When you describe your life to someone you’re meeting, how do you describe it? What words do you use to create the image of it? Do you make it sound heavy and difficult, or easy and fortunate? Do you brag about recent successes, or do you stay quieter and think that you’re better to leave the conversation to others? Who do you become via the thoughts and words you choose to use both inside your head and outside of it too?
Ultimately what you say to others will have a lot to do with what you say to yourself. As you translate an idea from your consciousness into someone elses, what is your story? What’s your narrative? Who do you tell them–and yourself–you are? This is something healthy people stay aware of.
Are you someone whose house will never be organized? Do you wake up in the morning, look at a consistent mess, and then tell yourself you really do have to get organized today and yet you never actually start? Or do you always pay attention to the gender split at any event or activity, and then do you constantly note the fact that you’re the only one of your friends who’s still single? Or are you the person with the inept spouse that you laugh at with family, friends or co-workers?
Whose thoughts do you think? Are you someone whose house is a disaster or someone who is lonely or are you married to someone beneath you? You could be any of these people via the thoughts you think. So choose those thoughts carefully.
There are billions of things going on around you every day. From this massive amount you will be inclined to pick up only a few and you will strongly tend to toward picking up the same ones every day. That pattern of choice is what creates your identity. You could pick anything. If you always tell people sad stories then you could—at any time you like—change to telling them only happy stories. But if you don’t then you develop a victim-identity and you always feel overwhelmed. But that’s not what you are that’s just who you’re being because that’s who you’re telling the real you to be.
So stop telling yourself a story about what’s missing or who you are and start just getting into the world around you. Because you’re not a specific person. You’re an aspect of the universe and you have the freedom to be many things. So decide what awesome person you want to be and then diligently observe your consciousness to ensure that you are thinking that person’s thoughts. Because thought was always the only thing that ever made anyone into anybody.
It’s like mental yoga. You want peace in your life? Then stop being so lazy with your consciousness. Right now you let any thought roll through it that shows up. You must become more conscious regarding your thinking. Whenever possible stay silent and open. If you are babbling away inside always be aware that your thinking is what is generating your identity—your sense of self. If that starts to feel small or threatened, you don’t need to do anything in the outside world. You just have to stop creating that small, threatened creature in your interior world.
We all think enervating thoughts sometimes. We all think angry, sad, or vengeful thoughts sometimes. But thoughts are thoughts. So long as these things don’t translate to angry, sad or vengeful actions the only person who will suffer is you. But these stories will translate to unpleasant chemistry for your brain and bloodstream. So don’t think them any more than you have to and you really don’t have to think them much at all. Put some real effort into monitoring your own thinking and get a really good idea of who you create with that thinking. Then ask yourself if that’s who you really want to be?
Go create a great day and life for yourself by choosing the thoughts that would cause a good day and life to come into being. That’s all there is to it. But you’ll have trouble believing that. Because everyone will have taught you to use your thoughts to tell yourself that your freedom is further away and more difficult than that. And so it will be. Because it’s always all up to you.
Scott McPherson is an Edmonton-based writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and non-profit organisations locally and around the world.
A serious childhood brain injury lead Scott to spend his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and identity. It made others as strange to him as he was to them. When he realized people were confused by their own over-thinking, Scott began teaching others to understand reality. He is currently CBC Radio Active’s Wellness Columnist, as well as a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB where he still finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.