I have recently come to see that mindset is pretty much everything. That the set of beliefs we hold about the world determine the choices we make and our overall wellbeing. If we believe people are good and loyal we trust them and are not tortured by the possibility that they may betray us. And if they do end up betraying us, we deal with it then. There is a huge portion of the personal development industry that focuses on changing mindset.
These approaches tend to be cognitive in nature.
I think they have tremendous value. Examining our cognitive processing is a crucial aspect of self-awareness and development.
But what is not acknowledged by these approaches is that the ability to change our mindset is not entirely in our control. There is much going on in us of which we are unaware. We breathe when we are asleep. We digest without conscious effort. Our heart beats. We dream.
The body is always changing. And thus we are always changing. What we do cognitively, emotionally, physically impacts the way these changes happen.
We can’t change ourselves with brute force. Think of what happens to the body when we try to change it with brute force.
We can only listen to ourselves - to the language we choose, to our feelings, to our physical sensations. We can only listen with curiosity and compassion. And when we do this. Over time. Listening, attuning, often bringing someone else in to listen and attune… we make shifts.
And we are not in control of what shifts we make. Our relationship with ourselves is a relationship. With all that entails.
It turns out that mindset is not a strictly cognitive process that can be changed with exposure to a new idea. In fact, mindset is embodied. So while mindset is everything, all the positive thinking in the world only has an impact if that positive thinking is exploratory and kind rather than dominating and rude. (By that I mean rude to ourselves). There are parts of us that don’t think life is so hot and those parts need to be attended to. That’s how we grow.
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