You can’t control your first thoughts, nor are you responsible for them. What you can control is your response to them and that is where your responsibility lies. Your response is what represents the person that you are.
A thought is defined as ‘an idea or opinion produced by thinking, or occurring suddenly in the mind’. Essentially, this tells us that there are two parts to the way thoughts work in our crazy little heads – often an initial one followed by a response to it. The word ‘suddenly’ in this definition speaks volumes. Suddenly can mean unexpected, unrelated, even unwanted.
I think what is quite scary is the number of individuals who believe they must always have complete control over their brains 100% of the time (and yep, I am included in that bunch). Let’s try and think about this logically for a minute ok… Now, our brains are bloody complex things. I mean, you must think that your brain is your most important organ…but just think about who’s telling you that (conceited little devils they are). They make you walk into rooms and forget why you’re there, they remind you of that awful thing that happened in primary school x number of years ago (that nobody has actually remembered…you’re all good) right before you go to sleep, they make you listen to a new song until you eventually hate it, they make you read signs that tell you not to touch the wet paint and then convince you that you should check if it’s really wet (the sign could be lying)… yep, brains can be complete assholes and it’s completely fair to say that we don’t control every single thing that goes on inside of it. The same goes for your thoughts.
How often has a thought popped into your head and you’ve been like “what. the. fuck” ? Like, you’ve thought of something and been so shocked, maybe even disgusted, with yourself, or been unable to comprehend why that’s entered your head in the first place. This ‘initial thought’ (as we’ll call it) is likely to be influenced by several things – by your experiences in the past, by your environment, by society, even by your instinctive brain (you know, that part of your brain that’s concerned with basic things like survival and mating – for more info on different jobs from parts of your brain, click here, it’s super interesting!). This is ok!! It’s out of your control. Plus… there’s not a lot you can do once it’s happened.
Now onto the more important part – your response. This determines the validity, reasonableness and rationality of your initial thought. Chances are that 9 times out of 10, you’re a decent person and your response may be that of dismissal, anger, disgust, denial, anxiety or sadness along with worry. This shows your character. It shows that you have no reason to worry about thoughts that you cannot control because you have shown the power and logic to reason with it and your true self empowers through it. It may occur sometimes where you have an initial thought about something and you’re confused, you begin to question it. Be patient here and think carefully. It is likely that it is a passing thought that meant nothing; your brain was just checking that primitive part was still in tact!
On a more serious note, intrusive thoughts are slightly different, but not completely. When they happen, it can feel like they are in control of your entire mind and body. Like there’s an evil little monster or devil sitting up there telling you things you don’t want to hear. They can convince you of things that didn’t even happen, make you doubt yourself and make you feel like you’re worst person you know. Sometimes, they can be controlled through talking. I know… something as small as talking. See, by gaining another perspective, it will help with reasoning what’s going on in your head and allow you to view it rationally and clearly.
You are not your thoughts. You are so much more. So go easy on yourself, give yourself a chance and don’t let negative, unwanted thoughts consume you. You are not a bad person. You are a human being. You make mistakes and you learn. You come up with things in your head sometimes, for no reason at all, but you also respond to it in a way that has shaped your personality. Remember that you are capable of using that fantastic brain of yours for so many things, to create beautiful things and to experience the world from a unique point of view. Don’t let a passing thought hold you back from realising happiness. As always, thank you for making the effort to read my ramblings.
*Of course, if you are concerned that your brain isn’t feeling like you think it should, contact your GP and make an appointment – go with somebody if it makes it less scary – because there are so many options to support you; it’s essential to look after your mental health at all times. Below are some links to organisations that may help also. Keep shining, be your own number 1 fan, make yourself happy and show the world what you’re made of. Love always x*
Mind Infoline – 0300 123 3393.