“ The animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complex than ours, they move finished and complete, gifted with the extension of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear.
They are not brethren; they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendor and travail of the earth.” ~Henry Beston
It’s fascinating to examine where our thoughts come from--it’s particularly curious if you consider how many thoughts zing around in our brains each day.
A cursory search reveals that researchers report typical people can have up to 80,000 thoughts per day--many of them repetitive. A good portion of them are pretty negative too, if the researchers are on point.
Let’s take this one step further: How do we know when our thoughts are ours and when they’re thoughts or beliefs we’ve simply acquired somewhere along the way? How do you discern the difference? And does it matter?
I believe it matters a great deal where our thoughts originate, likely as much as the sources of our food and water count. A contaminated water source will have an effect on us, as will a nasty food source.
Although thoughts remain intangible, they have great power. They are always the precursors to 1) how one feels and 2) how one behaves.
We’re wise to mind our thinking. Do our thought patterns feel big and energizing, or small and diminishing? If a thought feels small, trace the source back. Where did that suggestion come from? Is it true?
This is not to say we won’t have negative thoughts, but peeking underneath those suggestions, and understanding whether they’re facts or beliefs can make a huge difference in our emotional well being every day.
A crappy thought leads to a crappy feeling and usually, crappy action/behavior. Not good.
Just as an experiment, pay attention to your thoughts and how you experience them for a few days. Notice them all, positive and negative alike. Now trace them to their sources and look for verification of them as facts. If there aren’t facts--hard facts--to back those thoughts up, they’re more than likely just passed-along beliefs.
And guess what? You don’t have to support every belief.
Check your sources friends. Always check your sources.
personal development and Equus coach, former Penn State journalism instructor and professional writer.