I had several conversations with people recently about thinking and the power of our thoughts. We interpret others thoughts and intentions based on their actions and words both written and spoken. There were examples of miscommunication, misreading, misinterpreting and misjudging and also fear due to projecting what someone else MIGHT think about what we say, do or write.
We see and hear this happen with students all the time; they get upset because someone looked at them, they are afraid to express their opinion or fears because they worry about being judged. We redirect a group of students and one explodes because he/she is convinced they are being picked on, interpreting every comment or look as directed at only them. They fear their classmates viewing them as stupid if they are wrong, they interpret our admonishments as personal, attacking, rejecting rather than instructional. All this based on their thoughts of the situation.
For ourselves, we don’t share our thoughts with others because we are fearful they will judge us. I was reluctant to participate in slicing because of this fear(I got over that!) We allow ourselves to be anxious and stressed over what someone else’s thoughts MIGHT be. One of my friends and I have often referred to this as being stuck in our head, telling ourselves stories. This over thinking about what happened and what might happen can cause us to allow our thoughts and fears to alter our actions, to convince ourselves that someone is angry or upset when they aren’t.
How to not do all of this? For me the first step is just being mindful, aware of those thoughts, checking myself when I notice those thoughts. I try to choose to not interpret others possible thoughts, notice I say try….