Getting the best of yourself by releasing outgrown beliefs and feelings
In the vast storage system of the mind we can sometimes unwittingly hold on to old belief systems which not only no longer serve us, but can actually be damaging to us in some way. We may also be holding onto things which hurt but that we almost can’t bear to acknowledge.
Checking in with our emotional selves when something causes a prod which feels uncomfortable is a great place to start to unpack these outdated thoughts. Not only can this be cathartic but it can also allow us to know more about what drives us, serves us well and let’s us know where we have a healthy ratio or balance in our automatic thinking.
Learn what drives us
So how do we do this? I’ve used the analogy of drives already, so if we take that a further step logically we can stay with a driving theme and look at the slightly complicated issue of how we store thoughts but in a simple way.
If something is distasteful or painful to us, we can sometimes compartmentalise it and store it away. Many people who experience trauma for example will either feel this quite keenly or almost become numb to it. This is not to say that it has gone away, but rather that we have stored it away. Whilst this is an acceptable course of action if it protects us, even if not done at a conscious level, it means that somewhere in our subconscious we are still holding on to this. Whilst we still hold it, it is having a subtle effect on us in thought, actions or beliefs and can effect us even if we don’t realise it.
Gently explore feelings or thoughts
What I’m about to suggest is a gentle way for these feelings or thoughts to come to the surface in order to be looked at and explored and potentially even dealt with. I’m going to look at these thoughts metaphorically as parked cars, let’s say they are in a car park.
Find something that allows you to start the engine and drive parked thoughts and experiences into conscious thought. This is how we begin to sift through what we can and should deal with. Not forced, just gently emerging through a process which allows flow around healing things in a mulling over way, perhaps through a different lens of an observer.
Sometimes when we do something that involves little thought this can help, almost in a positive mindlessness way rather than mindfulness. I know this sounds odd in a world that raves about the great things that mindfulness brings, and it really does do powerful and good things.
This state I’m talking about is almost a blank canvas in which to present any thoughts which naturally vie for some acknowledgment and gently going with them if you give them the space to present themselves. Sometimes once we have had a thought drive forward for our attention we may want to seek assistance to help us to know what to do with it, such as therapy, or we may be able to reach closure purely by thinking it through in this state of being.
Personally, I paint walls to do this, and before I know it I’ve got the equivalent of the mind valet bringing whatever it is that I need to deal with to the forecourt of my mind (conscious thought) where I can look at and manage it. It also means that I’ve never needed to hire a painter and decorator for my house.
Why not give positive mindlessness a try and see if you can’t resolve any parked issues that may need the space brought about by a lack of thinking to present themselves to you. It can be a great way to clear your head, resolve everything from niggles to big stuff, and generally get a gauge on what your thoughts are by checking in on them.
About the author: To find out more about Caralyn Cox MAPP, please click here.