We all have things running through our brains that we are well aware of and we call these things thoughts! But we also have many thoughts running through our brains that are out of our conscious awareness and we are affected by them, but we may not be very aware of them and therefore, we don’t always recognize the influence these thoughts have on our feelings and actions.
As a person, I have learned to recognize when some of these old “tapes” are playing by how my mood or my actions are and I have learned to identify what is being “played” and change it by paying careful attention. As a counselor, I have learned to pay careful attention to what people say about themselves, what they actually do/act on and from there begin to identify what the “tapes” are that they are playing. (I’m using the terms tapes because it’s a term most of us can identify with easily and we have used it in counseling for some time.)
We tend to think that we are only acting on what we are aware of that is going on in our minds. The truth is that we have lots of underlying beliefs that color our feelings/thoughts/actions that are automatic and below our awareness, and we need to be able to identify those and change them, if we want to change them.
I used to say “I’m sorry” all the time, even when I didn’t feel that I had done anything wrong. I finally tuned in and discovered that I felt that pretty much everything I did was wrong and so I was constantly apologizing! It took some work, but I turned that thinking around and suddenly I wasn’t apologizing anymore, unless I truly felt I needed to because of something I was clear about doing. It was no longer an automatic reaction, it was an intentional, and therefore meaningful, action.
We pick up messages from the day we are born from parents, other adults, older siblings and then people outside the family as we get older. Some of these ideas that we have running underneath are because we interpreted something a certain way and we never looked to see if we were accurate, we just kept thinking what we were thinking. There is a certain amount of truth in the saying “junk in – junk out” when it comes to what we put in our heads (or our computers).
I invite you to spend some time Paying Attention to beliefs or behaviors that you repeat often and then dig a little deeper to see where those are coming from inside you. If they are working toward your highest good, then hang on to them and be aware of what the root belief(s) is/are. If they are not working toward your highest good, then make some effort to change them. Some people can do this on their own, however, most of us need some help, so talk to someone you trust or to a counselor, pastor, someone objective who has your best interest at heart. Once you make some positive changes in your underlying thought patterns, you will see positive changes in what’s going on in your life!