Portraits of people thinkingHave you ever heard the saying “You are your own worst enemy”?

I am reading “The Intimate Enemy” by Guy Finley at the moment and it is this book that has prompted me to reflect on these words.

Most people misguidedly interpret life as a series of events that are coming at us and when you look at life from this perspective it can appear as if our life is determined from the outside in. What we don’t take into account is the importance of our inner state in how we respond to the outside event and in fact to go deeper, how the principle of thought creates and determine how we see, interpret, feel about and then react to events.

There is a belief that things that happen are good or bad, things we want to happen and things we don’t want to happen. Then we believe that we have to make choices, and take action based on what we see on the outside “coming at us”. The bit we miss is that it is our internal representation and interpretation of life’s happenings that create what we are seeing and that in a way we have already made a choice without even knowing it.

We mistakenly believe that we are victims, or at the mercy of life’s happenings and we define ourselves in terms of our ability to meet these circumstances.

But, here’s the thing- life doesn’t come at us; what is on the outside does not determine our experience on the inside- what determines that is our personal thoughts, or rather, “the fact that we think”.

When I was younger I had so many insecurities. I didn’t feel like I fitted in and as a consequence often used to think people were giving me funny looks. I would say to whoever I was with “Did you see the way she looked at me?” Invariably the other person would not have “seen” what I had seen in someone’s expression but I wouldn’t believe it. I took my mis-interpretations and ran with them. My inner critic had found evidence to affirm my thinking that I was dysfunctional in some way and I would create all sorts of suffering for myself based on what I perceived others were doing to me….what I couldn’t see at that time was that it was me doing it to myself. I was blaming someone else for how I felt but I was creating it. I was my own worst enemy.

In many ways we are only ever seeing our thoughts projected out into the world and often those thoughts don’t act in our best interest.

Is there a tool or technique to change this behaviour?

Becoming objectively aware of our patterns is a good start. Noticing where we have same scripts/different players, acting out in our lives can give us clues. But more than that, deepening our understanding that all we are ever seeing and feeling is thought and not the outside world, gives us a different relationship with the world.