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.
Ive 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 isnt its actually quite common, so dont be too worried if you find yourself doing it.
Ive determined that when Im, thinking about what someone else is thinking about what Im doing is assuming. (quick note here: There is something called Intuition and thats a little bit different from what Im talking about here, and I will talk about that in another article, and the differences). Anyways, the only persons 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 Im a mind reader, which Im not.
I dont really want to spend my mental energy trying to live in other peoples heads, because Ive noticed in the past that Ive 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 Ive discovered that help me to deal with this and Id like to share with you. Feel free to try them out for yourself:
1.) I notice when its happening and congratulate myself for noticing. Great job Mike, you see it! And Im careful to be gentle with myself, because this could go into self judgment and self-criticism if Im not careful, thus I use the self-acknowledgement immediately.
2.) I can check in with the person whose thoughts Im trying to think about and see if Im correct. Its 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). Im not saying you actually were, I just wanted to check this out with you. Its important to note that the person may or may not be honest, and thats perfectly ok. At this point I make a choice to trust that they mean what they say. What Im 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.