You Are Programming Your Mind – Are You Doing It Intentionally?
Are you allowing your thoughts to run your life or are you intentionally creating your life and your thoughts.
Our programming starts at a very young age, not only do we pick up on the words, the beliefs of the people that we are around when we are small, we also start to develop our own beliefs based on the actions and words of those same people.
For instance if every time you cried someone came to you in a caring, soothing way and your needs got met you may have developed a belief that the world is a safe place and people are caring. On the other hand if you were often ignored, went hungry, were yelled at for crying you might develop a very different belief about the world being an unsafe place where people are cruel and out for themselves.
What Does This Have To Do With Our Programs?
These beliefs are expressed over and over again in our self talk. So go back to the first example, the world is a safe place and my needs get met. The self talk, (which creates our programming) even when things are not going great might be something like; everyone has a bad day once in a while, I can handle this, no big deal I am sure it will all work out. On the other had the person raised in the second example having a bad day might be thinking; yep just another example of how things never work out for me, I never get my way, people are just mean and rude. Life’s a bitch and then you die.
How do you think you are feeling if that is your self talk?
Like crap, right?
You need to know that you have a choice here. Even if in the past it feels like nobody loves me everybody hates me, you can change the way you look at things. I believe it was Wayne Dyer that said when you change the way you look at things the things you look at change.
Intentionally Program Your Mind
You are constantly programming your mind. It is said that we have between 50,000 and 70,000 thoughts a day and 90% of our thoughts are the same ones we had the day before. When you are saying the same things to yourself over and over again you are basically programming your mind. It isn’t something we think about. Once you become aware of the fact that you are able to choose and change your thoughts you can start to change how the world around you looks and what your beliefs are, and this changes the way you feel. You can reprogram your mind.
All of us have a tape playing in the background of our minds. While we may not hear this tape, our minds pick it up loud and clear. If we start to pay attention to how we feel and then check in with what we are saying to our self we can start to change that tape to something that changes the way we feel.
It is important to really recognize that these tapes are not just random words they are beliefs that impact not only our feelings but our behaviors. If your self talk is negative, self deprecating, critical, it can take you to a dark place. Unfortunately, if you are not aware of your mental self programming, you will continue to feel down and it may even cause you to engage in behaviors that don’t really serve you and may even harm you.
Take A Long Hard Look At Your Life
Whatever you’re frustrated with in your life, maybe it’s your career, maybe it’s your relationships, maybe it’s your weight, physical appearance, or whatever else, these are products of your self talk.
In Jack Canfiled’s book, The Success Principles, the very first principle is Take 100% responsibility for your life. That includes not only behaviors, but your thoughts and perceptions, and your response to situations. He uses the equation E+R=O. Event + Response = Outcome. What this means is we have a choice in how we respond to the events in our life, and our response influences the outcome. If your response is that you are a victim of circumstances then you will stay in a place of powerlessness and blame circumstances. If you check in and ask How would I like to respond? or even How did I create this event? then you decide what to do to change the outcome, which puts you in a place of empowerment.
This is a hard concept for a lot of people. You might be thinging, I didn’t ask this person to abuse me, I didn’t create cancer in my life. I would say that whether you believe that you have a role in creating the situation or not you still have a choice on how you respond. Are you going to stay in a situation where someone is abusing you? Are you going to do holistic practices, eat healthy, listen to your doctors to do whatever you can to regain your health. You have a choice and that starts with your thoughts about the situation.
I understand the resistance. It’s perfectly natural. But at the end of the day, the only person that’s responsible for your life is you.
There Is A Way Out
Change always starts with awareness. Now that you are at a place where you are willing to see that you are contributing to your emotional state with your thoughts, start to pay attention.. Understand how self talk works and train yourself to recognize negative affirmations. Those things that you say to yourself over and over again that define you in such a way that you have less joy and happiness in your life.
The process of change is actually a simple one but not necessarily an easy one because we are such creatures of habit. It starts with a simple decision to be more self-aware. To check in when negative feelings come up and pay attention to what you are saying to yourself about a situation. Start to challenge your self talk.
Ask, Is there another way to look at this situation? Is what I am saying to myself true? Do I know that it’s true? Is there evidence to support it and maybe more importantly, Is there evidence to the contrary? Am I willing to let this thought go? How would I rather feel now? Check in ask questions, practice letting go.
Check out The Work of Byron Katie, The Sedona Method teaches Letting Go. Or simply pick up a book on Cognitive Therapy and learn about all or nothing thinking, catastrophizing, making assumptions, mindreading. Once you start to pay attention and see where you are thinking negative, you can once again go back and ask how would I rather feel in this situation and what can I say to myself to feel that way. If you are dealing with a lot of trauma or abuse in your past it might be helpful to seek out help from a therapist.
There will be haters along the way, we can’t control other people, and there will be bad days. You still get to choose how to respond. Remember E + R = O.
Is It Really That Easy?
As I said earlier, it is a pretty simple process but not necessarily easy. What matters is how committed you are to change. If you are sick and tired of feeling like crap, being angry, depressed, or disappointed in life, it is time to take your life back. It starts with your thoughts.
Just like learning any new skill it takes time and practice. It is also not something that you fix and then your done. You don’t go to the gym and get fit and then stop going. You keep going. Healthy people continue proactices to keep themselves healthy.
Make a decision to giving up complaining and blaming. Practice being more mindful and noticing what is right about the situation rather than going immediately to what could be different. Practice, Practice, Practice. That is the key. If you want it bad enough you can have it.
Your thoughts are seeds you plant every day whether you know it or not. You create your reality by the statements you say to yourself and others. – Noah St John