“I’ve had a hard life.” I hear that all the time. Every life is hard though, you know that, right? It’s not like super smart people or rich people or people who match advertising’s definitions of beauty are immune to thinking debilitating thoughts. On a very recent post, Iris Higgins the former Diet Consultant talked about a thin, attractive model who cried over her non-existent “fat.”
Everyone has the same neurochemicals to play with. This isn’t how our life is, our life is simply a matter of which experiences we had early, who taught us how to see them, and a collection of events like that innocently created the list of chemicals you got trained to subconsciously ask for. It’s why people with angry parents often marry angry spouses.
I know people who were beaten horribly or even some who were molested as kids, and yet they have happy, healthy lives and successful relationships. So that’s possible. I know people who were teased horribly for disfigurements as kids and they have grown up to have a positive self images and rewarding lives. So that’s possible. I know people who grew up so poor they routinely didn’t have food and yet they have grown up into grateful, generous people. So that’s possible.
I know people who had violent spouses, terrible diseases, backgrounds as refugees, or as the children of addicted parents. All of these people experienced tremendous hardship. What broke them free from repeating those cycles or being destroyed by them, was their willingness to change the thoughts they had subconsciously learned to think out of habit.
Without knowing it you walk around all day in a sea of your own thinking. You judge the world, other people and especially yourself. If you use your own background as some sort of basis for that discussion you’re lost, because any opinion anyone ever had about your life could only guess at who you are, and people are helpful so they will have pointed out areas where they feel you could improve. But that makes you feel like now something’s missing because they rarely mention the great parts of you they take for granted.
In the end, only you define you. But you have to realise that non-intellectually. You can’t believe it’s possible intellectually, you have to enact it as a verb in your life. Like an actor, you must literally think the person’s thoughts that you want to be, especially if that’s someone so peaceful that they think very little at all. That is literally how you become that person.
That is all a specific person is, a pattern of thinking. If you change your patterns you change yourself. The weird thing is, once you get good at changing, that same ability gives you an understanding that you don’t really have to change much anyway. By then you realise that everyone has the skill you’re using. In freeing yourself of what you imagine as their judgments, you free yourself to be the real you.
Stop telling people about your past–about those previous yous. Yes you will have to refer to it occasionally as a part of living life but you don’t have to dwell there with those old versions of yourself. You certainly don’t have to volunteer to bring it up. Focus on who you are being. Focus on keeping in mind who you intend to be and that intention will become reality through your thinking of it.
Do you see where you come from? Can you see why you might say you’re unlucky, or talk about how you never get a break, or even when you say I can’t. That’s your idea of yourself and that is a worthless idea, you just need to have those every now and then so you can spot the worthwhile ideas. You always have the power to choose what you build with your consciousness. Change in life is when that idea becomes a verb and is thereby released into action by you.
You have no fetters. You wake up every day fresh and new and capable of being anyone. Be the person you would enjoy being. Be selfish that way. Think of how you would like to be and then intentionally think that person’s thoughts. Just do it. Remind yourself with notes, entries in your calendar, whatever you have to do. But your life has never been anything but a role you play anyway, so it’s time you started taking more control over your script and playing the role you’ve always wanted to play instead of one that your past has written for you.
Forget the past. Intend your future. Think yourself into a wonderful life by taking the actions that flow naturally from the new person’s thoughts. That’s how you were who you were. And it is how you will become who you will be.
Scott McPherson is an Edmonton-based writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and non-profit organizations 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.