A lot of us who become aware of our thoughts and their power to create our results naturally want to get busy changing those thoughts. But it turns out to be harder than we expected, and we sometimes struggle to change our thoughts the way we want to.
In this episode I’m sharing the common stumbling blocks that get in the way of changing our thoughts, how to recognize what’s really in your way, and strategies for moving past them—so that you can change any thought you want.
A lot of us become aware of our thoughts and that many of our thoughts are not helpful in our lives and not giving us the results we want. And then we decide that we want to change these unhelpful thoughts. I see many of you trying to do this and I’ve noticed a few common things that get in the way of you really being able to change your thoughts and think something new.
Today I’m going over the 3 main things that I see getting in the way of you trying to change a thought, and some strategies for moving past them so you can change the thoughts you want.
1. You’re Judging Your Thought
The number one thing I see getting in the way of changing your thoughts is your judgement.
You have thoughts and then you think, “that’s terrible. I shouldn’t think that. I can’t believe I think that. I don’t want anyone to know I think that.”
And when we feel judgmental of the thoughts we ignore them or shove them down or try to quickly think something new. And the thoughts never get examined. They never get questioned.
Here’s what I want you to know about thoughts: They aren’t a reflection of you. They aren’t good or bad. They have no morality. They are created by your brain.
Your brain has learned things from its environment, from the media, from the movies, from books we’ve read, from our family of origin, from church, from our life experience… and it has assimilated all this data and various opinions into thoughts of its own.
Remember you are not your brain. Stop giving yourself a hard time for the things your brain tells you. Just look at it. Play with it.
2. You’re not Separating Circumstances From Thoughts
The next thing that can get in our way of being able to change our thoughts is not really separating our circumstances from our thoughts: Not truly differentiating between what is a fact and what is just a thought. We can’t change facts. We can change thoughts. But the problem is that our brain mostly thinks our thoughts are facts. Making them unchangeable.
Here’s how you know. If the sentence or phrase has emotion attached to it, it’s a thought. If the sentence produces feelings for you, then the circumstance isn’t neutral, and you are dealing with a thought.
This distinction is one of the most important we can make.
So if you are having a hard time changing a thought it’s because your brain doesn’t truly see that it’s a thought and not a fact.
A tip off question to see is to ask yourself would everyone agree?
3. You’re Arguing With What Is
The last thing that I want to talk about that gets in the way of changing our thoughts is arguing with what is.
A lot of us get stuck changing our thoughts because we think that means we are accepting things as they are. And that just feels wrong.
But let’s just say that you want to feel better. We think that if we give up the thought it shouldn’t’ have happened, then it’s like we are accepting what happened, it’s like we are okay with it happening.
But acceptance doesn’t mean that things happen or don’t happen. Acceptance means that we stop arguing with what already is. Acceptance is not the same as approval.
To change our thoughts, we first have to accept what is. We have to stop arguing with reality. We can’t change our thoughts about a circumstance when we are resisting the existence of the circumstance.
The options to change a thought or not only become available when I accept what is.
I know it's not easy and I know it stretches your brain to think about things in a new way like this. Just know that if you can’t seem to change a thought the way you want to, it's often because of these 3 things:
You are judging your thought and unwilling to examine it because it creates so much shame,
You are thinking your thought is a fact, or
You are resisting what is and arguing that things should be different than they are.
The best skills you can have as you go to change your thoughts is a willingness to be wrong. The more open you can be to all of that, the more ability you will have to change any thought your brain creates which will change your life experience…and that my friends is 100% awesome.