Blog, Depression

The Enemy in the Mind

The mind is an interesting and somewhat crowded place.  It houses all of our memories, our thoughts, and our emotions.  It is also our body’s biological operational manual and manager, carrying enormous amounts of information and sending out thousands (if not millions) of directives to cells responsible for stimulating the action of every gland, organ, muscle, and joint.

Amidst the Mind’s numerous tasks and responsibilities, there is panel of voices constructing our inner dialogues.  I think of these voices as various levels of consciousness all vying for center stage.  Freud referred to these voices of consciousness as our Id (the ‘Devil’ on our shoulder tempting us with all of our most primal desires), Super Ego (the judgmental and self-righteous Angel on the opposite shoulder, urging us to do what is ‘right’) and Ego (what we know to be our Voice of Reason, offering a balanced perspective between ‘good’ and ‘evil’).

I’d go so far as to say there are still other, deeper layers of consciousness within the mind.  Their volumes increase or decrease depending on the situation, carrying various intonations which can adopt the voices of our parents, our teachers, ourselves (past, present or future), or some other imaginary being/entity (like ‘God’).

With all of this inner activity, I think of the mind as a noisy, overcrowded hub, like Grand Central Station.  And in the same way pick-pockets can sneak by undetected and steal your wallet in a crowd, there are ugly voices secretly lurking in the mind, siphoning away your joy, confidence, and gratitude.

These ugly voices, (or gremlins, as Brene Brown refers to them) are powerful in that they have been pervading our mental space for so many years, and as a result, we’ve grown accustomed to their presence.  Many of them were birthed very early on in our lives, perhaps before our cognitive faculties were fully developed.  That inner voice that says, “You don’t matter,” has likely been sowing its seeds for years.  And every time the mind perceives some situation as evidence of you not mattering (like that time your friends in school said they didn’t want you to play with them anymore), those seeds are watered, and they begin to sprout weeds.  Some of our minds are completely overrun with weeds of worthlessness, brokenness, shame, fear, and sadness that we forget there is beautiful soil underneath—the overgrowth can be uprooted, and we can plant new seeds.  It may take work, time, and patience, but we can transform our weed-laden minds into beauteous gardens and flowery fields.

First it starts with recognizing the weeds for what they are.  Some of us have grown so accustomed to darkness that it has become our identity.  For many of us, pain isn’t just something we’ve experienced, but is something we’ve become.  And for some of us, our attachment to pain is something we fear we can’t live without.  Who would we be without our stories of abuse, illness, and dysfunction?  What would life look like if the clouds of shame and fear cleared up and we allowed the light to illuminate the darkest parts of who we are?  Some of us are afraid we won’t like our reflections in the light, so we stay in the dark and bury our beauty in the shadows, pretending it doesn’t exist.

But there is immense beauty inside of you.  And it is only a matter of changing the narrative in your mind.  At some point, one has to decide to impeach the old, ugly voices from their positions and elect a new crew of Self Love officials who can lay down new laws and clean up the grime in our heads.  We may not be able to do this all on our own, but there is support available.

Anything you want to become—any goal you are aiming to achieve, any change you’re intent on making, and any new emotional or mental construct you want to build—is possible with the right mindset.  Your attitude towards people and situations shapes your experience of those things, and the stakes are even higher when we are considering the way we experience ourselves.  Experience yourself as a loser and you will continue to lose.  Experience yourself as weak and you will continue to subjugate yourself.  Experience yourself as a winner and you will notice all the ways in which you are winning and have already won.  And even if it is hard to believe all that is good about you and beautiful in your life, remember this: Thoughts become things.  What you feed will grow.

What seeds are you sowing?


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