In order to thrive as human beings, we need to gauge the quality of our inner world, including our thoughts. What are we thinking? Do we have recurring thought patterns? Do we find ourselves in a place where we judge our own thoughts as ‘strange’ or ‘abnormal’?
We all have them: the inner microcosms of thoughts and feelings which are interesting and potentially complicated spaces. For each individual, the inner world is an unseen and mostly subconscious space, immeasurable in breadth and depth.
Quite often this is a very private and potentially lonely inner location. This is where we process information, our behaviour originates from here and our habits and choices flow from this area. What do we do when we experience complicated or challenging thoughts?
The first step is to accept that it is a normal experience to go through discomfort in one’s inner world. When a thought occurs that you deem to be strange or provoking, it does not necessarily mean that there is something wrong. You are human. You are a complicated product of people, places and experiences, woven into a unique tapestry: perfect in its imperfection.
Quite often, people with a well developed religious or moral code experience inner conflict when they think ‘strange thoughts’. Again, this is not abnormal. But you do need to keep watch: do not become your own worst enemy. You are loved, warts and all. Do not reject or judge yourself. Be kind and show yourself grace.
The second step is to decide to guide your thoughts. While many ideas and feelings occur without us choosing them, we do get to direct the general flow to where we allow our minds to go. We can choose light over darkness, love over hate and forgiveness over bitterness.
Consciously choose the desired outcome. Then make the decision. New thoughts and feelings will follow. It may feel tough, but you will reap the rewards. Do not give up when it’s hard or confusing. Nothing that is worth understanding and learning something from, comes without effort.
Be open to growth and beauty and you will find yourself in a place of possible transformation, increased wholeness and fuller gratitude.
The third step is to keep track of your process. This can be done by journaling. You don’t need to write an essay at the end of a long day, but it will help you to identify your state of mind, the direction of your thoughts and your feelings.
How did I feel most of the day? Or at which stages of the day did I feel or think a certain way that was of significance?
Human emotions can be divided into four categories: mad, glad, scared or sad. Write yours down. Revisit days past. Reflect on personal patterns and individual occurrences.
If necessary, show kindness to yourself and your thought world.
In closing, I would like to suggest a confidante. If we get stuck in our inner worlds we may end up feeling indescribably lonely. In those cases we need someone to talk to, a real person who can truly listen and help us gain perspective. More often than not, when we share, we discover (to great relief!) that we are not alone or a freak.
Please, above all, be kind to yourself.