Are We Our Thoughts?
I often find myself in a perpetual state of overthinking. I overthink to the point of placing too much importance on the words I speak, the actions I take, and the thoughts crossing my mind. I think and allow my mind to take over leaving my heart and body muted. My thoughts become self-centered and erratic because ironically, when my mind takes over nothing makes sense. I become hyper-focused and the beauty, the joy, the love that exists within me are forgotten and destructive emotions are often triggered by the overthinking. Does any of this sound familiar? Do you ever overthink something someone has said or not said to the point of getting yourself upset for no reason? I know I have.
As much as overthinking can trigger destructive emotions, so can simply walking out your front door. As human beings, we are easily pulled off-center, become ungrounded, and feel terrible for thinking and acting in a way that goes against our belief system. Here’s a great example of how a quick reaction to something can pull us out of our true selves. The other day I was out for a run in my neighborhood. As I went to turn right at the end of the street an SUV made an extremely wide lift turn into me. The driver did not see me, and I was forced to jump out of the way. As I jumped out of the way I yelled, “asshole.” Immediately, after I yelled at him, I felt compassion for him. Yes, his car would have hit me as I ran if I didn’t jump out of the way, but I still felt compassion. I clearly didn’t know what was going on with him in that moment. He could have been upset or sad about something which occurred during his day. My point is, my default emotion is typically not anger, a car aimed at me while running triggered anger. This is an indication to me that I need more practice around not allowing destructive emotions to be so easily triggered. The emotion I felt and my reaction to unconsciously yell were not in alignment with my heart.
We create stress and anxiety when we live in our minds and react to our environments rather than living from our hearts. The stress and the misguided reactions move us away from our authentic selves and bring us away from our heart center which in turn inflicts pain and suffering upon us. Fortunately, we are not our thoughts or our reactions. Our mental health is sacrificed when we do not possess the awareness or in the moment forget to realize, we are separate from our thoughts. Our thoughts cause our suffering and when we learn to detach from our thoughts our suffering is minimized. We cannot detach from our emotions in the same manner in which we can detach from our thoughts because our existence is based on our emotions. In order to protect ourselves and one another from pain and suffering, we need to remember that we may not have an infinite amount of time on this planet, but we do have an infinite amount of love in our hearts.
When we accept anger, hatred, fear, or any other emotions that lead to destructive behavior, we immediately negatively impact our well-being and the well-being of those around us. If we allow our thoughts to control our existence, we become lost, and the essence of our humanity slowly disappears. I write this knowing first-hand what it feels like to disappear. To slowly dissolve into nothing and experience the physical pain that comes with it. This is anxiety and all the physical ailments that accompany the mental suffering. The digestive issues, brain fog, headaches, loss of appetite, and mysterious physical pain are all symptoms of anxiety. They allow the mind and the body to truly believe you are sick. I suffered from years of anxiety and severe panic attacks as my mind and body believed I was ill. Thankfully, my heart was aware and knew a different truth. As my mind continued a destructive thought process and my body reacted to the destruction, my heart was intact and full of love, compassion, and kindness. Unfortunately, these positive emotions were not directed toward me. The love, kindness, and compassion I felt were for my children, my family, and friends. At this point, all I had for myself was self-loathing and disappointment.
My anxiety brought me to the emergency department several times. Doctors ran all sorts of tests and found nothing physically wrong with me. Although I was clearly in physical pain, they did nothing to try to determine what could be causing a relatively healthy woman so much pain and suffering. No one wanted to help me unpack my pain. No one saw how deeply I was suffering and certainly, no one wanted to say out loud that my pain was caused by my anxiety.
Thankfully, the love I felt toward my family and friends and the love they returned to me, provided me with enough positive emotions (kindness, compassion, joy, peace) to come out of my thoughts and build an awareness of what was happening to me.
Overcoming anxiety is a lifelong practice. Building the awareness of self and those around me is practice. Learning to separate myself from my thoughts and not reacting to them is practice. These are practices I will continue to engage in as long as I walk/ run this planet. I know how hard it is to fight off the depression that comes from believing there is no way out. My mind had me believing a false reality and my body accepted it.
If there is one thing I’d love for you to take from my words, it is you are not your thoughts. You are pure love. Not the cheesy romantic version created within the pages of a romance novel or by the writers of the multitude of love stories displayed on the big screen. Rather, love that gives you the ability to feel compassion for yourself and others. A love that illuminates, comes from the cosmos, and lives within you. It is an energy not to be directed toward others for the sake of personal pleasure and selfish needs which so often leads to suffering. Pure love eliminates suffering and uplifts you and those around you. When you can access the love you carry innately inside you, you are able to live from your heart knowing you are capable of handling the challenges you face in your day-to-day life and even the greater struggles that may emerge with ease and peace rather than stress and anxiety. Walk knowing you are whole from love and powerful from compassion. You are these uplifting emotions; you are love and kindness. You are not the maddening thoughts swirling through your mind. This awareness has allowed me to heal and live fulfilled with joy. Each of you deserves to know this joy. And if you have not broken free from your thoughts yet, I hope you will someday soon.
May the pure love from within you surround you and guide you always!
LA, PA, KA, TS, MW, MC, and WA – I feel and know the power of pure love and compassion because you believed in me when I was lost. My heart reflects back to you the light and love you continue to share with me. I am grateful.