are actually happening.
Isn’t that kind of a fucked up situation that we have to deal with? You already feel upset about something that hasn’t even happened. Your brain accepts your thoughts as the truth and your body reacts to them with emotions, sending you into a feeling frenzy, unsure of what move to make next.
We get tortured by these destructive thoughts when the truth is:
- They aren’t real. The story you are telling yourself with these thoughts is completely made up.
- They aren’t getting you to a safer place that make you feel better about what you’re preparing for.
- And If they aren’t real and they aren’t getting you to a safer place then they’re a complete waste of time!
So why can’t you think happy thoughts instead? It’s because you aren’t aware of your thoughts…
We have to treat our brain like a muscle. Like any muscle in our body we need to train it to perform differently. We need to teach ourselves to be the observer, be aware, not be or identify as our thoughts.
It’s easy to do when things are going well and you’re feeling stable. The challenge is when a situation comes up; in the middle of an argument or when something doesn’t go the way you want it. A time when you’re uncomfortable. That is the time you really need to be thinking about your thoughts, that is the time to tap into the awareness and don’t let your emotions force you into a reaction. That is the time to train your emotional intelligence.
In those moments you have a choice to be free. You can free yourself of the situation and everything around you. You can step outside of your thoughts surrounding the situation and you can be the observer. You can stop worrying, judging, complaining and feeling bad for yourself. Instead you can surrender, let go and smile knowing that you have the power to get outside your mind whenever you want and not let that little voice in your head make you feel bad anymore.
Go ahead, think about it…
This post is part of a series of articles about my $100,000 journey into re-building my mind, body and inner-self through a series of uncommon experiences that completely transformed my life. Head over here to view more.
Originally published at https://www.linkedin.com.