You Are Not Your Thoughts

you are not your thoughtsThe biggest “Aha” I’ve had in a decade of personal growth is this:

You are not your thoughts.

Your true power comes when you wake up and become conscious about your thoughts and beliefs.

I’m Sherold Barr, I help women create a positive mindset so that they become strong, resilient and make more money than they ever thought possible.

If you identify with your thinking and believe everything your ego says, then you’re asleep at the wheel and you’re being run by your mental thought patterns.

Notice – when you’re thinking, you’re listening to the voice in your head.

Who is doing the listening?

Who is doing the talking?

It’s your higher self listening and observing the little self — the ego –that creates negative repetitive thoughts and chatter.

Once you learn to become aware of what you’re thinking, you can observe your thoughts and learn how to shift them by questioning them to find out what’s really true for you or by simply finding a better feeling thought.

You can challenge your negative thoughts and choose not to believe them saying, “I don’t have to believe you.”

During this pandemic, your stressful thoughts are most likely on overdrive.

It’s easy to get lost in a negative spin cycle and not know how to stop it.

Right now you may feel anxiety, sadness, frustration or overwhelm because the world as you knew it has changed.   And we don’t know when we’ll get back to a new normal.

It’s the people who learn how to work with their thoughts and beliefs that live a life on purpose.

How to observe your thinking: 

  1. Write down the circumstance that’s causing you to suffer emotionally. 

Example of a circumstance:  I was laid off due the pandemic.  I’ve worked for this company for five years. I applied for unemployment but I haven’t heard from them yet. I’m afraid I won’t have money to pay my bills. 

Most of the time it’s easiest to drop inside your body and notice how you’re feeling inside.

2. Notice the physical sensations in your body. 

Example: tight chest and neck.  

3. Write down the emotions/feelings you’re experiencing using one word (examples: anxiety, afraid, frustration, sadness, anger, overwhelm).

4. Write down the thought or the sentence that’s causing the fear and anxiety.  

I’m afraid I’ll run out of money (because unemployment hasn’t come through yet).

To shorten this, you would use: “I’ll run out of money.”  This is the thought that causes the most anxiety.

The circumstance of the pandemic didn’t cause you to feel anxious. 

It’s how we THINK about the circumstance that causes your fear and anxiety.  your thoughts ABOUT the circumstance – that cause you to feel anxious and afraid.

Your thoughts and beliefs create your emotions and feelings and those emotions drive your behavior, giving you the results you have in your life today.

So if you want to change the results you have in your life, you want to think new thoughts.

This is how you create your reality.

When life challenges you, adverse events can serve to awaken you out of the unconsciousness that is the egoic mind.

All of us experience adverse circumstances — loss, heartbreak, divorce, job loss, and aging and death.

It’s how we think about these experiences that makes the difference.

You get to choose how you think about the pandemic.

You can choose, at every moment, how you think and feel about any circumstance in your life.

It’s your negative thoughts and beliefs that cause the emotional suffering (anxiety, worry, frustration, overwhelm, sadness or anger).

Eckhart Tolle says that 90% of unhappiness that you encounter is actually produced by your mind.

The frustration (unhappiness) comes from the self-talk in your head.

When you mistake the voice in the head for who you are, you become unhappy.

When you can learn to stop blaming others (parents, partners, siblings, jobs) for your problems or unhappiness, you awaken.

A traumatic event will often be the cause of awakening.

I’ve experienced three traumas in my life that have served to wake me up to find meaning out of the challenging circumstances.

My youngest brother Byron was killed 15 years ago when he was 47. Today his case is a cold case.

This tragedy helped me find my truth, my voice and my life’s calling. I promised myself that if I could make it through the grief, horror and darkness of that experience, I’d help others learn how to stop suffering emotionally.

The reptilian brain

The reptilian brain helped us survive in the wild by keeping us alert to dangers.  Yet in today’s modern world, your inner lizard pumps out lack and attack fears all day long.

Your inner lizard paralyzes you with terrifying thoughts such as “you’re a fraud,” “you aren’t good enough,” “you don’t have what it takes,” or “who do you think you are to ________.”

These shaming Universal beliefs can scare you into playing small in your life. 

The inner lizard can undermine your self-confidence, self-worth and ambition unless you learn how to tame your inner critic

If you’re not aware of your thoughts and you listen to the voice of your ego, it will stop you from doing what you’re here on earth to do – use your divine gifts and talents to help others.

Left unchecked, your inner lizard will cause you to stay stuck, hide out from fear of being seen and feel rejected.

Ultimately it causes you to suffer emotionally.

Self-realization requires fierce courage to go inside and look at your life.

Yet is so worth it.

Wandering through this dark time in my life, I found my way to The Work of Byron Katie.

I learned that any thought that caused me to feel any negative emotion – was a lie.

Byron Katie’s process of inquiry takes you back to your true nature – where peace, joy, love and truth live inside you.

Your ego wants you to believe that you are your mind.

It gains power this way. As Eckhart Tolle said, “The ego takes you over, which is an imposter pretending to be you… When you recognize the unconsciousness in you, that which makes the recognition possible is the arising consciousness, is awakening.”

 How to awaken consciousness

  1. Learn to “be present” for a short time each day. Activities that help foster presence are journaling, meditation, or yoga. Or sit outside in nature and just be while doing nothing.
  2. Name your inner lizard – buy a lizard or another character in a toy store to represents your inner critic. Name it, so you notice when it’s scaring you. This exercise detaches you from the fearful voice. It’s ok to make your inner critic a humorous form for this Negative Ned or Nellie voice.

**I bought a small figure of a woman gunslinger. I named her Helga. Before I was conscious of her voice – my inner critic — Helga drove me to work faster, harder and work late hours.

  1. Become the observer of your thoughts.
    • If you’re someone who can readily access the emotions in your body, bring your awareness into your body and notice how it feels. Ask yourself what you were thinking that created that stressful feeling in your body.
    • If you’re a thinking type, notice what you were just thinking. Sit with it and breathe. Don’t try to push it away because what you resist will persist. This creates spaciousness (quiets your monkey mind) inside your body.
  1. When you’re stressed out, ask yourself, “What do I need in this moment right now?” This brings you out of the past and the future and into the NOW. What you’ll find is you most likely need nothing in that moment. Expand the moment to calm yourself. Your higher self or true nature lives in the place of the present moment that is pure peace.
  2. Learn to steer your mind — the steering wheel of your life — and drive it instead of it driving you. Learn to question any thought that causes you emotional pain to find peace and freedom.

If you liked this article, please share it on social media and with your friends.  I’d love to know if you observe your thoughts and how it’s helped you. 

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