Where do thoughts come from? As we live and experience life, we are aware of what’s happening around us. As we make sense of our world we give our experiences meaning, and these knowings and understandings are the source of our thoughts.
When clients in hypnosis recall experiences as a pre-verbal, unborn baby, they can tell you what they were thinking. At that stage they are all senses, they are aware of what is being said, or not said, around them and will give it meaning. For example client Derek recalled in hypnosis that he was ignored in the womb as if he didn’t exist. He felt unwanted. When he told his mother, she was shocked as it was true. There was something she had never told him. She didn’t know she was pregnant with him, until she went into labour! Derek’s interpretation as an unborn baby had made him feel unloveable all his life, always expecting to be rejected. Armed with the truth, and knowing how loved he had been since birth, he was finally able to accept himself as loveable.
Experiences can have varying alternative interpretations, but it is our responsibility to decide and choose our beliefs and opinions, rather than blindly or obediently accept those of others. We cannot be independent and in control of our lives if our thoughts are not our own. So we must take responsibility for our thoughts (which become our beliefs) and ensure they are evidence based. Our beliefs are ours to make, but also ours to change, if we discover new information that justifies it.
Why is this important? Because most of us do like to feel ‘in control of our lives’, and yet there is very little outside of ourselves, external things, that we can control. We can’t control the weather, the traffic, whether we get a spot on our face before an important event, what other people might say or do etc. There is however just one thing that we can totally control and that is our thinking. We are meant to be the chooser of our own thoughts. If we control that, we have a phenomenal amount of control over our external events and lives.
This is how it works. Every thought that we have causes a matching emotion, which leads to a related action or behaviour, that dictates the events in our lives. Negative thoughts cause things to wither and die. Positive thoughts cause things to grow, thrive and live.
What you think about comes about. We get to choose our thoughts, but you cannot control their consequences. Results will be a vibrational match to your thoughts. When you think you are good enough to get the job, you will give a confident performance in the interview. You like the job, they will like you back. You are a match to getting the job. Any negative thoughts that focus on a fear of not getting what you want, create an emotion in you that is not a vibrational match to what you want. You must think about what you want, what you’re choosing, what you love.
We have about 60,000 thoughts a day, mostly the same ones. They are made up of consciously chosen thoughts, and those generated by subconscious programs/beliefs imprinted by your own perceptions from past experiences. There is also the potential for thoughts to be generated by subconscious beliefs imprinted by external sources, that you did not consciously choose.
If we don’t consciously choose our thoughts and beliefs, and carefully vet all incoming information before letting it in/ accepting it as true, it’s as if we didn’t get any antivirus software, and we leave our mind open to programming by external influences. If we don’t take responsibility for thinking for ourselves, thinking critically, we may find that we hold beliefs that slipped under the radar, without having consciously chosen them.
A colleague was asked her opinion about a well known personality that had been in the news recently and her response was that she strongly disapproved of them. She was surprised at her strength of feeling as that was not like her and she didn’t really know anything about them. She realised that she had been subliminally programmed by the news items she had heard. When she took the trouble to find out more, she actually rather liked them.
There are many such societal external influences such as TV, Radio, Movies, Books, Computer Games, Social Media, Song lyrics, History, Science etc, and of course Advertising, which openly has that intention. As you watch the flickering TV screen, you enter a trace state and the enticing words, music and imagery of the advert creates in you the thought that your life will not be complete without that very item.
All forms of information embrace beliefs and philosophies. TV, Movies and Computer Games are amongst the most powerful at influencing our thoughts because they use imagery which our minds are very responsive to in terms of learning.
An example of the power of imagery was an experiment in which participants were shown photos of themselves in various places, and in some cases it was faked and they had never actually been there. On questioning later, many were convinced they remembered being in the faked situations.
Another source of thoughts we may unwittingly accept as our own, are the things said to us by significant others such as family, partners and teachers. If you let in negative or critical comments, they can become limiting beliefs of your own that hold you back. Comments such as ‘Nobody in our family will ever be rich’, ‘Money doesn’t grow on trees’, ‘You can’t have that, it’s too expensive’, can limit someone’s beliefs about their earning capacity.
Have you ever started to sing a popular song, and then you switch the radio on and the same song is playing. Just as the radio could receive that transmission, so can your brain.
An empathic person can also be picking up the feelings/thoughts of the person next to them in the lift. If you suddenly feel sad for no reason, maybe it’s someone’s else’s thought and not yours.
A particular risk of leaving yourself open to accepting others’ thoughts and beliefs without doing due diligence and checking out their validity, is when the information offered is fearful. If the statements that are shared with you in a personal relationship or by an authority or institution, cause you to feel increasingly fearful, you are vulnerable to manipulation. When you are in fear, your ability to think logically is impaired and you are more likely to comply with any controlling demands that promise to keep you protected and safe. However, giving away your freedom in exchange for security is a poor deal, because now you are enslaved.
Not all thoughts are your own as you are always subject to subliminal programming from the environment you are exposed to. So it important to be conscious of your thoughts and reject those that are not acceptable to you, or are not in alignment with your intentions.
You cannot be in control of your own life if you are not in control of your thoughts. You are intended to be in control of and choosing your thoughts. You are able to reject or accept any thoughts that arise.
Taking back control of your thoughts requires conscious awareness of your thoughts and knowing that you can choose a better thought, feel a better feeling, do a better action and live a better life. You might not yet believe it can be done, but what is really impossible is stopping an unwanted thought. It’s easier to create a new better thought to replace it. It can feel impossible at first, but you can do it if you persevere – you will be glad you did.
If you struggle to choose self-empowering thoughts, it may be that you are in a similar situation to Derek. He wanted to know why he could easily find loving girlfriends, but always got the feeling that they were going to reject him, and so he would end the relationship before they did. He didn’t know what better thought he needed. Using hypnosis he learnt that he had a limiting belief that he was not loveable. Changing that, changed everything and he was able to find a loving enduring relationship..
“The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation, but your thoughts about it. Be aware of the thoughts you are thinking.” Eckhart Tolle