The Principle of Thought

This piece is excerpted from You Can Be Happy No Matter What by Richard Carlson, Ph.D.

"Because our thought systems are so familiar to us, they seem to be giving us true, accurate information...we accept familiar ideas and disregard the rest.  Understanding the nature of thought systems can change this.  We can see that our beliefs are merely a function of past conditioning (programming)  and experiences.  Had our past been different, our ideas about life would be different.  The point here is not to change your thought system or your ideas about life, but to see the arbitrary nature of them.  In short, new information is usually unwelcome within our existing thought systems.  This is why we can be bothered by the same events or circumstances over and over again throughout our lifetimes.  What we used to interpret as criticism we now see merely as an opinion from another person with his or her own thought system."

This excerpt helps to explain the oft stated phrase 'What other people think of you is none of your business".  I have used this phrase to convince myself and others of the truth which Richard Carlson conveys.  It is only recently that I have developed an emotional 'protection' from the messages conveyed by the world in the form of what is written and what people say.  The protection is rooted in worthiness.  The thought process which I and countless others on the planet have learned is that I am not good enough and we default to this emotional state when we measure ourselves against the arbitrary nature of the world.  Through my daily process of journaling, I have regular evidence of the falseness of the thought process.  It is the daily reminder that strengthens the emotional 'muscle' and reduces the 'bothering' that could so easily be triggered by words whether written or spoken. [Russell]