Our minds are like radios with many stations. We each have our favorites which we have preset. Some of the preset stations are blame, contempt for ourselves or others, fear, guilt, resentment, and worry.
When we wake up in the morning, the radio in our head is playing. The negative litany begins and doesn’t stop until our head hits the pillow. Some of us can’t sleep because our minds don’t stop. In the morning our eyes open and we pick up the issues we obsessed about yesterday and spend the day possessed by our radio-mind.
We don’t even know what’s playing or that we can change the channel. And although the radio has many other stations, like paying attention to your breathing, being grateful for our blessings, appreciating the people and systems that support us, and marveling at the beauty of music, art or nature, we don’t even think of them.
This is what makes us victims: persons with no choices; we must do what we must do and think what we must think.
The first step in overcoming our self-imposed victimhood is to notice what we are thinking: Observation.
1. Find the part of your mind that is free of judgment, which is a neutral observer. You are a scientist in discovery mode.
2. Stop what you are doing 3 times a day and observe your thoughts and ask, “What am I thinking about now?”
a. Are you worrying about something over which you have no control?
b. Calling yourself names and berating yourself or playing any other negative “station” named above?
3. Choose your most recurrent type of thought and using your neutral observer, stop and notice your thoughts 3 times a day for a month.
4. In future posts I will explain that Awareness, Acceptance and Change must follow Observation. The problem is most of us fail to develop our non-judgmental, neutral observer and want to Change as soon as we discover our negative thoughts and so we berate ourselves for berating ourselves.
5. If we have been doing this for years, correcting it will not happen in an instant. Be patient with and kind to yourself!