You’re a little lost.  You’ve been driving around for a while trying to find a way to get back to the main highway.  So far, no luck.  You’re coming up to an intersection that looks promising.  You slow down and start to turn right and you see a sign that says, “Dead End.”  You sigh.  You back up.  You wish you had a GPS with you.

Most road signs are reliable, so we don’t question them.  If they say “Dead End”, we just turn around.  We just find a new way to go.

But our thoughts are not street signs.  Much of the time our thoughts are not reliable.  They often give us bad advice and tell us things that aren’t true.  They can’t be trusted.

Maybe you’re familiar with some of these “thought-signs.”

  • “I’ll never be able to get this done in time.  There’s no way I’m going to finish by Friday.”
  • “If I don’t do a great job on the presentation, I’m going to be fired.  I’ll be out of a job.”
  • “He never really loved me.  I’ll never find someone who really loves me.”
  • “I know I’ll get the job.  The interview went so well!”

Sometimes your thoughts work in teams.  The first one entices you, and then the second one punishes you:

“Go ahead and have that piece of chocolate cake.  You’ve been doing great on your diet.  You deserve a small reward.  Don’t be so rigid.”

(You eat the cake.)

“I can’t believe you ate that cake!!  You have no self-discipline at all.  No wonder you’re so fat.  You’ll never lose weight because you never stick with anything.”

Debbie Hampton, who blogs at says:

“Sadly, many of us live our lives like a ping pong ball – bouncing from thought to thought and shooting up, down, off of the table, and across the room erratically depending on the ideas zipping around in our heads.  It can be exhausting, anxiety-provoking, and maddening. I know. I did it for far too long.

When you realize that your thoughts are not facts – not even close –  life gets a lot easier. You don’t have to believe, get distressed by or act on them. All you have to do is observe them, like a movie. It can even be quite entertaining at times!”

What a wonderful idea — treating your thoughts as entertainment, rather than as the news.   Wear your thoughts loosely, rather than clinging to their every word.  Watch them as you watch a movie or a sitcom.  Look for the humor and enjoy the drama.

You can even change the channel any time you want by paying attention to the real world around you.  Engage with the tactile and sensory world rather than the thought (and feeling) world.

Please don’t try to change your thoughts, because that just gets you more involved with them.  Just observe them. Let them be.  Allow them to do their thing.

Signs can help you find your way around town.  But be skeptical with thoughts.   They can mislead you and get you lost.  Remember to notice what you’re paying attention to!





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