Last week, I introduced you to Kate, who is struggling with trust and desire after her husband’s emotional affair. I walked you through “thought models'“ to show you where Kate’s unhelpful and helpful thoughts took her. This is one of many, many coaching tools we can apply to unhelpful thoughts to gain some space from them (to reduce their impact on us).
Here is another, even simpler tool:
Take a thought that is stressing you out, pulling on your attention, beating you up, causing anxiety. If you need help, consider what your mind says when you make a mistake, look in the mirror, or feel down. For Kate, one of her thoughts was “He ruined it.”
Now, take those words, that sentence in your mind, and ask yourself this:
Who would I be without that thought?
Imagine, even just for a minute, that your brain could not create that thought. Your mind cannot put those words together (or maybe it can, but in a foreign language, which would mean nothing to you!).
Who would you be? How would you feel?
What would you do or not do?
Does this give you some space from that thought? Can you imagine that sentence or phrase as separate from you? Do you gain even a little taste of freedom from the prison of words in your mind?
Can you look AT your thoughts rather than FROM your thoughts?
This tool is one of many that can inch you toward breaking through the illusion of language (Your thoughts don’t know everything; they are just thoughts) and becoming more psychologically flexible.
This flexibility leads to more possible courses of action.
While we can influence our thoughts and feelings, we have the most control over our actions. Go back to what you would do or not do without that thought. Can you take an important action that comes from that place of freedom? Even a small step? That is what makes your life meaningful.
Ready to apply coaching tools to thoughts that are holding you back or weighing you down? Reply to this e-mail or read below.