Why do we keep telling ourselves stories that harm our well-being?
Most of us know that words can have the power to destroy our self-confidence. But many of us forget that this also applies to the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves.
Did you ever regret saying something to someone? Did you ever feel sorry for hurting someone you love by saying the wrong thing at the wrong time?
I am sure most of us know these feelings. But what about the pain caused by our own narratives and thoughts?
According to Alan Watts, we simply need to stop thinking. Unfortunately, this sounds far easier than it actually is—but it’s still worth trying.
As you probably already guessed, Watts is talking about the benefits of meditation. He encourages us to seek silence within ourselves.
But how do we achieve this goal?
First of all, we need to create awareness. Let’s ask ourselves, “How often am I arguing with myself? How often am I questioning my thoughts? How often am I hurting myself with my own words?”
In a clip I watched this morning, Watts notes that “most of us think compulsively all the time,” which he describes as “we talk to ourselves.”
And this never-ending conversation with ourselves separates us from what’s actually happening around us.
We often don’t listen to others because we distract ourselves with our thoughts. We keep ourselves up at night by listening to our thoughts. We experience anxiety because of our thoughts.
Imagine you had a friend who keeps bringing up topics that stress you out? Most of us would probably consider avoiding these folks. But isn’t it funny that we are doing exactly that to ourselves?
There are many good reasons to learn how to meditate—and calming our anxiety is definitely one of them.
The more time we spend thinking about our lives, the more we separate ourselves from reality. Our thoughts happen in our heads, but the world is happening outside our heads. And our environment keeps moving on, no matter if we are able to stop our internal chatter or not.
When everything seems to be too much, we tend to feel anxious. Listening to two songs simultaneously is not enjoyable, so why do we assume that talking to ourselves while talking to others isn’t a problem?
There is a difference between mindfulness and overthinking our lives.
To be honest, I also often label my overthinking as mindfulness—but I also feel anxious almost all the time. I would like to say that I meditate every day, but I also have to admit that I often actually just sit on my yoga mat thinking about my life.
Of course, I could keep telling myself the lie that I am super mindful, but that doesn’t help my well-being. I could keep thinking about how to improve my well-being, but there is a good chance of only making things worse.
So, why not listen to someone who knows far more about this? Let’s stop our busy minds for a few moments and listen to the wisdom of Alan Watts.
I hope you enjoy this clip as much as I did. May it be of benefit!