So, first of all- let me be trite and say, you ARE NOT your thoughts. What does this even mean? There is something unchanging in you. It IS you. It is the observer who witnesses you thinking your thoughts. This separate and unchanging, infinite part of you is called, the Self. I know, deep, right? The Self is the part of you that knows you are hurt or getting mad, but is not actually mad because it is just witnessing the drama of anger happen.
Thoughts, ‘good’ and ‘bad’, come and go...all the time. Like ALL DAY LONG. If you begin to identify with these thoughts, you’re buying into an illusion. If you let them pass like clouds in the sky, you won’t get hung up on any of them. This may be easier said than done... but we can help show you how.
With that said, action and behavior mostly stems from thoughts. So, they are important. Thoughts influence our energy level, our mood, and ultimately what we decide.
Now for the science: NEUROPLASTICITY. Bam. This simply means: the brain can change; it is malleable. Which means, 'YOU' can change! If you’re thinking thoughts like, “I’m not good enough. No one will love me” -- This thought is creating a neural pathway or ‘road’ in the brain. The more you think this thought, the deeper the channel/road or pathway gets. Similarly to, if you drove a car over the same dirt road every single day, the grooves from the tires would become deeper. It would create a track which would make driving down that same road easier and easier. The more you think the thought “I’m not good enough. No one will love me”, the easier it gets for your brain to go there, to drive down that ‘thought road’. The road or pathway is deepening. SO you may find yourself in a good mood, but all of a sudden having this thought come up, as if you’re on autopilot. NOT COOL BRAIN.
It's SO important to understand the link between thoughts and beliefs. If you keep thinking the thought, I'm not lovable, most likely, you may start acting accordingly or in alignment with this thought. Your behavior will begin to match this thinking, like surrounding yourself with people who may not fully love or appreciate you. Then you see your outer world and environment match this thought of "I'm not lovable". Abracadabra! Like magic- now you have 'PROOF'. When we have 'proof', "well, look, see-- I told you I was unlovable..!", then our thought just became a belief we adopt.
But it can be countered! STEP 1: Awareness-- just being aware, “Hey, this thought doesn’t make me feel good… I want to choose a different thought” - is HALF THE BATTLE!
STEP 2: If you choose a different thought, one that feels better or is maybe the opposite, “I’m awesome and totally lovable”, (even if you don't fully 'believe it yet)-- you’ll begin to create that new pathway. And the less you use the old, “not good enough” road, it’ll loose it’s depth and start to fade. (If these thoughts have become beliefs for you, where your reality is supporting the negativity of the mind, then it's important to ask yourself-- if I knew I was lovable (or whatever positive spin is true for you... smart, successful, safe, needed, etc.) HOW WOULD I BE TREATING MYSELF RIGHT NOW? And then take those small potential actions and actually act on them.
This is a practice, for sure, that requires commitment and patience. I personally practice this every day. We know, if you practice it consistently and with compassion, you WILL change your life- by changing your brain and thought patterns. WILD, we know. And totally worth experimenting with.
It also helps to know a bit about how your nervous system works. Because some thoughts, if they are upsetting and hurtful, may increase your levels of cortisol- it helps to take some specific deep breaths while working on changing these thought patterns. This is STEP 3: The breath-work is like plowing the snow off of the roads so you can drive down them more easily. If you’re in a calm state, the positive thoughts will resonate more deeply- you won’t be working against your nervous system. (or fighting the weather conditions) However, MOST people, kids and adults, breathe incorrectly. You may actually be breathing in a way that triggers a stress response from your body!
Angela and I have been teaching Social Emotional Learning and specifically, very powerful breath-work and mindfulness tools for over a decade, collectively. Both of our backgrounds are in psychology and we use this rich knowledge to empower ourselves and course correct all the time. Send us a DM or email to work with us so YOU can learn research-backed, POWERFUL breathing mindfulness and meditation tools that will change your life, and your nervous system! ;)