Don’t Believe Everything You Think {Mantra 17}

Our thoughts can be tricky things. To make sense of our world, our thoughts weave delicious stories, scary stories, explanatory stories.

But our thoughts often tell us false stories, too.

For instance, recount an argument you’ve had in the past with your partner. Do you both agree on all the details of what happened, what was said? Our thoughts are rarely (ever?) 100% accurate about our memories from the past. 

Our thoughts are also awful predictors of the future. We may think we know what will happen next or what will make us happy next month, but life rarely matches our predictions.

Even our thoughts in the present (whether positive or negative) can’t be fully trusted.

Do you ever think these thoughts?

  • This problem will never go away
  • She just doesn’t like me
  • This day is perfect
  • I’m not good enough
  • I would never do something like that

Your thoughts don’t know everything.

Don’t believe everything you think.

Thinking our thoughts are always correct is an easy trap to fall into.

How can we counteract believing everything we think:

  • Ask God for wisdom. (But even though God’s thoughts are perfect, we don’t perfectly understand them).
  • Listen to other people (although don’t believe everything they think either…read about the Confidence Bias here).
  • Be humble. Accept you have more to learn.
  • Pay attention to different perspectives. There’s more than one way to see things.
  • Realize you could be wrong. (You’ve been wrong before, right?)
  • Appreciate the unknowable. Much of life is a mystery.

As Richard Rohr says, “Yes, the mind is very useful, but when it does not recognize its own finite viewpoint, it is also useless.”

Listen to what you say to yourself. But . . . 

Don’t believe everything you think.

This is my year of RELEASE, which includes releasing false narratives as I become aware of them—stories I unconsciously create in my head to explain why something happened.

Do you make up stories in your head, too? (Please tell me I’m not the only one.)

Share in the comments.

Read More:

You are on Day #17 of the series: Find Your Mantra {28 Daily Mantras}

Find Your Mantra: 28 Daily Mantras

Make the memories good” {Mantra 16}

This is not the end” {Mantra 18}

15 thoughts on “Don’t Believe Everything You Think {Mantra 17}

  1. Lynn

    We can be our worst enemy, can’t we? As I get older, I find myself questioning my thoughts and perspectives more. And double-checking my work! Yes, life is mystery. Each day a new discovery can debunk what was thought the “truth” the day before! I like to say, “I know what I know today, but that doesn’t mean I will know the same tomorrow.” 🙂

  2. JeanWise

    OOOO, this one really hit me and then I added it to my mantra list. So true yet I do get caught up with this. Listened to Emily Freeman podcast this week and her guest Hillary McBride shared these words when we find ourselves feeling fear: Is it a real threat? a perceived threat? or a remembered threat?” I found that good guideline for evaluating what I am thinking, I ordered her book at the library and may be a good one for you too!

  3. Terri

    I often have those thoughts and other similar thoughts. I have to remind myself- this is justa thought. This is not a fact. You know people care about you because___ You know that the truth is ____ you know that God says_____ Asking God for wisdom and taking every thought captive is the key. Great blog; I shared this on Facebook. Again, I apologize for my previous comment. I did not know we could write about anything we wanted. I thought we all had to use the one word prompt. Thank you for correcting me.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      No problem about the mistaken assumption, Terri. I’m glad we each have the freedom to write about the topics that interest us the most. 🙂

      I appreciate your thoughts here on the post. I agree that taking every thought captive is key. I definitely need God’s help with this because it’s difficult enough to catch ourselves having faulty thoughts, and then difficult to correct them. Grace is critical.

  4. Anita Ojeda

    This is such an important mantra! I’ve been guilty of thinking my thoughts are the gospel truth, when, in fact, they are just my thoughts. It’s been freeing to realize I don’t have all the answers (nor do I need to).

  5. Catherine Sokolowski

    I love the advice you give to counteract believing every thought we have is true. I’d like to believe the positive thoughts I have but would give anything to believe the negative thoughts were a figment of my imagination!

  6. Lory @ Entering the Enchanted Castle

    You are not the only one who tells stories in your head! I think this is one way the mind can be so very useful, but only if we realize they are stories. If we take them for reality, they become useless. (Following that great quote from Richard Rohr.) I think that reality is in God’s hands and he leads us towards it, but slowly. Not taking all our thoughts for the ultimate reality is a very important practice on that journey.

  7. Lynn D. Morrissey

    Excellent insights, Lisa, and I love the remake of the old adage, “Don’t believe everything you hear,” especially, maybe, when it’s our own inner dialogue, huh? 🙂

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