As a child I was inquisitive, and talkative. My father liked to drive and often, on family vacations, he would drive late into the night to get to where ever we were going. Because I liked to ask questions and chatter away, I was often honoured with the front seat. My parents knew my father would never be able to fall asleep with my continuous stream of questions and chatter about the world around me.
I wanted to understand. Not just how the world worked, but how I fit into it and how my fitting into it impacted others around me. It was my nature. I was about 13 years old when I bought my first copy of Psychology Today and while it was an odd choice for a teenager, it was my favourite magazine. In my final year of high school I convinced my biology teacher to let me out of dissecting frogs by pitching him on the idea that my talents would be better served creating and delivering a course on vicarious learning in grade school children.
The human mind fascinated me. It still does.
Not the mechanisms of it but rather the why’s of what we do, and the how’s of our capacity to change, to transform, to evolve.
This weekend at Choices, the personal development/life-skills program I coach in, I had one of those things that continually percolate in my life, particularly when I’m in a Choices room — an AHA! moment.
I don’t remember exactly what was being said that caused me to sit up and take note of the thoughts drifting through my head but suddenly I was hyper-aware of a ‘knowing’, a deep inner sense of self that in one flash of clarity made sense of so much that had caused pain and turmoil within me in the past.
I have always treasured my mind and its capacity to work through thoughts, ideas, feelings. I have always believed the mind is a powerful engine of creativity and possibility. And, I have always felt that our mind’s are the portal through which we must step to see and experience the wonders of the world. .
As a teenager, when others were experimenting with drugs or getting crazy drunk, I couldn’t do it. I inherently knew that to do that would mean to give up control of my mind — and I wasn’t willing to go there. One, I didn’t like the idea of not being in control, and two, I was scared that I might forever damage my mind and I wasn’t willing to risk my mind on an instant high that could impact me forever.
At the same time of treasuring my mind, however, I also constantly questioned and distrusted it. Was I right? Did I really remember that or did I just make it up? What was I feeling? Did I have a right to feel that way or was I wrong to feel that way? What was the right way to feel? Is there a right way to feel or was it okay to just feel and not try to analyze the feelings? If everybody tells me I think too much, how do I stop? Can I stop? What’s wrong with me that I can’t stop thinking? Why can’t I stop? Do I have to stop? Why do I have to ask so many questions?
It was a vicious circle. I thought and therefore I was, and in whatever I was, I questioned the who, what, how, of my thinking, continually doubting myself.
It was a learned response to having been teased as a child for my constant questions and musings about the world. It was a learned response to having felt outside of the norm, looking in for so many years. It was a learned response of what I called my ‘observer’ role. I didn’t like to ‘get in there and get dirty’ as much as I liked to hold myself on the edges so that I could watch and observe and analyze from the outside looking in.
My AHA! moment came barreling in on the realization that I have allowed other people’s judgements of my capacity to think to limit my acceptance of my own thinking. I have let other people’s opinions of me be the measure of my doing in the world.
And, I have carried a world of hurt within me that I never, ever acknowledged, disclosed or revealed.
And that’s when the AHA! leaped out and whacked me on the side of the head.
I can let go!
My thinking is nobody else’s business but my own. I am 100% responsible for my thinking — and how I claim it, express it and send it out into the world. It is my choice to ensure my thinking expresses itself in ways that create more of what I want in the world. Peace. Love. Harmony. Joy. Possibility and Hope.
It doesn’t matter that in the past I’ve allowed people’s statements of — “You think too much” or, “your head is too dangerous a neighbourhood for you to be in alone” to affect my sense of self. It doesn’t matter that I’ve accepted their opinions as fact.
What matters is, it doesn’t matter! I matter to me. I am the one who has my thoughts. All of them. And the number or frequency or complexity or depth of my thoughts is nobody’s business but my own! And for all I may have carried hurt or felt belittled in the past — today, I feel empowered, charged up and excited about all that I am capable of — because all my thinking led me here.
I don’t have to make my thinking right for everyone else. I just have to do right by my thinking for me and the world around me!