I’m Thinking about What You’re Thinking about

Have you ever noticed yourself thinking about what someone else is thinking about? I know I have. I can honestly say that I spent most of my life being unaware of doing this, I did it automatically. And I went as far as believing that I really knew what other people were thinking about.

I’ve had full blown arguments with someone else – in my head – without ever speaking a single word out loud to this person. This may sound like insanity but it isn’t – it’s actually quite common, so don’t be too worried if you find yourself doing it.

I’ve determined that when I’m, ‘thinking about what someone else is thinking about’ what I’m doing is assuming. (quick note here: There is something called Intuition and that’s a little bit different from what I’m talking about here, and I will talk about that in another article, and the differences). Anyways, the only person’s thoughts I know for sure are my own – and the irony is that the thoughts I think about what someone else is thinking are also my thoughts. Unless I’m a mind reader, which I’m not.

I don’t really want to spend my mental energy trying to live in other people’s heads, because I’ve noticed in the past that I’ve made life decisions based on this assumption-style of thinking. And it usually leads me to a place of depression, isolation, and withdrawal from the world.

Here are 3 ways I’ve discovered that help me to deal with this and I’d like to share with you. Feel free to try them out for yourself:

1.) I notice when it’s happening and congratulate myself for noticing. Great job Mike, you see it! And I’m careful to be gentle with myself, because this could go into self judgment and self-criticism if I’m not careful, thus I use the self-acknowledgement immediately.

2.) I can check in with the person whose thoughts I’m trying to think about and see if I’m correct. It’s important that I do this in a humble and loving way, as to approach them in an attacking or accusing manner. (ex. Hey Jim, I know this may sound a little crazy but I was thinking that you were thinking (fill in the blank). I’m not saying you actually were, I just wanted to check this out with you. It’s important to note that the person may or may not be honest, and that’s perfectly ok. At this point I make a choice to trust that they mean what they say. What I’m trusting is they have the right to think their own thoughts and keep them private if they choose, and so do I. This helps me to release the ‘need’ to know ‘the truth from them.

3.) I then let the thought go. I place the thought (s) in a little bubble in my brain and let it fly away. I say to my brain, “Brain, you are a magnificent tool, thank you for thinking for me and for other people too. I appreciate that about you, however I want to think my own thoughts from now on and I really appreciate your cooperation.”

I can assure you that it is a wonderful experience to ‘live in my own head’ and think my own thoughts, and trust that other people have the right to think their own thoughts in the privacy of their own brains.