Finding the Peace

Thoughts are Not Facts

We all have thoughts that come and go throughout our day.  In fact, 98% of what we thought yesterday we will think today and tomorrow.  Some of those thoughts we may be aware of  however, most of those thoughts may be in the backdrop of our mind and we aren’t even aware that they are playing like a tape recorder over and over.  Yet, our thoughts, impact our mood and our day and what we go out and do in the world. This is especially true if we are not aware that we are listening to our thoughts and taking them on as truth. We may respond as if they are an accurate reflection of reality.

An example of the power of thoughts would be when something happens in our lives that maybe hard to put in the backdrop of life.  We might try, but the event moves to the front and center of our mind, probably through our thoughts.  Thoughts arise. They arrive, and begin to play out.  They become connected, as one thought leads to another thought. Soon you have a whole train of thoughts. And then there is a narrative in our head about the subject matter.  This can become elaborate as the thoughts continue to play out.  And depending on the thoughts, whether they are positive or empathetic to the situation or the other person, or whether they are negative about ourselves or the other person or situation they impact our mood.  It’s possible, because of our thoughts, one day things are seen in a light positive way about the situation and the very next day we find ourselves struggling because we see it exactly the opposite and we are questioning it all over again.  This is because we have listened to the thoughts and bought into the thoughts as truth and reality.

Thoughts are just thoughts.  They are not facts.  Thoughts come and they go.  We don’t have to give thoughts the power to be facts. We don’t have to give thoughts the power to impact our mood.  We can observe the fact that we are having thoughts.  We become the witness to the thoughts.  But we are not the thoughts.  As the observer, we create space between us and the thoughts – between the observer and the thoughts.  It gives us the opportunity to pause and realize, we are not our thoughts and thoughts are merely thoughts, they are not facts.

So spend some time becoming aware of your thoughts.  Just notice that you are having a thought.  Label it as a thought.  No judgment about the thought.  It is a thought.  It comes. It goes.  Witness it.  It can be the backdrop of other things.  But take the power out of the thoughts by becoming aware of the thoughts, what they are, and realizing they are only thoughts. They are not facts.  You could write the thoughts down that you catch and begin a list of your thoughts.  If you have negative thoughts, you might want to begin to notice them so that you can work towards changing those thoughts. Once we become aware of our thoughts, we can then also begin to change our thoughts.  But first, we must become aware of our thoughts and realize, a thought is merely a thought. So for today, become the witness to your thoughts.

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  • Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker
    Licensed Independent Mental Health Practitioner

  • Janie Pfeifer Watson, LICSW, is the founder and director of Wholeness Healing Center, a mental health practice in Grand Island, Nebraska with remote sites in Broken Bow and Kearney. Her expertise encompasses a broad range of areas, including depression, anxiety, attachment and bonding, coaching, couples work, mindfulness, trauma, and grief. She views therapy as an opportunity to learn more about yourself as you step more into being your authentic self. From her perspective this is part of the spiritual journey; on this journey, she serves as a mirror for her clients as they get to know themselves—and, ultimately, to love themselves.


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