You may be having a thought when you’re 40, but maybe it stems from a throwaway comment made by Great Aunt Bertha when you were 14. It can be as basic as that. She once said, “Don’t stare. It’s rude.” And now you feel uncomfortable and look away anytime anyone makes eye contact.
Seriously, if people could actually read our minds, they’d probably think we were nuts. And if you’re anything like me, you probably think yourself a bit bonkers some days. Our mind is our most powerful tool, yet we aren’t taught how to manage it. Now that is crazy. So, this month on The Samantha Leith Show, we’re going to take a squeeze at the chaos and learn some ways to manage our minds.
How did you go tracking your thoughts for the week? Let me guess. At some stage, you acted like Judgey McJudgePants and thought some shocking things about your thoughts. I find one of the fastest ways for my clients to get a handle, especially on their negative thoughts, is to make characters out of them. Suspicious Sally, Negative Nelly, Frugal Fran, you get the idea.
Our minds are clever little things. They lie to us all the time and can convince us of almost anything. I swear, I’m really glad at accents, for example, It’s complete bullshite. Yet every so often I open my mouth thinking something am amazing is going to come out. It’s so not true. That was just awful. Sorry, people. Even though you’re being playful by giving your dominant thoughts characterizations, naming them gives you greater control over them and understanding of what your patterns are. You may think of these like your inner critic or your inner cheerleader, and they are, so they need training.
Let’s go back a step. List the top 10, most common thoughts you had last week, and give those thoughts a name or a character. Then write out more about those characters, the good, the bad, and the what the… There’s a trend going around at the moment of Little Miss memes. If you have some time, and please don’t use this as a procrastination technique, give this a go. What does their voice sound like? What do they look like?
Jump onto Canva and get creative. Do the positive and the negative thoughts, the ones that belong to your critic and your cheerleaders. Then post it on social and tag me so I can see how creative you’ve been with all those monkeys in your mind. And if you have a Little Miss It’s Too Late for Me to Give my Dreams a Go, you’re in the right place, because you’re going to be able to flip those thoughts before you know it.
When you look at your characters, is there a positive and a negative one that resonates with you just that bit more? These are your new besties, the two sides of your thoughts. You won’t be able to remove the negative totally. After all, you’re human. So, let’s work at educating ourselves to have power over them.
If you were writing a job description of your new inner cheerleader, what would you want and what wouldn’t you want? Likewise, if you’re doing a performance review of your inner critic, what would you want them to stop, and what’s actually valuable? What are you mean what is valuable from your inner critic? I’ll use me as an example, okay?
One of my common critical thoughts is that I’m not dedicated enough to my goals, so I’ll never get what I want. I sat with this thought over and over again. The word that kept hitting me in the head was dedicated. And you know what? It was true. They never get what I want bit, bullshite. But the gold was there for me. It just took time and this exercise to see.
I first learned about doing this sort of process called The Work by Byron Katie, and I’ll touch on it here. There’s a link to her worksheet on this process in the episode notes so you can grab it. Now whilst this process is based on thoughts from a situation involving someone else, I found it really useful when looking at my own thoughts about myself, and well, you might, too.
When you have a thought, you’re going to ask yourself four questions. Is it true? Can you absolutely know it’s true. How do you react? What happens when you believe that thought? Who would you be without that thought? So, for me, I could see that it was true, that I wasn’t dedicated to the extent I needed to be for the goals I was working on at that time, and I would’ve been fooling myself to believe otherwise.
When I was thinking that thought, though, I’d get into a state of apathy and be paralyzed about taking action, thus proving to myself how not dedicated I was. It didn’t matter that in other areas of my life I could see total dedication. And if I went back a bit, I’ve got proof of dedication and achievement.
When we have a negative thought pattern, it’s a really strong little bugger. The vicious cycle would continue. I knew that without that thought, I would, in fact, be more dedicated and have a greater chance of achieving my goals. It just doesn’t make sense. If you can, and if you want to, it can be helpful to dig a little deeper and look for an origin story of a thought.
You may be having a thought when you are 40, but maybe it stems from a throwaway comment made by Great Aunt Bertha when you were 14. It can be as basic as that. Simple. She once said, “Don’t stare. It’s rude.” And now you feel uncomfortable and look away anytime anyone makes eye contact.
This is not a golden ticket for you to get stuck in your past, dredging up your stories for your thoughts, because there might not actually be one. And this is definitely not a chance to play the blame game on why something isn’t working for you because of something someone said a gazillion years ago. This is an opportunity for you to take a quick little look a little deeper.
Usually if there is something there you’ll know it really quickly. It’ll pop up and be obvious. As an adult, when you think about what Aunt Bertha said, you can probably see that it came from a place of love, and was never intended to have you feeling awkward with body language. And you know it’s held you back in so many areas in life. So, forgive her, and take the baby steps towards having a better thought. How about it’s safe for me to look in someone’s eyes? We’re going to do more work on changing our thoughts over the next couple of weeks, so stick around.
The last thing I want you to look at this week are the thoughts within the thoughts. Guess it’s a little like The Matrix, the reality within the reality. Does anyone got a red pill? Is it a red pill they take? Red one or the blue one, I can’t remember. Anyway, if it’s some stage of your life you’ve been told or thought is bad or wrong or stupid, having that thought might make you feel shame, regret, anger, et cetera. The thought becomes a self-feeding beast.
Say you once express the thought, I’m so attracted to women with long blonde hair. I will not mention that short haired brunettes are so much more fun, but anyway. Your BFF that you said this to said you’re a fool for thinking that, and not to be based on people’s looks. Now anytime you see a blonde that you find attractive, you berate yourself. The shame rises up, and then you’re too scared to have a flirt because it’s wrong of you to be more at attracted to her.
Okay, I’m obviously having a little fun here, because blondes aren’t my type. Because when I went to get my very first haircut, I asked the hairdresser for long blonde and curly. Never going to happen. We actually can’t help who we’re more attracted to. Yet every day, all around the world, people are judging others and themselves because of those thoughts.
Over the next week, when you have a thought come to the surface, want you to try a couple of different things. Assign a character to the thought. Take yourself through those four questions. See if you can find a base thought behind the thought.
And look, you may be sitting there thinking, get to the point, Sam. How do I fix my thoughts? You don’t, sorry. They aren’t broken, and neither are you. These steps of discovery will, I promise, help you to deal with your thoughts, delete some of them, and create new ones that will help support you to be the best you possible.
Thank you for watching this week’s episode of The Samantha Leith Show with me, Samantha Leith. If you’ve liked any of these episodes, I’d love it if you subscribed, shared, or commented because it really helps. And if you want some more support with managing your mind, tag me on social media @SamanthaLeith and let’s have a chat. Remember, those thoughts that take up that space between our ears are capable of supporting our fabulousness or bringing us crashing down. And you, my dear, are in the driver’s seat.