I wanted to share an experience I had this week that shows how brains work.
My husband had arthroscopic hip surgery at the beginning of the week. After trying everything to help but surgery, it became clear that surgery was the best option. We drove 3 hours to Portland for the procedure because if you want the specialist whose done thousands of them, you’ll drive wherever you need to have the best.
As I often teach my clients, you’ve got to learn to watch your mind. If you don’t, it will run amuck like a two year old child and throw tantrums in the middle of the grocery store.
Even before the surgery I knew I was nervous. I knew this because as a person who mostly sleeps soundly through the night, I wasn’t.
These are the words that went through my head. “What if we have issues driving to and from Portland”. “What if we get into an accident”. “What if my husband (whose very active and doesn’t like to sit) goes stir crazy after surgery.”
What if, What if, What if!
Then on surgery day after he’d been all prepped, I said I love you and I’ll see you in a couple of hours and walked away, all sorts of other words came into my mind. “What if he doesn’t wake up”, “What if he’s really nauseous and vomits on our drive home”, “What if he’s in a lot of pain”.
What if, What if, What if!
It’s a really fascinating thing to watch the words that pass through your mind. Notice I’ve said that a few times, the words that pass through your mind…
That’s what’s happening all day long. Words pass through. We call them thoughts because that’s what they are, but they are just words strung together.
And we give those words meaning. If I look at what I said above when I wondered, “What if he doesn’t wake up?”, all of a sudden, now I’m a widow. Then I have to think about how my life will be different. How am I going to navigate everything without him. Whose going to lift the heavy things around the house? Whose going to fix things that get broken? How completely devastated am I going to be? Will I go into a deep depression? Will I want to stay in our house? Will I want to move to another state?…
See, more words come up. SO many words.
The thing about those words that cross through your mind.
You determine what meaning they have.
You determine if you’re going to react to them.
You determine if you’re going to be stressed by them.
You decide how much attention they get.
Did you know, you don’t have to believe a single word that moves through your mind. You don’t.
I did a lot of mind watching before and after my husband’s surgery.
It may not seem like it from what I said above, but mostly I was calm.
The words passed through like clouds floating in the sky. I watched them and noticed my reaction to them.
His surgery was faster than expected. He wasn’t in a lot of pain. He wasn’t nauseous. The drive to and from home was super easy with very little traffic.
Those words that ran through my head… they were just words.
Words are going to continue to run through your mind all day long.
It’s your choice to believe them, or not.
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Image by Pixabay, with permission.