“Never believe any thought you think about yourself that limits you in any way.”
One of my teachers once gave me that instruction.
He wrote it down, and I read it three times before I grasped it.
There’s a lot in that lesson, namely that believing—or not believing—our thoughts is a choice.
But thoughts tend to masquerade as truth.
I was reminded of this in a big way last week when a fellow coach challenged me to write my disempowering thoughts in a journal.
If you’ve ever tried this, you know that the first challenge is sustaining motivation, and the second is maintaining awareness.
But I decided to give it a go.
I got two pens: a red one for disempowering thoughts and a green one to write empowering thoughts I could choose to believe instead.
It took me a few days before I wrote a single disempowering thought, but not because I didn’t have any.
I think it was because I didn’t want to admit that my disempowering thoughts aren’t true.
After all, I found evidence for those thoughts! And besides, if I spoke those same thoughts out loud, I could easily find people to agree with me!
It helps me to remember that in every moment of ordinary consciousness we’re saying something to ourselves.
That there’s always some linguistic pattern.
Externalizing our thoughts in writing—looking at them in the cold light of day—can help us get distance from them.
(Sometimes when I do this, I think of the bug that Trinity removes from Neo in The Matrix.)
Once we have distance from our thoughts, we create space to choose new, more empowering thoughts.
I can tell already that I could use more green pens.
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