Obsessive thoughts can cause you to spiral into a state of negativity.
Here is how it happens for me. My commute into Boulder, CO with the mountains as a backdrop starts as a peaceful experience. Then someone decides to pass me, swerving into the oncoming traffic lane, only to get to the stoplight at the same time.
What a freak, I think. Why did they feel the need to do that to me?
Then, I end up behind the slowest person in the world. This person decides to brake every chance they get and I rant to myself, why are they messing with me? What did I do?
Before my lunch date, I check my email and see I have several messages from my manager. Your expense report was returned because you did not enter your dates correctly, the first states.
You are behind quota this month. Let’s see what we can do to bring you up to our standards, the second reads.
My response is, why the hell is he picking on me! I work my ass off and get no positive feedback. He just wants me to quit!
At lunch, my friend continues to tell me about her girls trip she is planning, the concert she went to with a mutual friend, and the party she had for her daughter last month. I went into wounded mode wondering why she is leaving me out of her things. We must not be that close, I think. I must have done something to piss her off.
At home I am greeted by a crying daughter. She tells me her friendship with her best friend is over. Why? I ask. She relays her friend isn’t replying to her texts. I suggest her friend may be busy or had her phone taken away and remind her not to take things personally.
A light bulb switches on in my brain.
Why was I making everything about me?
The guy didn’t swerve around me to piss me off, he passed a car. The slow driver wasn’t holding me up intentionally. If I create my world with my thoughts and perceptions I am creating a world based on drama and negativity.
This is a common trait. You can say we are wired to experience events from a emotional perspective. From traffic drama to misinterpreting a text we emotionally react based on patterns created in the subconscious.
Scientific studies have shown that there is an area of the brain that responds to arousal, fear, anger, anxiety, hate and jealousy. This area is the amygdala.
The lovely part of the brain that highjacks our emotional perception. Part of the amygdala’s job is to monitor stress responses such as the fight or flight response. The other job is to monitor incoming information and look for a pattern matches.
In addition to this physical phenomenon is a nonphysical part of us that drives behavior based on our subconscious and egoic mind. Welcome the Inner Commentator.
Think of it like a sports commentator. It is the voice inside your head that is giving you a play by play commentary of your life based on subconscious patterns and beliefs.
There are three ways the Inner Commentator keeps you from being happy.
The Inner Commentator will create lies.
The Inner Commentator is sneaky, devious and loves to lie to you. Since it is based on emotional perception it doesn’t reveal reality. For example, when someone gives you a strange look your Inner Commentator may think, they don’t like me. In reality that person may be having a bad day. If you feel this happening to you asked yourself, Is this true? If not, it is your Inner Commentator telling you the story.
The Inner Commentator does not want peace it loves drama.
It does this because it feeds our addictive behaviors. Our Inner Commentator, which is part of our ego, believes our identity lies in our drama. It creates a soap opera feeding off the ups and downs of the characters. It may be bored without the highs and lows. In reality your True Self wants peace. If you hear your Inner Commentator creating a soap opera out of your life ask yourself, do I want peace or drama?
The Inner Commentator loves to obsess!
Obsessing over anything is exhausting. You become a prisoner of your thoughts. The Inner Commentator doesn’t want you to be free. The stories start to have a life of their own and you start to believe the lies based on perception of the Inner Commentator. To break free of the Inner Commentator’s obsession first be aware that is is your Inner Commentator speaking, not you. Then go back to steps one and two and ask yourself, Is this story true? and do I want peace or drama?
Obsessing over anything is exhausting. You become a prisoner of your thoughts. @tracy_martino (Click to Tweet!)
To have peace and happiness in your life it is important to identify the stories your Inner Commentator is telling you. Know that you have the choice to listen to it or not and make the positive changes you wish to make to create your world.
Tracy Martino is the founder and CEO of T.Martino Brands, LLC. She is an executive performance and transformational coach helping individuals reinvent themselves, recover from burnout and optimize personal performance . She is a writer, poet and inspirational speaker. Tracy lives in Boulder, Co with her family. You can follow Tracy at www.tracymartino.com
Image courtesy of Valeria Boltneva.