If it is true that our mind and our thinking is a compilation of memories and events that are connected to opinions and emotions, then it would also be true that our thinking is derived from a series of our past which means we can also become a product of our past. If this is true, this would be where our biases come from. This is where our projections and our assumptions come from; moreover, this is where our judgments come from and where our subconscious programs begin.
I write this more as a layman and more as a human than anything else. But more, I write this as a person who has both struggled and studied why people struggle or find themselves in the downgrade of habitual thinking and routine mindsets.
It has been a long time since I was in a classroom setting. Decades have passed since this time. I have changed and improved as a person. I have matured since then. I no longer find myself subject to the same thoughts as I did when I was a young student. I know that I have grown both intellectually and professionally. However, it was not too long ago that I found myself in a series of classes to improve my professional development.
Literally decades later, I found myself in a classroom setting and although nothing was the same, I could see my connection to old assumptions about myself and the experience I was about to face.
I found my thoughts were moving according to an old process of beliefs and assumptions which were all false. I’m certainly not sneaking out of class or smoking in the boy’s room. However, the mind does not forget old patterns of thinking or pathways of thought.
This is the emotional brain at its finest. This is where we connect instances with moments of the past and assume that the two are the same. Therefore, we judge. We diagnose. We suppose. We preemptively behave to create a preventive deterrent. This way, we can feel safe and protected.
The chances of me being treated the way I was when I was a child in the classroom is more than unlikely. However, my relationship with my past and/or my connection to old or default thinking led me back to old challenges of discomfort and rejection. And next, I could see how old thoughts came back. I noticed my old social intimidations and fears returning.
(I use this as an example. However, this is something that is common between us. Not the education. But instead, this is how we find ourselves locked in social or interpersonal intimidations or concerns.)
This is an example of how our thinking can impact the chemistry of our emotions and then suddenly, in my case, I began to take on the social intimidations of my thoughts. I felt the old floods of worry and awkwardness come back as if no time had passed at all.
I began to worry about my performance in the class. Would I be rejected the same way as when I was young? Would I have to prove myself the way I did when I was a teen?
Would I have to act the same way as when I was a kid and thought I was stupid or unworthy?
Or, would I find myself back in my old emotional stutter?
These questions came from my version of self from when I was young. And while I understand this was me; again, I offer this as an example to understand the circuitry of our thinking – or better yet, I offer this as a better summarization of catastrophic thinking at its finest.
For the record:
I was the student who stuttered when reading out loud. I was the student who was shamed in class. I was bullied on more than one occasion. I have memories of teachers who were less than kind and although decades have passed, my mind remembers the scars from my youth. Therefore, there are times I found myself responding to childish fears and irrational concerns. Here is where my thinking errors distracted my learning abilities.
Whether I passed or failed my class, as a grown person, I’m quite sure that no one is going to make me write, “I will not disturb the class” 500 times on the blackboard.
How many times have our assumptions led us astray? Or better yet, how many times have our assumptions brought us to a conditional response?
Yet, there are times when our projections are inaccurate and, therefore, we create a moment in our mind which is based on old data. This has nothing to do with the interpersonal action or the moment at hand. Instead, this is a map of our pathology or the science of our nature.
Our let downs of the past are not predictions of our future. However, they most certainly can be. Not all cases are the same yet we find ourselves locked in a belief system that all two things are alike.
Therefore, we judge and we assume.
We create our personal prejudice or build assumptions about people or their character. This is how the mind works. If this is true and if it’s true that we are a system of circuits and that our thinking is a system of circuitry; then in order for us to clear our thinking, we have to clear our history to unburden our assumptions. Or like a computer, we have to update our systems to keep us from bias.
How many arguments have you had simply because your assumptions went to the worst possible outcome?
How many times have you predicted a person’s response and then found that you were wrong?
And perhaps we are right. Maybe our assumptions are true. However, there are times when we give in and base our day according to the foundation of our opinions.
How many times has this betrayed us?
I am certainly not the young man I was in the classroom. I do not find or see myself as “Learning disabled” anymore or stupid; yet, when I found myself in an old familiar territory, or so-called familiar, my mind went back to an old pathway of thinking.
And yes, this is subjective. However, the relatable part of this is that there are times when our assumptions lead us to irrational or inaccurate behavioral responses. There are times when our responses are habitual and subconscious. Since our mind is always seeking protection, our habitual thoughts are designed to free our surface level of thinking. This way, we can be safe and on our toes if something more complicated should arise. But what if we found out that the threats we face are only imaginary? What if we realized that by changing our cognitive behavioral skills we could live an improved lifestyle?
I learned three things –
One: Don’t do this to yourself.
It’s okay to unplug from this system of thinking. It’s okay to rewire my circuitry and create new pathways of thinking.
Two: Stop the avalanche before it happens.
I began to realize that the build-up of my thinking took on the motion of a locomotive that kept charging and built up in speed only the tracks were dangerous and my fears were sensing imminent danger.
Three: Allow yourself to grow.
I learned that mindfully challenging my assumptions allowed my adult mind to interfere with the childhood mind; as such, I found that I could intercept the emotional message which is irrational and improve my thinking by using my strategic mind. This would allow me the benefit or rational logic to prevail over senseless worries that no longer exist.
Everything we do is done to honor a thought or an idea, emotion or feeling. In the case above, I detailed the circuitry that was prewired from a young age. I created an understanding that allowed me to grasp the concepts of my past and how this interrupted the progress of my future.
Although the packaging is unique to me, the system and the circuitry is common among us all.
I found that my old self has often interrupted my new self and in order to prevent my old or unwanted setting, I had to allow myself to evolve.
I had to find the errors of my thinking or the bugs in my personal program, reboot, rewire and then I had to allow myself the permission to refresh and update my thinking. But more, I had to find a way to stop responding to old fears – especially when they were no longer relevant or even applicable.
Ah, the mind.
What a complex, amazing, crazy thing this can be.
I heard a doctor tell me we can live one of two ways –
We can be a record of our history.
Or we can be a map to our future.
Then he asked, which one do you want to be?