Can you catch yourself?
Does that phrase bring up images of you chasing yourself around in circles? For many of us, it does. You try to get one thing accomplished and something else pops up that takes your attention. On and on it goes until you find the only thing you’ve managed to do is spin your wheels and end up completely exhausted.
The same can be true with your thoughts.
If you were to keep track of your thoughts, you’d likely find that the conscious you is not the originator of most of your thoughts. But nevertheless, there it is. Where did it come from? Chances are, it came from your subconscious mind.
Here’s a train of thought that you may resonate with. You’re sitting at a traffic light on your way to work. The light is red so you’re looking at the cars around you. You see the red car beside you and think “I don’t like red cars” and the next thing you know, you’re thinking about the red dress you had to wear to a birthday party when you were seven and didn’t have fun because all the girls were playing with their Barbie’s and you didn’t have one. Then your thoughts go to how mean people can be and how your boss doesn’t pay attention to the awesome job you do and you’d be better off quitting. And now you may actually be entertaining the idea of how to quit.
Can you see how the subconscious mind and your inner child can move you to a place you never consciously intended on going?
It’s almost comical, but truth be told, this kind of random thinking can run, and ruin, our lives.
If we want to change, we need to be able to catch ourselves in the act. We have to be willing to observe our thoughts. It’s like putting on a timer for ten or fifteen minutes and checking in with ourselves. Annoying at first, but well worth the effort.
Catching your thoughts and saying to yourself, “I choose differently” is a powerful act.
This phrase works well for me when I find myself judging someone or something. For instance, if I were sitting at that red light and said “I don’t like red cars,” the words “I don’t like” are my clue to stop. I’ll observe what I just said and then say, “Nope, I’m choosing differently.” I might remind myself that even though I’m not a fan of red cars, other people obviously like them and I don’t have to buy one. I might also explore why I don’t like red cars which might take me to that party where I wore the red dress. From there, I can work with and soothe my inner child.
Being consciously aware of what I’m thinking has kept me from going down many a rabbit hole and ending up depressed and confused. It takes effort and it’s an ongoing project, but it feels much better than going around in circles and ending up exhausted.
If you give this a try, or if you’re already doing it, I’d love to hear from you. What changes have occurred for you because you stopped letting your subconscious run your life?