By Follow Your Own Rhythm
An easy way of explaining how our thoughts work is by comparing them to our physical, daily habits and routines.
When you have daily habits and routines, you sort of do things on autopilot. It doesn’t take much effort and discipline; you sort of just do it naturally.
Your morning routine, the way you drink your coffee, the way you do the dishes, the way you brush your teeth, your routine in the shower, are all habitual patterns that you hardly pay attention to.
This is the same with your thoughts.
Take this for an example...
You drive the same route to work every single day. You don’t even have to pay attention anymore to where you’re going because it is that habitual. It’s like second nature.
But let’s say one day you are heading to the airport which is in the same general direction as your work so you take the same initial route. However, instead of ending up at the airport, you end up at work because you weren’t paying attention to where you were going and your habit kicked in.
You were operating on autopilot and you let your habit take you where you always go, not where you want to go. If you paid attention to where you were going, you would have been able to take the necessary turn to get there, and break the pattern of your habit.
So until you pay attention to and become aware of where you are going, you will never get to where you want to be.
The same goes for your thought patterns.
When you just let your “thought habits” run on autopilot, they will take you where you always go. And where you always go (with your thoughts) is based on how you have been thinking your whole life.
This is based on how you have been conditioned as a child, what you absorbed from your parents, what you have picked up from your environment, and so on.
So just as with habits, it isn’t until you become aware of your thoughts that you can break the pattern and think in the way that you want to.
If you are not conscious of your thoughts, you will just keep thinking what you have always been thinking, and end up where you have always ended up.
Our thoughts are a powerful force that shape how we experience life.
And if you don’t pay attention to your thoughts, then you will keep experiencing life in the same way over and over again. So if you don’t like your reality, then you have to reevaluate the nature of your thoughts.
And just so you don’t beat yourself up too much about having negative thoughts, just know that one, you have the power to change them, and two, they are a byproduct of living in this heavy and demanding world, so it is a part of everybody’s struggle; you’re not alone.
Our habits of thinking are based on our belief system.
And our belief system, for the most part, is based on a very flawed perception of who we are and how life is supposed to be.
What do I mean by this?
As kids, we are free, uninhibited, and in touch with our authentic nature. We live in the moment, aren’t bothered by trivial matters, and appreciate the simplest things.
But as we grow older, we start to absorb the pressures of the world and we forget how to be free and how to be ourselves. We start to adopt the habits and thinking patterns of the world around us including our parents, friends, society, and we take to heart what other people think of us.
We then start to develop a belief system based on all of these experiences and we start to form an identity around it. This belief system gets solidified as we get older, and eventually turns into a habitual pattern that functions on autopilot, below our conscious awareness.
It is from this belief system that we respond to the world.
It is from this belief system that we interact with life, treat other people, and treat ourselves. It is from this belief system that we make decisions and measure our own self worth.
It’s all connected. Everything in life is connected and one always affects another.
So to show the connection here, the more “fear-based” your conditioning was as a child, meaning that the decisions and motivations of the world and people around you were primarily based in fear, competition, control, hatred, negativity, disrespect and lack, the more negative your view on the world, and the more disconnection and worry you experience in life.
Here is an example:
You grow up with a father who doesn’t like change. He gets comfortable in his ways and routines, doesn’t ask questions, doesn’t test his limits, and doesn’t venture out into new territory. He likes predictability, certainty, and comfort.
You, his daughter or son, naturally curious about life, eventually take on the pattern of your father because this is what you have been conditioned to believe about life through your father’s example. And it’s not just his lifestyle that you absorbed, it’s the overall message that the unknown should be feared, things shouldn’t be questioned, and comfort is priority.
His belief system is based in fear; fear of change, which he has unfortunately passed on to you. Now, it is your choice to continue to live with this same limiting mindset that will control your life, or to break free of this mindset and reconnect with your true, childlike, curious, and adventurous nature and form your own idea of what “change” means.
Our thoughts stem from our belief system, and our emotions and behaviors from our thoughts.
So what you think on a daily basis largely determines your decisions, interactions, actions, responses, and the overall quality of your life.
You’ve probably heard the saying “what you think, you become” by the Buddha.
When you’re constantly focused on negativity, you will attract negativity into your life. Everything, including our thoughts, is energy, and every form of energy vibrates at a certain frequency.
Positive and loving thoughts vibrate at a higher frequency, and negative thoughts at a lower frequency, and like energies attract like energies.
So if your thoughts are fear based, not only will you have more negative experiences, but you will also see the world from a negative perspective.
Like I mentioned before, until we become aware of our thought patterns, they run on autopilot based on how they have been programmed. And this programming came from a very unconscious world so most of our thoughts when on autopilot are of a highly negative nature.
However, the moment you recognize these 3 things:
1. Most of your thought patterns are habitual and you respond to things in a way that you have always responded, not necessarily because they work for you, but because it’s what you’ve been conditioned to do
2. Your thoughts control how you experience life
3. You are in control of your thoughts
…you start to embrace your true inherent power which is the ability to use your thoughts to shift your reality.
Here's a guideline on how to turn off autopilot and shift your mindset:
STEP 1: Make a decision
Make a decision to turn off autopilot, start thinking for yourself, and have your thoughts work FOR you. The first step is always setting the intention for what you want to happen, which in this case is to gain control over your thoughts to help you create a more positive life.
STEP 2: Question your current belief system, pay attention to how you respond to your changing environment, and notice how you react to people’s differences.
This step is mainly about bringing awareness to what you do and think, and how you go about doing that. Just pay attention without being critical or judgmental. Just simply observe your patterns and maybe even write them down in a notebook.
STEP 3: Identify if it's based in fear or love
Identify whether your responses and patterns come from a place of fear, judgment, distrust, disconnection, and hatred, or from a place of love, compassion, understanding, acceptance, trust, and gratitude.
STEP 4: When you notice that your responses and patterns are coming from a negative place, challenge yourself to think about the situation or person differently.
Interrupt the pattern of negative thinking by putting a more positive and loving twist on the situation as if you were giving it the benefit of the doubt. An easy way of doing this is to point out something that you appreciate about that situation or to see it compared to a worse situation.
For example, if it starts raining during your vacation and you immediately respond with frustration and anger, you can reframe by saying “I’m thankful that at least it’s warm” or “it could be worse, it could be cold” or “at least we had some sun in the morning,” or “at least there’s no drought and the plants are happy,” or just simply accept life and say “rain happens and it will pass and everything will be ok.”
There are many options for reframing to a more positive perspective, you just have to get creative and really open your heart and mind.
STEP 5: Repeat every time negativity creeps in
Do this every time you catch yourself being negative, and build a new thinking pattern that serves you, not limits you, and eventually, your reality will shift. Be patient as the changes unfold and always trust in the process
Reframing is an integral part of my life. When I am constantly reframing my perspective to align with my values, I am training my brain to respond more positively to life and all of the experiences that come with it. Because of this, I have become a much more optimistic person and truly view life as beautiful in all of its forms.
The main takeaway from this article is that you are more powerful than you think. Your thoughts don’t have to be bad habits that you blindly follow and that lead your life, you can take control of your life simply by paying attention to what you think and what energies you’re putting out into the world.
What you put out, you get back, so choose vibes that serve you, serve the world, and help you live a happier, healthier life.
If this article was helpful, let me know in the comments below!
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