Thinking about thinking

Have you ever been caught in that endless loop of a song going round and round in your head? You know what I mean, right? You hear maybe a single word and then it sets off a song in your head that sticks with you for what seems like hours on end…

That happens to me far more than I like to admit. In fact, I was asleep the other night and in a dream the Boston song “More Than A Feeling” was going round and round in a loop. In. My. Dream!

My wife calls it an “ear worm.”

But what makes little sense to me about ear worms is that whenever it happens to me, it’s only happening inside my head.

If that’s the case, then why is it so hard to just stop it? And if I do stop, then why do they come back again and start looping so soon after I have told myself to stop?

Has this ever happened to you?

One of the weirdest things about the mind is that we have complete control over our thoughts. Unfortunately, most of us fall victim to allowing our thoughts to control us. Controlling our thoughts is a birthright; but somehow, no one has ever taught us how to think about how we think.

Read that again. No one has ever taught us how to think about the way we think…

When I was in high school, I once told my father, “I don’t want to be told what to think, I want to know how to think thoughts that make me feel good.” I also remember saying that I wanted someone to teach me how to study rather than teach me subject matter.

Funny thing is, those two things went hand-in-hand; and I never realized that until I started thinking about the way I think. Thinking about thinking is called metacognition—it’s the term that defines thinking about the way we think.

Metacognition is an important, albeit often overlooked, step toward being present and mindful in every moment. For me, one of the greatest gifts I gave myself during the time of processing Suzanne’s death was the gift of learning about metacognition.

It allowed me start observing my thoughts in a way that helped me to stop from falling into a victim mentality; and it allowed me to give myself the grace to understand that “I am not my thoughts.”

Learning that I was not my thoughts was life altering. And it changed my relationship with myself and with my grief.

Metacognition and mindfulness completely opened my eyes and my heart to accept where I was: in my life, in my healing journey, and in my relationship with my grief.

While it may have cost me thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours of therapy, coaching, and learning before I got to this point, I can say that I have never truly been more peaceful or at ease with my life and my Self.

And it opened the door to so many new experiences, and people, that I can never truly express how important it was to my recovery. I hope you will understand how important it is to grasp these concepts and find the grace to allow yourself to discover ways to think about your thoughts, learn to control them and your feelings, and start moving forward in your life with purpose and love for your true self.