I don't own that thought

When you spend the majority of your day inside your house with a bunch of baby humans, there’s a lot of time for thinking. My mother always said I thought too much, and it certainly doesn’t further the cause for me to spend the better part of my life talking to myself. But that’s the way of it, I suppose. I am my own most constant companion.

Amidst all this thinking, the unfortunate reality is that a lot of garbage seeps in to my daily dialogue. Judgments about myself, judgments about my husband, judgments about my children, judgments about my neighbors, and judgments about the mailman who always loses my mail. Judgments about the weather, judgments about my (lack of) decoration skills, judgments about my use of time… the list goes on and on. All this judging builds a lot of negativity and frustration in my life. And in an effort to avoid this grumpy lifestyle, I spend a lot of time shutting down these thoughts.

But until recently I hadn’t realized that the very act of shutting these thoughts down was part of the negative cycle. Every time I closed down one of these thoughts, I also repeated in my head “Why am I always thinking thoughts like this? Why am I such a judgmental, negative person?” I was seeing myself in a very poor light.

Recently I read two articles, which offered me illumination on my judging problems. The first, here at Segullah, talked about just stopping the judging thoughts. Not swinging either direction, or deliberating on the process at all. Just. Stopping. The second, here at Momastery, talked about speaking kindly to oneself, loving oneself, and forgiving oneself.

It was then that I realized an important fact. Sure, these grumpy, negative thoughts did jump into my head, but I didn’t have to own them. I didn’t have to make them mine. I could un-own them, and as soon as I did – it set me free. “That is not a thought I agree with,” I now say to myself. “That is not something I think.” “I. Do. Not. Own. That. Thought.”

The thoughts that degrade ourselves and others do not need to be offered a stage in our minds, and we do not have to author them. We can set them aside as soon as they dare show their heads. We can remind them they are not ours. We don’t want those things. We don’t think those things. They are not ours.

We do not own those thoughts.

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