minding my own mind

Fred napping on the stairs

           Fred napping on the stairs

I attended a family function recently. Those are always the best situations for bringing out any unresolved issues that I’ve been hiding away, hoping not to deal with ever again. Several days after this particular event, I was imagining someone in my family criticizing me for something that I did, and I began to defend myself, actually building a case in my mind for why I wasn’t wrong and in fact why he was the one who was off base.

I worked myself into quite a frenzy until I realized what I was doing. I knew that if I continued on with this mindset, I’d end up in a conflict with either this person or someone else, but I noticed this time that I was quite pleased with the defense that I had constructed, and a part of me didn’t want to drop it.

I wanted to be right and I wanted to prove him wrong by my clever and deeply insightful reasoning. I wanted to shut him up, even though I was the one who had created the conflict and his hurtful words, in my mind. I could just as easily have imagined him saying kind and loving words to me…. or could I? Because it really wasn’t him saying anything, it was my own critical voice.

I’m the one who didn’t approve of me. I’m the one who was internally fighting, but didn’t want to look at it. So could I really have imagined those kind and loving words being said about me? Apparently not.

When I finally became aware of what I was doing, I went from feeling “justified anger” to feeling free as I let him off the hook and myself too. I also saw that critical self-talk was still going on within me. There was no one to fight on the outside, it was (and always is) happening within. When I am thinking kind and loving thoughts about myself there is no conflict with anyone. I notice that when I think someone is displeased with me, I need look no further than my own mind. All answers are within.

“Defense is the first act of war.” Byron Katie

13 thoughts on “minding my own mind

  1. Thank you, Mary. I needed this message as I prepare for my mother’s funeral and being with the family of origin….

  2. Dear Mary, such truthful words! Within ourselves, we can create complete havoc……or we can create complete peace. It never ceases to amaze me how busy my mind can get with story telling……blowing something out of proportion, creating fantasies about awful things happening, and before I know it I’ve worked myself into a complete tizzy. And on the other hand, my mind can be calmed, quieted and guided towards the light of love and peace. It’s my choice. It takes a powerful will at times, but creating inner peace is the only way. Thanks for the reminder today. I really needed to hear this!!

  3. “When I think kind and loving thoughts about me” — I think I’m on Step 1 of that program. My faults and flaws always seem to elbow their way to the front of my mind and crowd out what is or might be positive. Mary, thank you for the reminder that this is an important process — tough though it is — in our understanding of ourselves and others. And I love the photo of Fred. Cats are comfortable anywhere — I do envy them!

  4. Good heavens, Mary, as I’ve said before, I don’t know where these insights come from with you but I can remember years ago, being in a difficult step-parenting situation and going to bed at night fighting battles in my head in which I always felt the victim. And that wasn’t far from the reality of being a stepmother to two emotionally difficult kids. It was a very complicated time in my life and I don’t know why I did this but it made me feel better to go over and over it in my head. What a waste of time…I wonder if we all don’t have scenarios playing in our heads at times.
    SandyP

  5. Dear Mary, Thank you for your amazing message for today. I am constantly doing this. A course it doesn’t help that my brother lives down the street from me and I live in a small town. So thank you for that reminder. May we all remember how Christ sees us as his wonderful, beautiful daughter who He loves so much and He is this very proud father! Okay so we will stop the chatter and just remember we are amazing!

  6. Okay, dear, Mary,
    Now
    I do know.
    Your mind met my mind
    And off they did go.
    They romped
    And they roiled
    Created pure fiction.
    Blood pressure rose
    Road rash
    From the friction.
    And then…..when I
    Stopped in my tracks
    Applauded the insight
    Your post so timely
    So loving and
    So right.

    • Oh Dear, Cheryl b, I am smiling from ear to ear. What a perfect verse, so perfectly capturing Mary’s posting. Others comments are touching my heart and mind, believe me, I’m guilty for doing just what Mary describes…and as is said here, we do have a choice of directing our minds. Why didn’t I think of that years ago, Man, can I get my head in a tizzy over some things.
      SandyP in Canada

  7. Another great message today Mary, it’s comforting to know others struggle with the same issues and always good to look at a way to better deal with them. I like Sandy P’s calling this “fighting battles in my head” as I think that is a perfect description of what this is. I don’t do this nearly as much as I used to (thank (God) but your post today was a perfect reminder NOT to.
    Wishing all a wonderful day!

  8. I’m am always amazed that your messages are so timely. Just what I needed to hear today. Thank you!

  9. “Because it really wasn’t him saying anything, it was my own critical voice.”
    Oh, confronting The Voice. What a wonderful reminder to see it for what it is, and beautifully honest post, Thank you for it, Mary.

  10. I guess I’d like go have one more go at this, Mary. Is it fair to ask why we humans do this sort of thing, running these negative scenarios in our minds. I look back on much of what has hurt me in the past and realize that I was placing myself in the position of being a victim; of feeling sorry for myself. If I was angry with someone, I’d tell them off in my head. That way I always won. I was the hero in my head. But why in the heck do we do this?
    SandyP

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