I Was Starting To Feel Like A Robot.
After being alive for 22 years so many of my reactions were automatic, as if the result of programming over time. Even my thoughts were automatic.
Someone insults me, I become angry and brood over it. A girl that I think is cute stands near me, I immediately become self conscious. I worry about things I can't control even though I know it does nothing to help, I become anxious.
I would spiral into my thoughts without ever taking a moment to question whether these feelings and thoughts really represented me, or if they were just auto-pilot responses.
Your Brain Wants To Conserve Energy.
Do you ever look out the window on a rainy day? At first the rain goes anywhere, but it quickly starts to form paths and the rest of the water follows down those paths. It's easier to travel where it has already been, it follows the path of least resistance.
Your brain is the same way. If you have encountered a situation before, you're brain will recognize it and go on auto-pilot, reacting the same way it did in the past. It will associate this situation with the situations before it and follow protocol.
*Beep Boop* Attractive member of opposite sex is nearby. Initiate low self-esteem thought pattern. *Beep Boop*
But I was tired of doing what I had always done, I was only getting what I had always got.
"We can not solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them" -Albert Einstein
Seeing Things As They Are.
I wanted out of the endless loops and auto-pilot reactions. I wanted to take control of my life again.
I had to consciously choose to see everything with fresh eyes. I needed to decide at every moment if my thoughts were serving me, or harming me.
"The mind: A beautiful servant, a dangerous master." -OSHO
Many of the qualities that I didn't want were being inflated by these auto-pilot reactions.
Once I started seeing everything for what it was and not allowing these automatic thought patterns take over, I realized that I had not respecting myself.
I was allowing myself to become angry over nothing, to worry about nothing, to feel unworthy over nothing. My automatic reactions were always negative.
I needed to change the way I reacted to things. I needed to interrupt these automatic negative thoughts and replace them with my own, more useful, positive thoughts.
The Interrupt Mantra.
This is a resourceful technique that I have taught to many people with great success.
Once you have identified a negative automatic thought pattern—maybe you get lost in thoughts of being unworthy, angry or depressed—you have to come up with an interrupt mantra that combats it.
If you have problems with anger your interrupt mantra might read something like this: "I am a calm person, I value my happiness over all else and I will not let outside events control me."
When a situation arises that sends you into the auto-pilot response of getting angry, you interrupt those thoughts with your interrupt mantra. Repeat your mantra as many times as you need to until you pull yourself out.
At first the interrupt mantra will just serve as a way to stop yourself from spiraling into your negative thoughts, but after enough practice your new way of thinking will be your brains first reaction. It will be the path most taken, and will thus become the automatic response.
Try creating an interrupt mantra that suits your needs.
A couple examples:
ANGER: "I am a calm person, I value my happiness over all else and I will not let outside events control me."
CONFIDENCE: "Being confident is not the absence of nerves, but carrying on despite them. I am confident that I can handle any situation that comes my way, even if it makes me nervous initially."
ANXIETY: "It is useless to worry about things that I can not control. I am calm and I trust that everything will work out. Even if I worry sometimes, I will not let my worries beat me."
SADNESS: "I am a strong person. I have been sad before and I have made it out alive. I can't be defeated by sadness and I won't allow it to take over."
These interrupt mantras can be the first step in changing the way you react to the situations you face in life. It will feel a little unnatural to say them at first, you might not believe the words that are coming out of your mouth, but keep repeating them.
Keep interrupting the negative auto-pilot responses and keep reaching towards something better for yourself. You don't deserve to be angry, sad, anxious, lonely, jealous, or anything that you don't want to be.
You can change the way you think, but it won't be easy.
See things the way they are, decide what you want them to be, and use your interrupt mantra to move towards that goal.
The rain on your windowsill doesn't automatically have to be a sad sight. It can be whatever you want it to be.