We’ve all been there. You meet someone new and they start talking, you listen – then before you know it they have expressed a strong opinion on a topic that matters to you that contradicts what you believe. And as much as your initial reaction might be anger, after some consideration, you find yourself agreeing with them over yourself.
It’s a difficult experience to admit but we are all guilty of letting someone else share their opinion trump our own. What is worse, is that we are generally unaware that it is happening – hidden away in the unconscious decisions that we make about what we think and how everyday matters. The result is simply becoming more like everyone else – and increasingly, there appears to be nothing inherently wrong with this.
Understanding Acceptance and Rejection
We all want to fit in, also known as social acceptance. And we are all afraid of rejection, also known as social exclusion. We are even taught the phrase “I don’t care what they think, I just want to be me”. While it is an excellent sentiment, how many of us can honestly say that we have made this a reality?
The simple truth is – for the most part we are not being ourselves. Instead we have become socialised in a specific way. We all have values, and are taught to live by them. We all have beliefs, and we believe that they make us justified in many of the things that we do. When most of our values and beliefs are learned from society, it is only natural to think that they will be different to the next person as everyone is unique. But this is not necessarily true.
Deep down we all have similar views on many topics and act accordingly. But how? The answer is in the way that we process things. Often referred to as values, beliefs and attitudes, these ways of thinking are often unconscious and cause us to make decisions without even realising it. These processes are called schemas – a concept that was first introduced by psychiatrist Aaron Beck in the 1960’s – since then scores of studies have provided evidence that schemas exist for nearly everything in our lives, even if they are subconscious.
But one thing has never been properly investigated. The one thing that should matter more than anything else – how we can own our own mind and protect our thoughts and beliefs from outside interference.
What are schemas and how they control your mind
To answer this question it is important to understand what schemas are and why we have them in the first place.
Schemas are unconscious ways of thinking that make decisions for us. They are the rules by which we live our lives, and they can be very convenient. It is only when our schemas go wrong that problems arise – typically with regard to important decisions or by the influence of others.
To make matters worse, even though we may believe that we don’t have schemas for things – in fact most of us do.
How do schemas stop us from being ourselves?
We all have beliefs, values and attitudes that we hold dear to us. These influence almost everything that we do in life, but there is one thing that we are usually not aware of – they can be unconscious.
Schemas are the unconscious rules by which we live our lives. We all have schemas for most aspects of our life including health, relationships and work among others.
However many of your schemas can be unconscious, this means that you are not aware of them and how they influence your thoughts and behaviour – the very people that you are closest to may not even be aware of the schemas that you have!
Because they are unconscious, these schemes are difficult to change. This means that by being unaware of how we think, we narrow our own point-of-view. The beliefs and attitudes that we hold for our own lives can be quite different from those of the people around us.
Schemas are like boxes which we try to fit all the important things into. They are a way for us to make sense out of the world and sometimes they can be quite rigid and narrow minded, even though we may not realise this ourselves.
Here are some of the more common schemas that you might have:
- The un-observant person is helpless.
- The un-observant person is crazy or stupid.
- The un-observant person doesn’t care about me.
- The un-observant person isn’t smart.
- The un-observant person is unreliable.
These are all schema thoughts that people may have, but they are not necessarily true. Often they are based on experience or things that we have been told about ourselves when we were growing up. Un-observance in your adult life could be a choice, not an intrinsic characteristic. It is sometimes a learned behavior based on experience or childhood beliefs.
Un-observance can be unlearned.
It’s up to you! I hope this short article can help you to be more observant and more confident as a person. You don’t have to live in the past if you are learning how to let go of your old ways of thinking.
How to own you own mind in 5 ways
1. Be aware of what you’re thinking about
This is so important to be aware of what you are thinking about as it literally changes your mood and brain chemistry. It’s like being in a bad mood because you are passively thinking about something bad or worrying about something that will most likely never happen, which has an effect on your well being.
For example, if you were just rejected by someone you really thought was “the one” for you, but not anymore because you’re angry at the world. You are now thinking about the things that you think caused this rejection, and you’re feeling down, sad, angry and lonely.
You wish you could control your thoughts. You wish you could turn off the negative thoughts and turn on happy, beautiful, loving thoughts instead.
2. Learn to enjoy the present moment
The feelings you experience in your body when you are worrying about the future or feeling sorry for yourself about a past event are not real. They are just thoughts. They do not reside in your physical body, they exist only in your mind. The senses of sight, hearing, taste, touch and smell cannot detect fears or worries about future events, because they only exist as thoughts. Sometimes it may seem as though these scary thoughts are physically distressing you but that is really impossible because thoughts cannot hurt you physically.
You have the freedom to choose which thoughts you want to pay attention to. If you are believing a thought that is making you feel bad, then simply notice your thought before it causes you to feel bad. This gives you the power of choice over whether or not to think those thoughts. The more you use your ability to choose where your mind goes, the easier it becomes.
3. Practice gratitude
Before you go to bed, think about all the things in your life that you are grateful for and how lucky you really are. Think about how amazing it is that your life is unfolding just as it should and you have everything you need at this particular time.
Change your thoughts to be positive. Instead of “I am stressed out” say “Things are great, I am so lucky”. Instead of “I only get 10 minutes to eat” say “I have a delicious healthy meal”.
Feel the positive effect it has on you physically, emotionally and mentally.
4. Believe you can succeed in anything you do
There is no such thing as failure, only feedback. If something doesn’t go your way then use that as feedback to make sure your next attempt is even better. Use your failures and mistakes to make yourself wiser and stronger, so that next time you will succeed in exactly the way you wanted to.
5. Practice mindfulness meditation everyday for 10 minutes a day.
Regular meditation can help you:
• Be more in touch with your emotions and body.When you meditate on one particular emotion or thought for a period of time it becomes an internal experience that is available to you when you are awake, as well as when you are asleep.
• Develop the ability to be present and experience things fully, especially ones that make you unhappy. The mind can think anything it likes but it can only feel what is actually happening in the moment. Meditation can help you recognise this.
• Strengthen your ability to notice and choose the things you want to think about, which leads to a calmer mind and more peace of mind.
• Improve your self-esteem. When you feel good about yourself you feel less stressed, more relaxed, and happier in general. You become less reactive to situations, more accepting of yourself and others and are more capable of creating the life you desire.
• Realise how precious each moment is. With practice, you’ll develop a sense of peace and contentment in each moment as you experience it. This will free up tremendous energy, time and resources to be focused on what you want in life.
• Develop greater self-understanding. This helps you understand what is driving the emotions and thoughts that are always running through your mind, causing you stress and unhappiness.
• Build a strong sense of inner security. When you feel good about yourself and believe in yourself it is much easier to be confident in what you can achieve in life and to set goals that are empowering rather than limiting.
What are some books about how to own your mind?
Own Your Own Mind – Napoleon Hill
A great read is the book, “Own Your Own Mind.” The book is all about understanding how and why you think the way you do, and why you feel the way you feel. You can use this information to understand why others think and act the way they do too. You determine what your thoughts are by what is happening in your life and by who you are as a person.
This is a great book! It’s easy to understand, and you’ll be able to relate to it after reading it. It will definitely change the way you think about your thoughts.
Master Your Mind – Roger Seip
Master Your Mind is a fantastic self-help book about how to own your mind. The book’s information will help you to understand how to transform your thoughts and feelings. It is a must-read for anyone who desires to change their life.
5 Powerful Minutes – Gregory Harrison, PhD
This is a must read. The book will teach you how to change your thoughts and emotions at the deepest level possible. You can achieve success and attract what you desire in life. It’s a must-read for anyone who wants to live an abundant life that has genuine peace and happiness at its core.
“You control your own mind, your own thoughts.”
You have the power to choose how you think, what you think and how you feel every second of your life. You are where you are right now because of the choices you have made in the past. You can choose to change those thoughts and feelings in the present moment as well. The more that you practice choosing your thoughts, the easier it will become over time.
Do you know what the most important skill is for reaching your goals? It’s not strong willpower, good health, or intelligence. The most important factor in achieving any goal is your ability to think and reason logically.
The good news is that this skill can be learned. So good luck on your journey to mastering your mind through the growth mindset.