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Thinking Problems Create Pain

I’ve been super busy with Christmas the last couple of days and haven’t posted much online. It’s all about getting those last few things done so we can enjoy the last week before Christmas without worrying about finishing everything. I love being done with all the stuff before the 20th or so of the month. It makes life much easier.

Anyway, I think it was Friday morning I snuck a post in on social media really early that day talking about how I had managed to stay out of the pattern of fear and worry around a financial situation that had come up intuitively. I said at the time that nothing happened, which remains true. As I was posting about what had happened, I kept thinking that I needed to bottle that method because it could and would help a lot of people stay out of a lot of the pain they create for themselves.

There is truth in the idea that the events of our lives aren’t what causes us pain, it’s our perception of those same events and our projection of what might happen in the future that causes us pain. Because that’s true, it’s important that we stay focused on the present without worrying about what might happen or how it will work out, or what will happen if. That can be hard to do. We’re so trained to try to control everything by projecting into the future and problem-solving things that aren’t even happening and may never happen.

Our brains do that because they are trying to protect us. They don’t want us to get hurt, they want to keep us safe and so they make up all these things that aren’t necessarily true but they keep you stuck and that’s what the brain wants. The trick to that is to recognize those thoughts and not get tied up in them. That requires awareness of our own thoughts. I’ve said before trying to control every thought you have right from the beginning is impossible and overwhelming, especially for a busy mind. But, if we can start to pick and choose events and scenarios that come up where we’re more likely to have those crazy thoughts, then we can use those as places to practice our awareness. The more we do it, the better we get, and the more often we can begin to control our thinking.

For me, the process was pretty much one of distraction. Keep the brain busy with my work. Keep the brain focused on things that aren’t the problem. Focus on being successful, not running into trouble. Don’t project into the future. Shut down thoughts or thought patterns that cause me to start to worry. That meant continuing to write all the time. That meant working and not giving myself a whole lot of time to think. When I wasn’t working, I had to be aware of what was running through my head. There were a number of times where I had to tell my brain to take a hike. That’s okay, there’s nothing wrong with that. That’s me getting control over the mind.

The mind is a muscle in the body. But unlike the heart which should be mostly left alone to do its own thing, the brain needs guidance and control. If left to its own devices, it’s a crazy-making place to be. But with some control and rules, it’s a wonderful tool that we can use to help navigate our lives. The problem most people have is that the brain has them down the rabbit hole before they know what hit them. That’s okay. It’s not about catching it early, it’s about catching it at all. It doesn’t matter where in the process you catch the crazy thoughts, it’s what you do when you catch them that makes the difference.

Even if you can’t or don’t catch them right away if you can catch them or stop them at any point, you’re making a difference to your thinking and you’re training your brain to stop feeding you that nonsense in the first place. That’s huge all by itself. Anytime you can redirect your thoughts to something more helpful you’re doing yourself a favor. You’re saving yourself some worry and fear as well, which is also a really good thing.

Pain is optional. It’s about our perspective on what happens. The mind will always make up the worst-case scenario. So, if you just let the mind do what it does, you’ll find yourself in a lot of pain all the time. But, if you figure out how to change your perspective on things and be somewhat aware of those thoughts, you’ll begin to feel better. That alone will make a difference in your thinking because you won’t be starting from a place of pain anymore.

When we first start this process, we generally start from pain. That means the thoughts are also mostly painful. I can remember when I first realized that I was going to have to share what was happening in my life. That triggered the crap out of me. I can remember questioning how me splashing my problems on the Internet was going to help anybody. Why would anybody want to know about my ridiculous life? What would that solve? I don’t want to share all my problems with everybody. Facebook is not a good place to get therapy. (It’s not by the way. Don’t get therapy on Facebook.)

Anyway, I had to get through the trigger to understand what they actually wanted me to do, which is what I’m doing these days, sharing not just the problems but also what I learn from the problems. It’s not about me splashing my triggered crap everywhere, it’s about me recognizing what the problem is and what I need to be, do, or become in order to solve it. It’s about me living my life in such a way that I can use my own experiences to help others, which is far different than me just splashing my triggered crazy everywhere. Less dear diary, more useful information for others.

While doing all that, I get to write, enjoy my life, help others, and be supported in doing all of it in my own way without all the rules I used to follow. That’s where I am now. It’s really cool and a lot of fun, but I had a lot of work to do to get here. I had a lot of pain to release, a lot of crazy ideas to change, and a lot of healing to do. But as I started writing and sharing and doing all this, it got easier and easier and easier. Now, honestly, I wouldn’t know what to do if I wasn’t doing this. My old life seems a million miles away already. It hasn’t really been that long.

That’s what I want for you. I want you to realize that you can have this kind of life, that it doesn’t have to be hard, that the pain is mostly self-created and unnecessary, and that it gets to be easy. The way we do that is by changing our perception of what’s happening so that we can take the trigger and the victimization out of it. By doing that, the ego stays out of it, there’s nothing to defend or protect, and then you get to be okay regardless of what’s happening around you.

Life is magical when you stop focusing on all the things that could go wrong.

Love to all.

Laura

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