Do my thoughts drive me where I want to be?

Personal development should be an important part of working life. If the company helps you achieve self-awareness in any positive way and motivates you – both sides win. This article will tell you where to start this change and help you get started with your personal development plan.

Our thoughts are who we are

Do we trust in our thoughts? Absolutely! They are ours, they are right and authentic, they tell us what to do and who we are and who are the others. They are with us from the very beginning. They can transform the words that are in our head to the feelings, sensations or impressions. Sometimes they become daydreams and imaginations. They compose in long inner dialogues becoming not rarely quarreling and intensive discussions what might upset you. Internal talks with ourselves are so intimate that nobody knows them as long as we decide to share – but usually, we try to change them to be more suitable to the situations and other’s expectations. Our thoughts are who we are.

But how often you thought “Why am I so nervous?” “What for am I so worried about it?” “Why she is so calm?” “How it would be to do it her way?” All these doubts are fundamental because they show us that maybe some of our thoughts don’t work well for us. Usually, we try to ignore those moments, because we don’t feel like we could do anything with it – “what can I do with that she is so annoying ?” In that text, I would like to ask you to stop at that point and focus for a moment on that kind of thoughts. It may occur to be an invitation to take the next major step forward in making changes in your life.

Know the road and the goal of the destination

Let’s imagine that the mind is like a railway network with an enormous number of various connections. Our thoughts would be like trams on the tracks. They have their schedules and they always go according to them. So they are quite fast because they know the road and the goal of the destinations very well. Some of them are new ones, some connections are brand new but most of them were built a long time ago and they are most common and busy. Let’s move that picture on the mind map. The enormous number of our thoughts are driving always in the same way. We call them “automatic thoughts” because they are blindly going to the same point, so they must be always the same. Their way, which they are travelling, raised a long time ago, mostly in childhood when the mind is very flexible, absorbing and creating so that is a time where most of our ways of thoughts have become. For example – before meeting with the boss, you might be thinking that everything will meet with a switch-curt, for sure he will be picking at you without a reason and his irritating smile make you nervous, etc. Fast heart beating, sweating hands, short breath and other nervous symptoms for our body seem to prove that you suddenly feel like you are in the war.

What is going on in your mind then? It is looking for similar situations, in the blink of an eye, it sees a thousand similar situations, because so many times you felt in the same way. Finally, thoughts in your mind get the source, get the answer to what was at the very beginning? Usually, he gets to some experiences from your childhood, when you faced with some situations you weren’t prepared for. Sometimes the father was too tired to be patient enough to you and he pushed you away. Maybe your mother was still comparing you with your sister who was always better in everything sister. Perhaps your maths teacher found it desirable in punishing you for mistakes. Or on your life path could stand a peer who was looking for the solutions in bullying. What was the most important is not who it was and what he or she was doing to you or others. The crucial thing is what you thought then and how you felt. The big wave of powerlessness, anxiety, loneliness, and weakness overflowed your mind then. It was so deeply touching that your mind had decided to remember it and protect you before every situation in your life which may be similar. That’s why when you may meet with someone you perceive as stronger than you – a boss for example or a substantially better off friend – your mind says that it is like then, so you start feeling like it was the same situation. In your mind thoughts decided you should feel weak or fault, just like it was before. You may predict that your boss is against you like it was with the teacher, or he might be no interested in your work like it was with the father…

What if your thoughts are wrong?

What if it may be useless knowledge in present time or in these situations? How do you know?

At the beginning focus yourself on the feelings which drive you to the thoughts. What I feel and why? Maybe you are afraid or feel anger, or you are a bundle of nerves? Try to be aware of what your body feels and then what kind of emotions do you have and go to the source – what kind of thoughts causes that state of mind. Remember that nothing else but your thoughts make the breaking point in changes. So ask yourself: what am I afraid? What would be the worst thing which I worried about?

If you know the answers more or less you might be ready to go further. The next step is curiosity. What if? What if I could think differently? What if it wouldn’t be like a court but if it could be at a meeting? It does matter if I imagine that my boss doesn’t want to hurt me personally, but he has some issue with my work – then we can talk about it, and have a meeting instead of fight, can’t we then?

When we want to finish with an old and unsuited way of thinking we should try to do it at every moment when we can think about it, not only when we are upset. Let’s try to call your thoughts into question in weekly situations, for example – It is true that I should be happy on vacations at the seaside? Is it indispensable to spend every Saturday on the chores in your house like it was in your domestic house?

If you change the train road in your mind you change the aim of the thoughts, so finally you can go everywhere you want and feel like you want.

*Article by Magdalena Tchórzewska –  a psychologist and certified psychotherapist for years associated with the Institute of Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy. She gained over 20 years of experience working with adults and their families supporting their development both in the professional field and in private life. He develops his professional experience and interests intensively by working with specialists from Europe, especially intensively working with psychotherapists from France and England. Recently, he explores his interest in the possibilities of using social media to support and treat psychotherapy.