We are all what we’ve chosen to make ourselves.
Please discuss. How does this play out in life?
I’ll start us out. Most of us have experienced at least one trauma or tragedy. We’ve weathered difficult times that have left their marks on us. Pain, loss, danger, lack, and illness all can result in injured psyches. These emotional and mental wounds live on with us into the future, affecting our thoughts, behaviors, and interactions.
We certainly didn’t consciously elect to bring misery into our lives. Who would choose that? Yet, these scars often pattern us, leading us to unconsciously recreate scenarios to repeat our characteristic issues.
We may have consciously or not labeled ourselves—victim, survivor of disease or abuse, alcoholic/addict, widow/widower, wounded one, failure. All these self-definitions may have been accurate in the past, but they do not need to circumscribe our lives now or in the future. We don’t want to deny the difficult things we’ve experienced or bury our feelings around them. They happened and we need to accept and deal with them. However, we also don’t need to allow them to blight the rest of our lives. We have a choice about our self-narrative, now and going forward.
Today’s message reminds me that in every moment I can choose how I define myself and my life. When I identify less with my past difficulties, they are less likely to repeat, leaving more room for fresh and more fulfilling life experiences. In order not to recreate the past, I need to let it go. Paying attention to my thoughts can alert me that I’m stuck in a painful, self-fulfilling loop. ” I always/never [fill in the blank].” “[Fill in the blank] isn’t fair.” “He/she/they always/never [fill in the blank].” “[Fill in the blank] always happens to me.” When I catch myself in this type of mental pattern, I can let the old thought go and choose a new one more in line with how I want my life to be. I can define myself in any moment as I choose by curating my thoughts.
How about you? How do you deal with recurrent painful thoughts?