Tuesday, 13 October 2020

Battlefield of the mind - dealing with should statements

Last week I discovered another mind trap that has kept me stuck in a self-defeating mindset as a result of thinking "I should or I should not".

I have since recognised that these should thoughts are arbitrary standards that I have set to unnecessarily criticise myself, others or the world. Some examples of this type of thoughts are as follows;

"I should have seen that coming."

"I should have done that differently."

"I shouldn't feel this way."

"He should treat me with more respect."

I have been most guilty of criticising myself particularly when trying to speak about my feelings.  When asked how I feel I often respond with a simple "fine" or "good" because my default thinking and looped script tells me "I shouldn't feel". As far back as I can remember, I have tried to be invisible to others by being good and as a result have tucked away and numbed my emotions to the degree that it has become difficult to regulate and express genuine positive emotions. 

Negative emotions on the other hand, have been easily expressed and poorly regulated. Emotions like, irritability, anger, jealousy; emotions that have trapped me in sarcastic, criticising or judging behaviors with myself and others. As a result of these scripts I have come to many dead ends. Thankfully, once I become aware of a dead end, I am quicker to make a U-turn which allows me to break the old default thinking pattern.

I know it will take time and practice/discipline however, by living in the present rather than in my head I can more easily name the emotion - validate it - release it and let go; moving on to what's next.

Finally, I am beginning to personally grasp what the bible says about renewing your mind.

And so, dear brothers and sisters,[a] I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.[b] Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:1-2.

Prayer: May God bless you with wisdom and clear discernment to choose loving behaviors. In Jesus' name. Amen

Sources: Cognitive distortions - when your brain lies to you ; bible and life experience.

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