Don't Believe Everything You Think

The first time you read the title of this post, you might do a double take. Say what? Maybe it sounds nonsensical, like an oxymoron. But questioning your thoughts is actually an important practice, a vital part of discovering happiness and manifesting your dreams.

Why? Because your thoughts can trip you up. Your brain can play games, distort memories, inflate the ugly. Your thoughts often reflect things you've been told all your life, but these things are not necessarily true. Your mind might even be your worst enemy.

Have you ever caught yourself replaying an embarrassing or painful event in your life, over and over, unable to press STOP? This is an example of how our minds like to linger over negative experiences. I've read that there is a purpose to this: we tend to remember and focus on the negative as a survival mechanism. Maybe this helped us out back in prehistoric times when we had to learn from bad situations like eating poisonous mushrooms or getting bitten by a saber tooth tiger. But is it really doing us any good today?

For the most part, I'd say no. Remembering how someone insulted or hurt you might remind you to stay away from that particular meanie, but I don't believe this offers any constructive ideas for how to relate to others in general. Dredging up bad memories and replaying them ad nauseum cannot lead to greater happiness in the present moment.

But questioning your thoughts and emotions can lead to greater happiness. It's very likely you've been indoctrinated with the beliefs of your parents, grandparents, teachers, coaches, religious leaders, neighbors and friends. Have you ever taken any time to assess how well these beliefs are serving you?

Right now, take a moment to sift through your thoughts. You might choose to use a journal or notebook to jot down whatever you happen to be thinking. Try to catch yourself off guard, and record whatever you discover. What do you find?

Are your thoughts leading you in a direction you want to pursue? Or are your thoughts squashing your hopes and dreams? Do your thoughts encourage you to take risks, to explore and create? Or to hold back? Instead of blindly accepting the thoughts that occur to you, try instead to challenge them. Hold them up to the bright light of day and see if there is any real truth to them.

In order to manifest your dreams, it is crucial to put a halt to any negative voices inside your head. The voices that remind you of past failures. The voices that keep you feeling small and scared. Remember that someone planted those voices there, probably when you were young and vulnerable and had no say in the matter. But you are no longer compelled to listen or accept them. You can choose a different path.

Your exercise for today is to question. Once you have listened to the voices inside your head, spend some time challenging those thoughts that no longer serve you. Pick holes in them. Discover the truth behind them. Make room for new possibilities!