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Have you ever noticed how easy it is to get stuck in a mode of complaining about things even though that’s not you conscious intention? Why is this, even when we basically don’t want to be doing it? In personal growth work, understanding your thinking can be a great help with managing what you may think you are stuck with and not have any control of.
What I’m talking about comes out in a glaring way at times when we are in a group of people that gets going on complaining or criticizing another person. Have you witnessed how the group seems to get on a roll, with each person adding another and another related comment? If we are not careful about our presence of mind we can get pulled right into it.
Now, the reason complaining starts in the first place is a different matter, here I want to address what happens in our mind to keep feeding it. Once we start it is so easy to keep on with it and even enhance it even when it may not be in our normal character.
It has to do with the way your brain works, your brain is a seeking, answering mechanism. It wants to solve or satisfy what you are telling it through your conscious thought. Essentially everything you are thinking is a question to your brain. A question your brain is programmed to either answer by finding proof or find more of the same to validate your conscious thinking. Your brain wants to support and please you! It will quickly show you that what you are thinking is ‘correct’.
So, when you either start complaining yourself or you are listening to others complain, the brain goes to work finding more related content for you to back up your current thoughts. This validates your thinking, and yes what another person is saying, you are thinking about. If you agree or go along with what they are saying, you are thinking it yourself, thus asking for more of the same, or validation.
This is how you get a related thought popping up which leads to your statement about it. If you had complained, this new thought will likely be another related complaint. If you are making negative comments about another person, your brain will help you find more, and even bring up other people to criticize in a similar way.
Of course this works for all thinking, so it if very beneficial to you when your thoughts are happy and positive. Your brain will seek more of the same for you. The key in this is thought command. All of this brain activity is instigated by your conscious thought. Your conscious thought, which you can choose all of, is ultimately the director of your mind. If you are in command of your conscious and subconscious thinking.
However, the subconscious mind might be doing some things that it thought you wanted at an earlier time. This is where thought habits and beliefs are stored as programs to be turned on when a new related thought comes from your conscious mind. This is a topic for another article, but briefly, this is why you may have behavior that you are not sure why you have.
Even though these programs turn on automatically and direct your thinking and behavior, you are still ultimately in command consciously. You just need to recognize what is going on so that you can redirect or reprogram them as you now want.
In regards to complaining, in order to not have our mind help us complain, it is necessary to take command of our thinking. This means that you must first notice what you are thinking, then you can make a choice to keep on with it or change it. This is where the ‘master switch’ of your thinking is, in your conscious choice of thought. You don’t need to stay with a complaining though, or agree with others as they complain.
Just because something did happen, it does not mean you must let it continue. Because others are having a complaining session, or that you have noticed that you complained, you can choose to change that pattern of thought. You must specifically put in new thoughts, there can be no voids in thought, thee must be some thought. Choose a line of thought that is based more on being happy and loving.
Choosing your intentions and watching to keep your thoughts aligned with them is where you power is. Like anything with regards to managing your thinking, it can take some practice to get efficient at it. But doing what you can right now is better than waiting for some perfection, the doing will bring about more ability to assert your command of your thoughts.
What do you want to be today?
Happy, joyful and pleasant, OR unhappy, miserable and crabby?
Will you expect good or will be expecting something to go wrong?
Will you feel confident in yourself or afraid you aren’t good enough?
You get the idea here. The thing is, you can actually decide which way you will be. All of your attitudes and feelings are the result of a definition. Your definition of yourself. The key is, this is not set in stone – it is set in your mind. And you can change it. You can choose a new and different self definition if the one you are now holding does not fully support the life that you want.
Of course, you did not sit down one day and lay out your self definition . . but you can! What you think of yourself has developed gradually over the years with much of it being a result of interpretations you made about experiences you were involved in. Now you were not likely consciously aware of these interpretations either, most of them were done based on other past experiences a well. All of these interpretations build upon themselves and without realizing it you just believe it all as just being the way you are.
You can actually change they way you interpret things, as well as the way you see yourself. Your unconscious mind, which is where all the automatic thinking and reactions come from is really serving what it knows that you want. And at some point, you instructed the unconscious mind what you wanted. And it’s function is to serve you. Your unconscious mind acts on your behalf all the time, after all it keeps your body functioning without you having to pay it any attention.
But there is a key fact with all of this. Your unconscious mind is not in charge – your conscious mind is. It may appear the other way around because so much seems to happen so automatically. The only way your unconscious mind knows what to do is from an order from the conscious mind. And your unconscious mind is very loyal and obedient. What you may have told it 25 years ago, it is still following as law. Your conscious mind is in charge. You can issue new commands to your unconscious obedient mind when you choose. The only catch is – that you must first know that you can. Well, now you know.
Now you can pay attention to what is happening automatically with your thought, your attitude, your perceptions – everything can be changed. You can decide which of these automatic functions serves you well in the way you want your life to be. You can rewrite the script for these thoughts and behaviors. Just because you have had a certain demeanor does not mean you are stuck with it. How do you want to carry yourself all day long? Your attitude? Your reactions? Your tone of voice with others? How you see everything?
Once you begin to notice characteristics about yourself, you can see which ones you like and which ones not so much fit your ideal way. Then, you can choose how you would rather heave it be. You can choose to be pleasant, happy, trusting, confident and more. And at the beginning of the day is a fine time to set things straight. In the morning, right after awaking from sleep, you can tell yourself what you will be like today. You can preset your disposition and your attitude. And know this will affect everything you do and experience. In this universe we are in, like attracts like – it’s a law.
You can declare, “I AM calm” “I am at peace.” “I am happy.” “I am confident.” “I am good with change.” “I am highly capable.” Now this may take a little while to take effect. It’s possible to change right away, but your unconscious programming may need a little coaxing to drop something it has operated with for many years. It will tend to fall back to the old ways in the beginning. But you, being in charge consciously, have the power to outlast your unconscious mind as long as you stay alert and diligent. I won’t say it’s not easy to fall back, it is, but you are stronger than your unconscious programming – you are in charge, consciously.
So, in the morning, set yourself up to be more like you want. Choose to be happy and joyous, and to treat people well – including yourself! Use affirmative statements repeatedly essentially to convince your unconscious of what you want, it will get the message and make the changes. Set the tone for yourself, and your day. You will be amazed at how much better things seem to go.
It’s your life, your mind – so take command, and choose.
Self-discovery happens as the result of conscious mental and physical action. Doing the same things over and over is not conscious mental action, it’s passive unconscious automatic beahavior.
We think we are thinking because our brains are working, that is not thinking. Real thinking is active curiosity, analysis, planning, dreaming and questioning. When you carry on only doing the same things each day in the same ways, you are essentially living one day many times. But when you are actively thinking, you are living a new day each day. And your personal growth and development is based on self-discovery. If you don’t find out more about yourself, who you are and what you can do, there is nothing to grow into. Becoming aware of yourself right now is the first important step- you can’t do anything about what you aren’t aware of.
I learned this lesson in my early 20’s when I was the night shift foreman in a precision sheet metal shop in the Silicon Valley during the initial electronics boom of the 70’s. The owner of the shop had hired a new brake operator who said that he had 20 years of experience doing the job. In this shop situation we did many small run jobs so there was always a lot of setting up the machines required all day long. The idea of someone with 20 years experience excited me because I was the main person doing all the set ups at the time, which kept me running from place to place to keep everyone productive.
When I was introduced to this new man, he looked at me, the 20-year-old, and gave me this look like, who are you to be my boss? I didn’t let it bother me as I had been working with others much older than I for some time. I showed him the machines where he would be working and gave him a basic run down of the current task at hand, and left him alone figuring he knew what he was doing. After about 30 minutes I got a chance to go to see how he was doing, I figured he would be well on his way.
He had not done anything! And guess what, his demeanor had changed. Right then I found out that here was a guy that had been using this kind of machine for over 20 years and did not know how to make a simple set up for one. All he had done for all those years was to put the parts in, hit the pedal to make it operate, and pull the part out – someone else had made the set ups.
Now I am not saying this to brag rather to illustrate the difference in how we can spend our time. Here was a man that essentially lived the same year 20 times, never progressing with his knowledge, skills and activities. Then, I was a 20 year old who started this kind of work when I was 16 and at this time had been doing prototype work and now running my own shift making most of the set ups for everyone there. My previous 4 years were each different as I progressed through the learning and skill development process.
My point here is not to judge someone for wanting to remain doing the same things for years but rather to illustrate how we can look at our use of our time. Everyone has their own life path and certainly can choose as they will. But if you are not experiencing life as you have dreamed, you can do something about it. It comes down to choice, if you are enjoying your life as it is great. But if you have been thinking about wanting your life to be different and you can see that you have been doing the same things in the same ways for a long time, you can do something about it.
How this all fits into self-discovery is this, when your mind is actively working with questions, finding solutions, being creative, and trying new things you are setting yourself up to discover more. Just ask yourself this question, if what you are doing and how you are doing it is working and satisfying, why would you seek a different or better way? You wouldn’t. You mind is designed to help automate as much as possible for you so doing simple tasks and operating your physical body do not require a lot of conscious thought all the time. Can you imagine the mental burden if you had to consciously think about all this basic stuff?
Your mind is consciously engaged as you choose to engage it. Your conscious mind does always have something going on, but if you do not actively engage it, this thought tends to be mainly repetitive, as you know. In order to engage your mind you are actually asking it questions or giving commands. Your brain will serve to solve these questions and fulfill the commands. And this is when you really discover many things. You discover more about yourself, more about how to do something, and more of what is possible for you. All this because you are engaging your brain with active thought.
Take a look at what you are doing? Enhance your self-awareness. Are you moving forward at the pace you are happy with? Do you feel stuck in a repetitive cycle? Do you like where you are, or not? Asking questions of yourself is a great way to stimulate self-discovery and get your life moving in the direction you want. And, to find out what you are truly happy with right now. Personal growth and development is a daily ongoing process, to keep it going, pay attention every day.