Do you honestly want to know what your problem is?

Sometimes the thoughts we bring to the table are irrational attachment to ideas

By Matthew Hendricks on 13 April 2021
If you really need to know... it’s that you keep identifying with your problems as something personal.

Oh, you clicked! So here we are! Say this with me now:

  • Just because you took a bad action doesn't mean you're a bad person.
  • Just because you have a bad thought does not mean you are a bad person.
  • Just because you have had bad thoughts in the past that led to bad actions and living with bad consequences you are living with still does not make you a bad person.

You were not a bad person to start, and you are not a bad person now. And whatever your problem is, you’re just making it about you.

If you really need to know...

It’s that you keep identifying with your problems as something personal.

Your thoughts aren’t owned by you.

Thoughts are just thoughts. That’s all they are: something we think — and it's’s up to us if we even engage with them. That is, if we choose to engage with them at all.

In fact, you have several competing thoughts at any given at time, and it’s totally up to you which one of those thoughts you latch on with. How liberating is that?

Researchers aren’t even sure where thoughts originate.

We’re not even sure they come from inside your skull. So if that doesn’t blow your mind, just stop to think about it for a moment, instead of whatever it is you have been thinking. The choice is yours.

If we can’t even trust that the thoughts we think come from inside our self, then how do we get so worked up with identifying them all the time?

Why do we feel so in touch with our issues when we’re not even sure where these ideas came from?

People are always saying to me:

Don't take yourself so seriously.

But I think the more helpful thing to say would be:

Don’t take your thoughts so personally.

The truth of our thoughts—we think—is probably much more mysterious than we can imagine. Even so, we should be mindful of this. Because from what we know, this sort of personalizing and identification of thoughts is a major component of mental illnesses.

And I’m not just talking about the regular mental illness where we all cringe and think ‘that poor soul' — but I also mean the mental illness that society seems to accept or at least turn their eyes away, like billionaires obsessions with being the most powerful people in the room, or the concept of compulsive buying as an addictive, neurotic disorder.

These are all the result of an irrational attachment to thoughts and ideas. People personalizing things that can’t really be personal.

Whatever you do, don't take yourself so seriously.

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