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“My mission in life is not to merely survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, and some humor, and some style.” ~~Maya Angelou
“She believed she could, so she did.” ~~unknown
“You may believe that you are responsible for what you do, but not for what you think. The truth is that you are responsible for what you think because it is only at this level that you can exercise choice. What you do comes from what you think.” ~~Marianne Williamson
I am what I think.
I am a capable, competent, caring, compassionate woman.
Statement #5 is an important cornerstone of the WFS New Life Program. Jean Kirkpatrick, Ph.D., our founder, discovered the thought/action connection through her own journey of recovery. This knowledge allowed her to learn how to adapt and live a full, sober life. Jean then shared this insight with the world by creating Women for Sobriety.
There is a Chinese proverb that states “be careful what direction your toes are pointed in as you will likely get there” and this is also true for our thoughts. Whatever we think about most often, directs our attention and life. Learning to adapt and manage thoughts is empowering and life changing.
Here are six ways by Melanie Greenberg, Ph.D. to be the boss of your brain:
- Listen and Acknowledge: Minds, like people, can relax and let go when they feel heard and understood. Practice gratitude and thank your mind for its contribution.
- Make Peace with Your Mind: You don’t necessarily have to like the thoughts or agree with them; you just can let them be there in the background while you go out and get things done.
- Realize Your Thoughts are Just Thoughts: Our thoughts are passing mental events, influenced by moods, states of hunger, health, hormones etc. They are like mental habits, which can be healthy or unhealthy, and need time to change. Just like a couch potato can’t run a marathon right away, we cannot magically turn off spinning thoughts without repeated practice. Be gentle with yourself.
- Observe Your Own Mind: Mindfulness includes gently bringing your mind back to focus as well as noticing when your mind wanders. Like a good CEO, you begin to know when your mind is checked out or spinning its wheels, guiding it back to center or balance.
- Retrain Your Mind to Rewire Your Brain: Autopilot is not good for emotional functioning or well-being. Over long periods of time, patterns become etched in our minds, cementing rapid response. The good news is that we can rewire our brains from previous fear-based shortcuts into healthy and balanced decision making.
- Practice Self-Compassion: By practicing self-compassion, we can learn new ways of supporting ourselves in our suffering. Rather than criticizing ourselves, we can deliberately seek out inner and outer experiences that bring us joy or comfort; the beauty of nature, creative self-expression or memories of happy times with loved ones.
Being your own CEO, how do you manage your thoughts?
Hi 4C Women,
As I read over the 6 ways to be the boss of my brain, each one is so invaluable and I honestly love the analogy of being the CEO of my thoughts. I believe #5 stood out to me as there was a time when I would be on autopilot, a time when my self-esteem was practically non-existent. My automatic response to many situations and relationships was that if anything went wrong, it was all my fault because I was stupid, inadequate, too needy, overly sensitive and lots of other esteem crushing words/thoughts. What I realized is that I was trying to prove these thoughts to be true before the other person did when, in fact, that was probably the last thing they were thinking. I became good at projecting my thoughts as belonging to others. Alcohol helped cover up those feelings but as we all know, a cover up eventually becomes clearly seen. A cover up is a camouflage that will never heal the pain of feeling unlovable or unworthy. It is a temporary fix for a deep hurt. And for me, my identify was wrapped up in the past. Statement #5 became the building block for me to create my new, truthful identity of who I was in the present. No more inner critic from the past trying to convince me I was wasting my time learning to love myself. I gave my inner critic a name and when he starts to make me question my worth, I turn to my shoulder where he is sitting with a smirk on his face, and depending on what he is trying to falsely whisper in my ear, I tell him to be quiet (truthfully, shut up) or flick him off my shoulder. I have worked darn hard on learning to love myself and no deceiver is going to take that away or have power over me.
I encourage you to practice the 6 ways to become the boss of your thoughts. Love, nurture, praise, be compassionate with yourself as you would a loved one. This will guide you to be who you think and know you are – a 4C woman!
Bonded in knowing I am who I think,