Posted by Jill Whalen | Posted in Relationships, Thought | Posted on 02-15-2015
Tags: 3 Principles, Mindfulness
[Jill’s Note: If you prefer to listen rather than read, please scroll to the bottom of this post for the audio version.]
Let’s face it, we are egocentric beings. We live in our heads and see the world through our own unique (skewed) perspective. Most of the time we forget or simply never think about the fact that everyone else on the planet is doing the same.
And guess what?
99.99% of others’ thoughts are all about them–just as 99.99% of yours are about you. (My made-up statistic. 😉 )
This is not to say that none of us care or have empathy and compassion for others. We do. But most of the time when we have other people on our minds, we are usually wondering what they’re thinking of us, or how what they’re thinking might impact us.
“Why is she mad at me?” “What is he going to make me do now?” “Why does he always make me sad?” “Does he like me?” “I wish she wasn’t always out to get me.” etc.
This awareness of what we believe is going on in others’ heads isn’t all bad; it’s what protects us in scary situations and alerts us to times when we might be of help. However, this built in egocentricity can create problems where they may not even exist.
In fact, here’s a mind-blower for you:
Everything we think about, whether it be other people or ourselves, doesn’t actually exist. At least not in a tangible way. For every thought we have about any situation, there are an infinite number of different thoughts we could have instead.
So when we are sitting around worrying that our co-worker has it out for us, or our spouse is mad at us, chances are that WE are not even on their minds! How many times have you thought someone was mad at you, only to find out they were just worried about something else?
And even if we are on someone’s mind, there’s a good chance it’s just them wondering the same stuff about us! Regardless, trying to figure out what’s on other people’s minds is a futile exercise.
Rather than wondering what others are thinking, remembering that their thoughts are unlikely to be about us, can go a long way. And a simple knowing that even if the other person is thinking about us, it doesn’t have to affect us, can go an even longer way!
Other people’s thoughts are their own and have nothing whatsoever to do with us. What they think of us, the good, the bad and the ugly, has no bearing on who we truly are. EVER.
The more we realize this as a fact, the fewer thoughts we’ll have about what others are thinking. This in turn will lead us to being less anxious and stressed overall. Plus, it will open up space in our minds for other, more useful and creative thoughts to enter in.
Here’s some homework for you:
Be on the lookout over the next few days for all the times when you’re wondering what someone else is thinking. Is there any real reason why you need to know? Are your thoughts serving you in some positive way? Will whatever possibly bad or scary situation you think exists still be there in a few hours if you simply stop concerning yourself with it?
Obviously, there are situations that do need taking care of. Just be sure that you’re not making some of them up through your own, erroneous thoughts.
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