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What Are You Thinking?

At the Hollywood Sign
Bobbi Sizemore

I wrote this piece back in April 2018 for an online magazine. I thought you m read it; you can learn more about me and my personal experience changing my habitual thinking. I hope it helps you.

I was asked an interesting question last night that got me thinking. You see, I am a pretty quiet person. I have a small circle of really close people, others who are good friends, and tons of friendly acquaintances. When I first meet people, I can be reserved, sometimes taken as shyness or disinterest. It’s not either; I take a little longer to feel comfortable and open up.

My Facebook profile shows me that I’m outgoing and always doing something. Someone who only knows me from school recently became my friend on Facebook. When he saw my profile, it didn’t jive with the quiet student who kept to herself, more interested in earning excellent grades and extra credit than socializing. Last night he asked me, “Which one are you?” Isn’t that an interesting question?

We all wear many hats. We have work personas, school personas, sports personas, relationships, and so on. This is normal and necessary to function in society. It wouldn’t be very beneficial to show up at your job as a bank teller dressed in your basketball uniform and bouncing a ball behind the teller window. Life situations call for different behaviors. The challenge comes in when we take our thoughts, emotions, and feelings about ourselves as fact. If we hold contradictory thoughts, forward movement is complicated.

I attended a very in-depth and lengthy clinical hypnotherapy program at HMI College. Learning how the mind works, why we do what we do, and the modalities most effective for changing behavior.

One of my instructors is a highly regarded and well-known Master NLP trainer, Joe Tabb. NLP is an acronym for neurolinguistic programming, a study of how the mind processes information through the seven sensory points and techniques to alter behavior for a more desirable outcome. My professor is also an expert in a method for releasing toxic emotions.

In one of our class sessions, the instructor, Joe, needed a volunteer to demonstrate the emotional release technique. I had answered a question earlier in the class, so he chose me as the volunteer. Wow, what happened next was so unexpected and, frankly, life-changing. Through the process, I realized that I was letting thoughts that didn’t originate from my thinking control my outcomes. Changing the sound and feelings associated with those unhelpful guests in my head into something comical and meaningless allowed me to let them go finally.

The technique entails pulling up the unhelpful emotion, recognizing where it’s coming from, where you feel it, and what gives it a voice. This is repeated repeatedly until the feeling and emotion lose their power.

We are not our thoughts. Thoughts and emotions are our guests; we are the host. We can accept them, welcome them, give them power and control…or not. We are the host. We are not our thoughts.

When guests stay too long, one option is to make them feel uncomfortable or uneasy. Drop subtle hints and hope they get the message. This may work with guests in your home, but not so much with the pesky guests in your head. The guests in your head need to be disrupted and made uncomfortable and unwelcome. You can’t be successful at something if you carry opposing ideas.

For example, Let’s say you want to go to the store. You get in your car, start it, put it in reverse and begin backing out of your driveway. Once in the street, you want to go left, and you want to the right. What happens? Nothing. You can’t move in two directions at the same time. It doesn’t work.

That’s what I was doing in a particular area of my life. It was like I was backing out of my driveway and trying to head to the Target store on La Cienega and the one on Santa Monica Blvd. simultaneously! Harboring conflicting thoughts about what I said I wanted and what I thought I deserved had me spinning my wheels. And I believed the ideas I was feeling were me when they were just random things passing through the conscious mind that I had given power. They didn’t even originate with me.

It is impossible to achieve a goal if you hold opposing thoughts about it. It is impossible to feel confident and happy when you keep entertaining the guest in your head that says you’re ugly and unlovable. It is i.m.p.o.s.s.i.b.l.e.

Some of these guests have been staying with you so long that it seems like they are you. That’s their power just because you have believed something about yourself since you w

Ere a child does not make it accurate. So, what do you do about it?

A simple technique that you can do on your own is this:

  1. Remember that you are not your thoughts/emotions. They are guests passing through. If you don’t like them, you are the host, don’t invite them to stay. (It helps to keep a handwritten notebook of the process. You will be amazed at how silly some thoughts seem when written and how quickly you can see improvement.)

  2. Question any negative thoughts about yourself. Ask: Is This True? Where did this idea come from? Please write it down in your notebook.

  3. Question any fears. Ask: Is This Something That MIGHT Happen in the Future? Or is it a fact? (A natural, can-be-proven point.) If it is a thought or statement that includes the words; may, might, if, what if, etc., it is fear, and, odds are, there is an excellent chance that it will never happen. The fear-based thoughts are tricky; they can mislead you into believing you’re being proactive. You’re not. You are giving focus, power, and possibility to the thing you want least actually happening.

  4. Choose a better thought. Please write it down in your notebook. Happiness is a state of mind that you must keep choosing repeatedly; soon, it will become a habit, and resistance and elimination of negative thoughts and stinking thinking will be much easier to disempower.

  5. Practice, practice, practice. Be unreasonably happy. Surround yourself with things that feel good to you, and don’t be afraid to say no to people and things that don’t feel right. Negative thinking is often a lifelong habit, and habits can be broken. Don’t be afraid to say YES to something you want to try! Please focus on the things you want in your life, and when fear, doubt, or those voices in your head start acting up, evict them. You don’t serve guests who only show up to tear you down, destroying your life and chances of happiness. Even rock stars get evicted from a hotel when they create havoc; google Keith Moon.

Let me know if you have any questions or want to learn more. Bobbi

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