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The Quality of Our Thoughts

In this fast moving technological age in which we live there are no shortage of quotes or people telling us how we can be happier, calmer, more successful, etc. And this Ted Talk (link below) is really just one more. So you may feel excited, or irritated or just underwhelmed with this woman, Mel Robbins, who promises to help you to stop screwing yourself over. But I decided to put it on my blog because it reminded me of something which I think is very important to reiterate…. the importance of the quality of our thoughts.

The way we speak to ourselves and about ourselves to others is very important. Because this world, our world, is not a fixed thing that we all see the same. Ourselves, other people and the world are as different and unique as our thoughts and feelings are on a day to day basis.

Therapy can help us to see ourselves, others and the world in a more up-to-date and helpful way but talks like this can also be useful. While we are listening to somebody telling us we can do something different, at least for the time we are listening, the familiar voice that tells us we cannot change or we are just fine how we are, is being momentarily challenged. It is not occupying all the space in our head, stretched out on the sofa, it’s feet up on the table, totally running the show and hogging the remote control!

And in those moments there is always the possibility that a wonderful miracle happens, (the moments we therapists live for!) when someone suddenly smiles or gives a nervous laugh and says, something like, ‘I’ve never thought of it like that before’. And we try not to be smug as we quietly rejoice in the fact that something has shifted.

But of course as this woman, Mel Robbins says, it is simple but not easy. Monitoring the quality of our thoughts, noticing the helpful ones and marrying them with action, before they get muted by the remote control boss, is a lifelong work in progress.

But the first step in the process is realizing that what we say to ourselves all day, does affect how we feel and what we do. And if we want to have a chance of leading a more satisfactory life we need to gently take back the remote control and turn the sound down on the history channel while we search for a more up-to-date programme to replace it with.

If you listen to the talk, try to focus all your attention on the message, so the background noise that will be drowning it out is background not foreground.

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