The Power of a Thought

Episode #3

Have you ever listened to the rambling that goes on in your head? Have you ever been able to hear one thought at a time? The words that swirl around in our mind hold so much power. In this week’s episode we share real life examples of how our thoughts can create a reality that may not even be true.


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EPISODE TRANSCRIPT:

Ashley
Welcome to rise up and shine. We are two women at different stages of life who have overcome feeling stuck, and are now living life fully with peace and joy. Join Us Weekly for a real raw and faithful conversation about our trials and triumphs, bringing hope, insight and weekly tips that you too can rise up and let your light shine bright.

Friends We are so glad you’re tuning back in. This is Ashley and Claudine. And today we are really excited to talk about one of our favorite topics I would think is our thoughts.

Claudine
Yes, they are powerful, and they shape our lives. So it’s really important to pay attention to our thoughts, the thoughts we think and allow in our heads.

Ashley
Well really it seems that what I’ve learned is our thoughts can tend to create our reality,

Claudine
Right? Oh, absolutely. That’s the truth. Our thoughts shape our reality, they shape our life. And neuroscience shows us that every thought we think matters. Because it changes our brain, it actually changes our brain structure. And then we create our unique reality and shape our brain with those very thoughts.

Ashley
So that’s kind of what they talk about neuroplasticity, right? Isn’t that the writing?

Claudine
Yeah, our brains are plastic. So they’re not just set in one way we create new neural pathways with our thoughts.

Ashley
That is so interesting, because I mean, when you think about how many thoughts do we have in a minute? I mean, right? I know, my mind never stops.

Claudine
Yeah, mine doesn’t either, especially around 2am. But that’s a whole nother topic.

Ashley
Yeah, I’ve learned that I had to turn on music or TV in the background, because I did not like silence. And when I was going through my counseling, the last year, I realized that I did it because I did not want to sit with my thoughts. And even whatever I was doing cleaning dishes, cooking, homework, whatever I was doing. My mind was constantly racing with thoughts. And I did not put that together until I was going through my counseling that Well, that was my coping. I did it because I did not even want to hear what was going on in my head.

Claudine
Well, I bet at that time, your thoughts are probably pretty negative. I don’t think it’s the positive thoughts you were trying to avoid, but probably some negative thinking patterns.

Ashley
Yeah, well, because I was very much a victim, I would say quote, unquote, I felt like a victim. When times we get hard, I would always go to what did I do wrong? You know, if if I got an argument with my husband, or my kids were acting up and not obeying me, everything I said, or I had a challenge with another person in a relationship, I would always go to me, what did I do wrong?

Claudine
Yeah, yeah. And I thought create so much trouble and so much suffering for ourselves. Last week, we talked about our circumstances and how really circumstances neutral, it’s just the value that we attach to it, and we attach value with our thoughts. That’s where we say, that was a good experience, or that was a bad experience, or whatever. It’s really our thought I didn’t like that. It’s the value we add to it that makes us feel good or feel bad. And it’s because of our thoughts.

Ashley
And I really found too, and you might agree that our thoughts tend to be a similar pattern. So if a situation happens, or there’s a circumstance that arises in our life, it kind of tends to fall back to a certain belief, that think and our own inner dialogue that that story we’re creating.

Claudine
And I for me, I look at it as our thoughts are like, a trail on a mountain road, like sometimes when we go hiking, there’s a well worn path. And so that’s the best one to take, usually, because it’s clear and easy. We don’t have to negotiate vegetation. But in our minds, we have those paths, those trails that have developed these strong neural pathways, and if we’ve had a lot of negative thinking patterns, and those are the strongest ones, and those are our easy go to, and it takes a lot of effort and work to create new neural pathways that have positive thoughts and positive thinking. But once we do that, once those are established, then it becomes our default to think positively and have positive thoughts.

Ashley
Right. And so it takes work and awareness to really pay attention to what thoughts come up in our mind, right?

Claudine
When I was in my early 20s. I was corrected a few times by some older, wiser women that I was at glass half empty kind of gal. And that is just how I’m built. I would say in my natures I can see what’s missing and not what’s there. And I’ve literally had to train myself in my mind to see the fullness in the glass, not what’s missing and that alone has helped shape and change my life but it’s a little Lot of work. And through the last few years, I’ve learned so much more.

Ashley
Yeah, I you know, it’s funny because I’m the exact opposite. I was always everything is half full and overflowing like I was I see the good in everybody I see, you know, I was so positive. And I know like I can find the good at anybody I come in contact. I know there’s good in there somewhere. But for some reason with myself, I am the glass half empty with myself, I take it out on me almost I have a very different dialogue in my head about me than I do about other people.

Claudine
I think most women are that way.

Ashley
I hope so. I hope I’m not the only one

Claudine
You’re not. But I do think most of us struggle with that. I think we constantly are belittling ourselves or having negative thoughts about ourselves. I’m not good enough. I’m not worthy. It’s just the way I’ve always been. I can’t change we have all this negative thinking that keeps us stuck.

Ashley
Yeah. And you know, I had this conversation with a friend last night I said, What do you think about it, we have been with ourselves the longest. So that is the story and the narrative. We’ve told ourselves the longest I might he may have had situations in our past where someone said something hurtful, or we were treated unfairly. But our thought in our own head about us, since we were way little, you know, our experiences formed the way we think now about ourselves and our world. It’s not just a random thought it is something that has actually been wired into our brain that like that trail, on a hike right through the mountains, we have formed that pathway by the things that go on in our mind and our thoughts.

Claudine
Right? And because our thoughts, generate our emotions, and our emotions, drive our action system, get us in a whole lot of trouble. And so it’s fundamental that we start with our thinking. And that’s why a lot of the coaching I do with my clients is really thought work. It’s really at that base level is thought work. The actions will come the emotions will come if we don’t deal with the thoughts in the beginning, then it’s really hard to get forward momentum and get the life you want to get that life full of joy and love and peace.

Ashley
Can I ask you a question, Claudine, because in my conversations with people and even doing my own thought work, and it is work friends out there, yes, a lot of work. It is work. But I have really noticed in myself and with others that either I’ve helped coach or just talked through things with that, we tend to miss the thought portion of it, right? Because we recognize our emotions first correct. And that seems so much stronger. And that’s what kind of gives us the awareness because we are aware that oh, I don’t like how I’m feeling these negative emotions, or I like that I’m feeling these positive emotions. But when a situation happens or a circumstance arises, then we go instantly to how we’re feeling. And we live by our feelings that way. But we are not consciously aware and taking the time to sit and think about what we’re thinking about.

Claudine
Right? Well, I’m not sure what your question was there. But But you’re absolutely right.

Ashley
You agree that we do that.

Claudine
I do agree. And I think it was training for myself until I got coached and mentored and trained, and then was able to do it for myself. So now I do that work every single day, like you mentioned, but it’s true. We’re like, Oh, I’m really sad, or I’m depressed or I’m stuck. I’m frustrated. And I didn’t realize that those emotions were generated from a thought I always thought they were tied to my circumstance. So I don’t blame my circumstance, yes, or my husband or my children or my job. And so it never became within my control really by thinking that it’s my circumstance, I now become a victim. I’m a victim of my circumstance. And I have all these emotions. I don’t want because this happened or someone talked to me in this way, instead of owning my thoughts that I was in control of my own thoughts. Yes, that made all the difference.

Ashley
And so that’s why I think I struggled with bouts of depression, because I would go into the victim mode because I was hurt and then my internal dialogue was something is wrong with me. I’m not happy I’m not What did I do wrong? What did I you know, I blame myself and we’re so good at blaming someone or something. I personally tend to blame myself by anything that happens. I mean, funny story. I mean, it’s funny now haha. But in the past, it was alarming because of how sensitive I was to situations. Something I was not involved in at all. But I was dropping my kids off at school in the morning. And I don’t typically frequent that drop off line for a reason. But this morning, we were running late. And it was hard to get the kids out of the house and you know, everyone is starting to get frustrated and so we made the first and only, I never went back first and only attempt to drop them off in the line and another parent honked at the parent in front of them. But my body responded with anxiety and that fear and my heart started beating like, what did I do wrong? What did I do? And I had nothing to do with it. It was between two other parents, but my body still reacted as I had I was responsible, right? And it was alarming. Now I’m like, That’s crazy. I think that’s why did I respond that way? I know now. But I, you know, it had to do with the wiring in my brain because of my beliefs. And my thoughts about myself.

Claudine
That’s right. And that’s what I love. I mean, we were created by an amazing God that gave us these amazing brains. And were formed in his image, which means we are creators, and we’re able to create the lives that we want, Oh, I love them. When we use our prefrontal cortex, which he gave us, we can choose which thoughts we think we can choose to become aware of our thoughts and look deeper at some beliefs that maybe aren’t serving us anymore, and make a conscious decision to work on those thoughts and change them. So we can rewire our brains that we can not come from a place of it must be me, something’s wrong with me, but come from a place. Well, that’s interesting. That car haunted that car. Who cares? It has nothing to do with me, I’m okay. I am okay. I don’t know anything wrong, right. And so so much of that is wired within us. And it started in our early childhood, like you said, and we’re just not aware. So it’s that awareness that helps us to u nwire and rewire.

Ashley
And sometimes we have to pay attention to our bodies, how our bodies are responding and our emotions, and then work backwards, right? I’ve had to do that with myself. And I’ve helped coach other friends and people and anyone I come in contact with, I love sharing the stuff that I’ve learned. And with some of my clients that I’ve helped coach, I told them as we work through processing a situation, a circumstance that has come up that sometimes you may not be aware of the thought yet, right, but you will tell how you’re feeling about it. Yeah, by your body’s reactions, the sensations in our body, because it’s energy, we feel it’s right, we feel our emotions and our emotions manifest very physically in Yeah, it can be different ways. But it’s pretty common, you know, the racing heart, the tense muscles, the you know, hot flash almost, or the cold flash, you know, I mean, depending on what emotion, we physically feel it. And sometimes we need to acknowledge that and then work backwards, and then ask ourselves, what is the thought that’s happening in my mind right now that’s causing my body to respond this way.

Claudine
And that’s where the work is. That’s the work. It’s really simple. But it’s not easy. Yeah, simple work. But it’s not easy to do. And sometimes we need help. I mean, for myself, I needed a coach, I, this was so foreign to me, I didn’t even know how to get in touch with my thoughts. And my feelings I had stuffed for so long, I basically felt anger or depression, those were kind of the two that I could get in touch with. But I didn’t know how to process emotions. And we’re going to be talking a lot more next week about our emotions, but just doing the work of becoming aware of my thoughts. And sometimes even with our thoughts, we have to go deeper because there’s some hidden beliefs, right? And getting in touch with those because we cannot change what we’re not aware of.

Ashley
Right. And a lot of our thoughts are subconscious. That’s right, that sometimes could keep us up at night. And we don’t know why can I sleep? Why am I two o’clock in the morning and can’t go back to sleep? I just know, I don’t like it. And I don’t like feeling this way. But there’s thoughts that are ruminating in there. That’s right. We’re not consciously aware of

Claudine
Yeah, that is so true. Of course, some of us stay up in the middle of the night for a whole different variety of reasons. But you’re about 20 years behind me. So you’ll figure that out. But it’s so true. And I and you know, I think about that scripture in Philippians. It says whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy think about such things. And I had read that for years. And I understood it but I didn’t apply it now that I know the science behind it. Now that I understand how those thoughts can actually rewire my brain. It’s been so powerful. And I really make a conscious effort every day to look at my thoughts and if they’re not pure, or true or lovely or admirable. I release them. I’m like nope, I choose not to think about you.

Ashley
Like taking thoughts captive.

Claudine
Exactly. Taking them captive and releasing them. The ones that don’t serve me so if they are going to help me live the life I want I hold on to them and if not, I’ll let them go.

Ashley
Can you share with us, Claudine? A specific Big example, where you notice your thoughts kind of running away and getting the best of you.

Claudine
See, it’s funny you ask, because I, you know, with all this work that I’ve done, I know better. I know the science. I know the scriptures. I’ve done the work. I’ve been practicing this for years. And yet, oh, so recently, I fell into a trap. And recently, we went back to Tennessee, a state that I had lived in for two years, about 10 years ago, and went to visit and I called a really dear friend, I had left her a couple text messages a month before I called the week before, and I didn’t hear anything from her. And I didn’t let those thoughts affect math. I will. She’s super busy. But I know, you know, we’ll, we’ll get that time together. And then we were there. I still didn’t hear anything. So then the thoughts started coming to me like, well, maybe we’re not friends anymore. And I didn’t get the memo. And maybe she doesn’t like me anymore. And then I saw a couple posts on her social media. And I thought, well, she has new friends. Now, this was 10 years ago, and maybe she’s moved on and this relationships over. And so I created all this suffering for myself thinking these thoughts that here’s this friend that I loved, and our friendship was over. And she obviously wasn’t interested in seeing me, or connecting with me cuz she hadn’t responded to any of my texts, or my phone call, or anything. And so I suffered silently for about a week, which probably sounds really silly to others. But here I was, we do that. I told myself this whole story that the friendship was now over. And I just didn’t get the message. And the day I returned, she noticed some pictures on my social media that I had been there. And was shocked that How could I come into town and not let her know. And I was like, Well, I did send you six texts, one phone call.

Ashley
And didn’t you even knock on her door?

Claudine
I did knock on her door, and she was out walking. So I felt like I had put out all this effort and she wasn’t responding. And from her end, she never got any of those texts. So instead of thinking like a rational person, then thinking, perhaps, you know, she hasn’t gotten any of these texts or this call. I didn’t leave a voicemail, I just called him out left a voicemail. I assume that seeing a missed call was enough information for her to right call me. Right. But not knowing I was coming into town. She didn’t put two and two together. It was such a powerful lesson to me to see how my own thoughts the story I created about the circumstance was creating so much suffering for me in my emotions, I just felt sad and depressed. And yet at the same time, the facts of the situation was she did not receive the text. I had actually been sending them to her landline and they hadn’t bounced back.

Ashley
Yeah, with a very simple mistake. But took you on this whirlwind of emotions. Yes, your thoughts just got the better of you.

Claudine
Right. And this is something I work on every day. So it can happen to me.

Ashley
So you’re saying all this thought work? It doesn’t make the circumstances go away? Or those feelings go away?

Claudine
Oh, it’s daily work. It’s daily work to really take those thoughts captive to really focus on what’s pure and noble and admirable. The truth is, my friend still loves me. We’re still friends. I just had I created a story with my thoughts that didn’t serve me or her or her friendship. And I’m grateful that she had the wherewithal to respond and just say, Hey, are you in town because she could have developed her own story about how could Claudine come out to town and not call me I thought we were friends, she could have created our own story. And luckily, she is a coach as well and does all her coach work. But it was a powerful example to me what happens when our thoughts aren’t founded in truth, and they’re not pure and noble and trustworthy. This one really took me for a loop.

Ashley
Wow, I can completely relate to that. So you you just said something that really hit me is you didn’t focus on what was truth. And I feel for myself that scripture focus on whatever is true. And it goes on. And for me, I don’t even have to go on I just need to stop it true. Whatever is true because that is my trap. I think about the good I’ve always been positive I’ve been known in my family to be sunshine, a ray of sunshine and every time I come the clouds part it’s sunny. I mean physically in the guy in the weather, but also in my character and just my my attitude, my mood that I bring when I visit my family. I’m just a ray of sunshine. That’s how they see me. I mean, I don’t always see myself that way. But I’ve noticed in my parenting especially can cause a lot of fear for me. And I realized that I will spend the day worrying about my children’s future. Yeah, it causes a lot of anxiety and It just is very uncomfortable. And I’m just stuck on a loop in my mind, right? It’s mentally in my thoughts, I am stuck on ruminating, what is their future going to hold and anything can trigger it anything as a mom and my kids are still in semi younger grade school, that I fear what their future will hold. But it’s not necessarily the positive, the negative, it’s like I said, something that will trigger it, any of my children are dealing with another kid at school who might not be very kind, or one of my children experience. in first grade, she trusted a friend to share a secret. And that friend told another friend and told another friend, and pretty soon it went from every child in the classroom. So her secret, went through the entire class, and she was devastated. And when I picked her up after school, I, I felt like crying, as if it was me that experienced it, my emotions attached to her experience, were so strong, because of my worry. And because of the thoughts and what I have experienced in my life, I was attaching meaning, right in my mind to her experience, right? I was not going through it. But it did feel like that. And so I will get fearful and discouraged and really down and sad that my children have to go through certain pain and hardships in their life. And I literally, in my mind, their life, their future will flash before my eyes. Right? You know, I don’t even have my life flashing before my eyes, but I get very worried about their future, and how they’re going to grow up? Are they going to be happy? Are they going to feel fulfilled? Are they going to be depressed? Even having my own experiences with depression and anxiety? Are they going to go through that? Are they going to, you know, experience a traumatic event after school? With all these school shootings happening nowadays, I mean, my mind just races and goes to the future.

Claudine
And that’s where the work is to stop our thoughts before they become patterns. And before those patterns become habits. Because if we have those thoughts, and they become patterns, and then our brain is wired, so it goes to the path of least resistance. So those are the thoughts that you keep thinking, or I keep thinking it’ll become really easy to stay stuck there. And that’s how women get stuck, especially with their children who doesn’t worry about their kids. But we have to stop it, we have to go What if their future is amazing, like I’m training myself to do the exact opposite? What if they have the best future ever? Like, here’s evidence for that. That’s the thing, the brain will always find evidence for what we are thinking. So if we think that our kids are going to have a hard future or school is gonna be tough, then things will happen, our brain will find evidence for that. But if we continue to think about all the positive and the good things, that our brain will find evidence for that and builds those patterns. It doesn’t mean things negative things won’t happen in our life, right? Life is full of good and bad. There’s rain and sunshine in this life, and we’re going to experience it all but how we attribute meaning to it is how we will feel emotions and what actions will take on those days when your thoughts are creating worry or anxiety for you about your children. How are you present as a mom?

Ashley
When I am stuck in those ruminating thoughts? How is my day?

Claudine
How was your parenting?

Ashley
Well, I am more reactive, right? There’s a struggle or a power struggle with my kids or they’re not obeying when I asked them to do something I will react. I’m more on edge I guess you can say sure. I am completely unproductive. And as a stay at home mom where this is my job, I send my kids off to school, I take care of the house, I do the shopping, I am organizing our week, our calendar, I get nothing done. I feel completely unproductive. And then I feel worse, right? Because I’m essentially sitting on the couch. Not eating bonbons not watching TV. I’m sitting on the couch, ruminating on how’s the day going for my kids? What are they experiencing today? Oh my gosh, they’re gonna be so hurt. Oh my gosh, what am I going to do to fix it? Or, you know, as if I’m trying to control their circumstances, which circumstances as we talked about last week are neutral, right? And they’re inevitable. So they are going to go through things just as you and I go through things. And that is just part of life and how we think about it is what is going to determine how our day goes.

Claudine
That’s right. Yeah, yeah, our actions are absolutely a reflection of our thoughts and emotions. Absolutely we don’t act unless we feel something in that dictates how we respond. Well, I’ve seen the growth and the change over this last year, as we’ve spent time together with you, working on these thoughts working on creating more positive emotions in becoming the most present mom, right? I wish I had all these tools when my kids were little I didn’t. So now I’m trying to teach adult children. But I appreciate that you have learned early on about thought work and your emotions and the actions we take and seeing you transition to being a more present being the best mom, you can be

Ashley
The best mom that I can be. Exactly. And I can’t even get to that thought in my mind. I wish I had known this sooner. Right. And so that’s the flip side, I can get to that negative belief. Again, I didn’t do something right. Right. That’s that thought prior. And that will keep coming up that I paved as I yeah, went through life and experience things and experienced hardships and, and that will keep creeping up in my role as a mom. But that is what I have to stop. And I’ve had to learn to replace those negative thoughts that keep popping up, unintentionally. But my brain is so familiar with it, right? It’s programmed, right. And so I have learned, I need to stop that thought, take that thought captive, and I need to replace it with something that will help me and serve me and create a different result. And you know, with my kids, learning that I was just completely paralyzed by my thinking, that is what actually got me onto this path of, I need to change, I need to find some healing, I need some peace in my life. Because I felt like things were just crashing down around me, right. And in my mind, I was thinking something is wrong with me What is wrong with me, I need to change something. Because circumstances were happening as if I was creating these circumstances, and it was my fault. And that was a lot to a lot of weight to carry, right. And I realized, I do not want to keep living this way I want to be happy. I know there is more out there that I want in my life that I want to feel and experience in my life. And so recognizing that I would just sit and worry about my children all day long if I needed a change, and that was that leap of faith that I took and I started seeking counseling and I started researching on YouTube are our thoughts and our you know how to handle different situations traumas that we may have experienced in our life. And that is what has brought me here, where I feel so passionate to share with other women and especially other moms, that you are not alone. There is hope. And there is a change that can happen when we try and accept our circumstances. And we can have different thoughts that will serve us and in our life in our marriage and our parents, right?

Claudine
Well, we’ve talked a lot about thoughts today, how they really do shape our life, I think of that scripture to in Proverbs, where it says, as a man or woman thinketh. So he or she is right, really, our thoughts do make us who we are. And it is work. It’s like going to the gym, we can’t just go to the gym one time into one workout. Okay, now my body is totally changed. I never have to go to the gym again. And that’s what thought work is like, it’s just like going to the gym where it has to be consistent. And there really we do see differences with consistency in that training. And I know my life has completely changed in the last few years since I started applying this work to my life. And I see I’m finally living that life to the full full of love, joy and peace.

Ashley
Right? And I feel I have been able to walk in that those promises that God has given us finally because I knew they were there and I was desperately seeking peace in my life. And I was not feeling it. As I was speaking with a client last night. It brought back a lot of memories over the past year of where I was, who I was and where I am now and who I am now. And I was asked, Do I feel like a completely different woman now, and I do and I explained I said a year ago I saw myself as this little seven year old girl cower down in the corner in the dark, not making eye contact. I was very timid. I was very insecure. I was very fearful. I was ruled by fear. And now I look back and see the growth that I have done by doing this thought work and just changing out replacing those negative thoughts and not letting them get into my brain. Right. And I just when I recognize it, I blow them away, like I’m blowing a dandy lion making a wish. And I actually share that with my children that take deep breaths and blow that thought away, do not let it take root. And inside of us, that’s great. So I am a very different person today, I have very different conversations with people, I am more assertive, I feel more confident, right? I obviously have moments where I still feel I’m not enough and what’s wrong with me that’s just in my DNA now, like, you know, I’ve built that pathway in my brain. So I’m gonna fight that a lot. But it gets a lot easier. And it doesn’t have to have a hold over my life anymore. And I know what I can do I have the tools now to take my thoughts captive and to move on from the situation.

Claudine
That’s amazing. And I know you touched on some of the emotions you’re feeling and next week, we’re going to be talking about emotions, right? And how we can deal with those and the purpose they serve in our life. So I’m really looking forward to that as well next week,

Ashley
And even how emotions come to be. Yes, so we will dive a lot deeper into that next week. And I think we’re both very excited because emotions we can tend to live by our feelings, right? And we don’t want to do that anymore.

Claudine
No, we do not want to live by our feelings. Until next week, my friends have a great joy filled love filled peaceful week.

Ashley
Friends, thank you so much for tuning in with us today. We hope this episode has brought you one step closer to living the life you love. Until next time, remember the world needs who you were made to be.