Sometimes (actually, far more regularly than just “sometimes”) my therapist says something that makes me go “woah, YES”. She puts things into a way that I have never comprehended. For that second, life all fits together and I feel STRONG. I can overcome my problems.
There are two related things she’s said recently. The first was that thought patterns and behaviours are just habits, and habits can be changed. The second was that thoughts to us are what weather are to mountains (go with me on this one!).
She’s totally right!
How many of us think changing a bad habit is achievable? Most of us, right? Sure, it’s going to be hard, a long process, and a bit of a pain, but it’s possible! If our eating behaviours are just habits, then we can change these in exactly the same way. For some reason I’d never thought of all of my problems as habits. I saw them as cemented to me and my being, refusing to be moved without completely changing myself. That's so far from the truth.
Her second point about us being mountains and our thoughts being the weather started off with a visualisation exercise. I was told to visualise a mountain, strong, unmovable, rooted to the ground. The mountain stands there no matter what the weather throws at it: it's defiant and strong. I then was told to bring the mountain inside of myself, to feel rooted to the ground to see the weather changing around me, just like the thoughts that come and pass over us. Sometimes they’re dark like clouds; sometimes they beat us up like the wind; and sometimes they bring us happiness and warm our souls like the sun. But they always pass and throughout we are the strong, rooted person.
We have to remember that our brains are not static. We learn, we forget, we can change ourselves. We can learn not to think badly about ourselves, we can learn not to mess around with our eating, we can learn to have a good relationship with food. These are all good habits that we can learn and we will also unlearn our bad habits. If we were not capable of this we’d all still be wearing nappies, we'd never would say please and thank you, and we'd never would look before crossing the road.
And whilst we work to try and change our habits, we need to remember that thoughts are only a minor part of us. Our thoughts are fleeting and can go as quickly as they come. Yes they can be painful and cause us damage, but they can equally be uplifting and make us feel thankful to be alive. We have the control as to how much our thoughts affect us: we can draw our awareness to them and simply watch as they pass on. We do not have to try and bury our thoughts, or dwell on them, or let them dictate our emotion.
We are mountains, and we are strong and unbreakable.