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  • Writer's pictureFrancesca Valentini

You don't have to believe your thoughts!

Updated: Apr 25

Recently, I was working with a brilliant young woman. During our session, we discussed about her tendency to overthink and easily fall into a spiral of thoughts, from which she had a hard time getting out. While working through her situation, she stopped for a moment and looked at me with a face so shocked, that I thought she had seen a ghost. She said: "WAIT. So you are telling me that I don't have to believe my thoughts?!?".

And there it hit me: after so much time spent dealing with psychological concepts, I was giving for granted that everyone would know that we don't have to believe our thoughts. That our thoughts might well be wrong, fake, mere phantasies or illusions.

Just try this out: think of a blue pig with wings. Can you picture it in your head? Yes? Now imagine that the blue pig with wings is sitting behind you. Can you do that? Most likely.

Well, that image right there is the result of a thought process. Do blue pig with wings exist? Not that I know of. And is a blue pig with wings sitting behind you? Very, very unlikely.

What does that say about the type of thoughts your mind can create? Are they always correct and objective?

Let's break this down.

Your mind's main task is to create reference between different things, experiences and information you gather throughout life. This ability enables you to function quite productively. However, during its attempt to create references or interlinkages between events and information, your mind delivers also a fair quantity of useless, abstruse, or absurd thoughts.

The kind of thoughts i.e. the type of references, interlinkages and connections between things that your mind creates are mainly the result of its programming, namely the way you were raised, where, and when, which experiences you went through, and some predetermined biological settings.

Your thoughts are always coherent to this programming, but this does not mean that they a) reflect reality and b) are useful for you.

So, don't believe everything you think. Not every problem your mind reports to you is actually one. At the same time, not every solution that it suggests is a good solution. And not every interpretation is true.

Once you are able to distance yourself from your thoughts, and you start observing the gigantic quantity of rubbish that your mind creates, don't get surprised. Their appearance is normal and is not a sign that there is something wrong with you.

This is just the first step towards a life free from your mind-dictatorship.

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