Just Pretend You Can Believe It

“So I started re-examining my thoughts toward myself. First I had to give myself permission to have unhelpful, negative thoughts. This helped me stop hating on me for hating on me. Now there was just one layer of hating on myself. And now I could actually look at my thoughts without that resistance getting in the way. I took some of my power back.”

This last fall I took some big steps forward in the way that I treat myself and think about myself. It felt amazing! I reached my weight goal. I started working again. I moved to France. I increased my capacity to care for and provide for my wife and kids. I went off of my anti-anxiety and anti-depressant medications.

These were big steps for me. I was utilizing the power of mind management.

Then, some circumstances popped up. We got busy. I was getting less sleep and let the stress creep in. Pretty soon, without paying attention, my mind went back to more practiced thoughts: I’m not good enough. I’m ruining my kids. I can’t do this, amongst many others.

And then, because I think I understand better now about mind management, and thoughts creating our feelings, and thoughts ultimately being a choice. I started getting impatient and frustrated with myself for hating on myself. Yep, that’s right. I was not only hating myself but also hating myself for hating myself. Haha! Thoughts like: You know where having these negative thoughts leads. You know what results this thinking creates. Stop being mean to yourself, idiot! Really helpful!?

It’s so easy to just let thoughts happen without supervision. And then we blame our feelings on outside circumstances. Or we blame feelings on actions or inactions. Or on accomplishments.  We go on auto-pilot. Auto-pilot is very efficient and requires less effort and energy to fly the plane. But if you aren’t there to supervise and chart the course, auto-pilot will not get you where you want to go.

So I started re-examining my thoughts toward myself. First I had to give myself permission to have unhelpful, negative thoughts. This helped me stop hating on me for hating on me. Now there was just one layer of hating on myself. And now I could actually look at my thoughts without that resistance getting in the way. I took some of my power back.

Borrowing some ideas from other people, I came up with these questions to ask myself:

  1. What is your opinion of yourself?
  2. What do you want to believe about yourself?
  3. Pick 2 or 3. Why do you want to believe these thoughts?
  4. Why might you avoid believing these thoughts about yourself?
  5. Do you believe it’s possible to change your beliefs about yourself? Do you believe it is a choice? If not, why?
  6. What would it be like for you to completely believe the new thoughts. (If you don’t believe it is possible, just pretend for a moment that it is and really use your imagination.) What would that look like for you? How would you feel?

Question #6 is so powerful. Using my imagination in this way helped illustrate to me that those feelings are available to me right now in my mind, without changing circumstances. Without taking some big new action. Just with a mind management exercise.

Everything we do is because of how we think it will make us feel.

Think of something you are wanting to do. Now think of how you will feel if you accomplish that goal. What people don’t realize is, if you access those feelings now that you are seeking, while feeling that way you will be more likely to take the actions needed to accomplish your goal. Read that last sentence again if it didn’t make sense to you. And we really do have access to all of those feelings right now, right in our brain. You’ve just got to tap in.

Answering these questions above helped me tap in to some amazing feelings. And those feelings helped me take action on some things that seemed so impossible a few weeks ago.

What feelings do you think you can access by using your imagination?

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Please share your experiences with using imagination to help you in your life. Make comments. Let’s get a discussion going.

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