Challenge Your Thoughts
Our actions and reactions in any given situation are precipitated by how we feel at that moment. The behavior that we exhibit is often the product of our emotional state, whether we are happy, despondent, angry, afraid and so forth. But going further than this, we can also say that how we feel is a product of the thoughts that were evoked by circumstances. To illustrate this point, when we see people from afar whispering among themselves and then one of them looks at us, we tend to create a story in our minds about what we are witnessing. And the conclusion that we draw may be right or it may be wrong.
But the feeling that is created in us by such a conclusion is what will ultimately produce the behavior in which we will engage. If we conclude that the people are whispering about us, then this might cause us to feel anxiety or even spite. And our consequent reaction will align itself to the thought and the feeling that came before.
Each decision that we make and have made fosters in us our analytical thinking skills. We are able to better analyze each situation and make the appropriate choice of action. This process helps us develop confidence in our decision-making which should lead to independence of thought.
But on occasion, we find ourselves in a bigger dilemma because of certain faulty decisions. And often we have no choice but to face the consequences and to bear the burden of our mistakes.
How do we prevent this from happening? Doubting our decisions is not encouraged, for this may inadvertently erode our ability to trust ourselves and could leave us emotionally crippled. But what we should do is challenge the thought process that helped us arrive at the decision. Making faulty assumptions or erroneous interpretations of a situation could lead us to catastrophic decisions. Therefore prior to any choice we make, we ought to challenge these assumptions and automatic thoughts. Applying this to the example given, we should not assume that the people we see whispering are talking about us. This is mere paranoia and should not be entertained.
Therefore, we should regularly think about how we think. Experts call this metacognition. This may help us see why we decide to do things and whether or not our choices are healthy and appropriate.