What does it mean to “question your thoughts”?
Relationships can be incredibly challenging. When you keep bumping up against the same frustrations and places of hurt, you may have heard it’s valuable to “question your thoughts”, but what does this actually mean?
When I’m questioning my thoughts, I’m interested in two key areas: the truth of a thought, and the cost of a thought.
1 – Truth Test
Let’s say my thought is “He doesn’t care about me”. At first, it seems like a fact – but I want to give myself the chance to test whether it’s an accurate statement because this perspective is bringing me disappointment and disconnection. With an open mind, I ask myself:
- Am I sure?
- Is this the only interpretation?
- Would everyone else agree with me?
It’s as if I’ve just gulped down a vial of the finest truth serum and I can only hold onto what’s undeniably and entirely true – no slant, no exaggeration.
Maybe, after looking with curiosity rather than defence, I still feel certain that it’s an accurate statement.
Perhaps I notice doubt – I’m no longer sure it’s an accurate statement.
Or maybe I see that the statement is not accurate.
There’s no right or wrong answer; I’m just interested in discovering the truth.
2 – Cost Assessment
Whether my thought is 100% true or not, I then look at what this thought costs me. Again, with curiosity rather than justification or self-blame, I consider:
- Who do I become when I believe this thought?
- How do I act? What do I do? If a camera were on me, catching even the most subtle of movements, what would it notice about my facial expressions and body language? Do I leave the conversation, do I leave the room?
- How do I speak to myself? What do I say to the other person?
- What’s the impact on me physically? What do I feel in my body?
- What do I miss out on?
I take my time with this, watching in my mind’s eye to honestly assess the cost and impact of this thought.
Why it’s valuable to question your thoughts
In any moment, with any person, there’s what’s happening (I call this The Scene) and then there are our thoughts about what’s happening (I call this The Soundtrack).
Sometimes, it’s impossible to change what’s happening – after all, we’re dealing with their words, their actions, circumstances outside of our control – but it’s always possible to question our thoughts about what’s happening.
We can become clearer about reality; we can become aware of what stress The Soundtrack is loading onto our experience.
We’re in our power when we focus on The Soundtrack, rather than trying (fruitlessly) to change what’s happening in The Scene – and from there, peace and freedom become possible.
If you’d love support with questioning your thoughts, find out more here.