Conscious thinking is when you become aware of the thoughts that your brain is offering you on autopilot and you intentionally decide whether or not you want to continue to choose to think that way or decide to think something different. Conscious thinking is a skill that can serve you in any challenge or difficult circumstance that you're facing in your life. In this episode I'll be teaching you what conscious thinking is, why it's important for you to becoming a conscious thinker and how doing so will open you up to taking full control over your ultimate freedom, your inner self. In this episode you will learn:
The true power behind conscious thinking and why learning to do this can change everything about your divorce experience.
What most people think conscious thinking is and the differences between mind management and toxic positivity.
You will be given several different examples of unconscious thinking and conscious thinking blueprints and how each creates different feelings and actions which creates the overall experience in our lives. These are real examples from my own experience and my clients who have been coached by me.
How you can get more help learning this skill so you too can change your divorce experience.
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When you continue to believe everything that your brain tells you, you live your life feeling powerless to make changes, feeling like you're bouncing from circumstance to circumstance letting life dictate what your experience is and how you feel. You don't have to continue to live like this. You can learn the skill of conscious thinking and take your power back to live a life that you choose. Want to know how? Click here to schedule your complimentary discovery session with me.
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Full Episode Transcript:
Welcome back to Becoming You Again. I’m your host Karin Nelson. I’m a certified divorce confidence coach and this is the podcast where I teach you how to reconnect with yourself, create emotional resiliency and live a truly independent life, so you can have an even better life than when you were married.
Hi. I’m back with another episode of Becoming You Again. I’ve got a great episode today where I’m talking about conscious thinking but before I dive into that I wanted to let you know that I am starting a free group coaching call once a month. I remember when I was going through my divorce and I felt very isolated at times and it was a lonely experience. So I’ve decided to start a call that is going to help with that. Come join the call and listen to other women’s struggles and either listen to the coaching from me or get coached by me. This call is going to be an amazing opportunity for you to join a group of supportive women all in the same place and it will give you a chance to see what coaching is really like and to actually get coached by me if that is something that you choose to do. So how do you know if this call is for you? Well this free monthly group call is for you if you:
· Are separated, going through a divorce or are already divorced.
· If you are struggling with some aspect of your life during/after divorce.
· If you feel overwhelmed with where your life is right now and aren't sure how to get out of the rut that you're in.
· Maybe you’re stuck feeling angry or hatred for your ex and are tired of feeling that way.
· Maybe you don't know who you are any more and need help with steps to figure out who you are.
· Maybe you’re feeling unworthy, or unloved, or under-appreciated.
· Of if you want to learn to trust yourself again.
· Of if you need help forgiving yourself for past mistakes.
· Or maybe you’re just struggling to feel connected to your kids after divorce.
· Maybe you want to stop feeling lonely during this transition.
· Or maybe you just want to come be with other women who are going through many of the same things that you are going through to feel united, and connected and supported.
If any of those things resonate with you or anything else please come and join this free call. You will be able to sign-up for and hold your spot for the monthly call, like this month’s call and future calls and have access to the link to be able to join if you click the link in the show notes. That will put you on that list and then look for an email from me after you sign up on the list that is going to tell you when and where and all of the details. So this month’s call, September’s call is happening tomorrow. So I know this is late notice for some of you who are listening to the podcast. This is the first time I have announced it on the podcast but I have been announcing in my private Facebook group and so if this is the first time you are hearing about this call and it is not yet September 27 then go sign up for the call. It is going to be September 27 at 7:30 PM Eastern time and I will announce next month’s call much earlier but I really wanted to get this out there to people who are listening to my podcast to maybe are not in my group and don’t quite know about this yet. So again click the link in the show notes and you can get on that list to join the free call.
Alright so today I’m talking all about mindset and conscious thinking, because first I’m a mindset coach and I understand how incredibly beneficial it is to consciously think or manage your mind around any situation that is happening in your life. But also because I want you to understand on a deeper level how shifting your beliefs or the way that you’re thinking about something will have a profound impact on the experience that you’re having with your divorce.
I want to start off by telling you part of my own divorce story. My husband at the time we were very wishy washy with deciding if we wanted to stay together or if we wanted to get divorced. It was a constant topic that we talked about but neither was saying for sure one way or the other. I was on a walk one day because that we where I would go to clear my head and try and reconnect with myself and on this particular day I asked myself flat out, what do you want, Karin? And for the first time in I don’t even know how long but a long time for sure, I gave myself an honest answer and then I actually listened without judgement. I said I want a divorce. And the second that I listened without judgement and I really opened myself up to my knowing I felt immediate peace about my decision. I was light flooded with peace and calm and I knew it was going to be the right decision for me. But I didn’t just decide that I wanted a divorce. I then thought about the kind of divorce I wanted to have. I wanted my divorce to be different. I remembered a long time ago hearing an interview by Gwyneth Paltrow when she and Chris Martin were divorcing and she has mentioned a phrase that I had never heard before and she said that she and Chris Martin were going through a conscious uncoupling. I had no idea what that meant. I didn’t even research it at the time. I had no clue as to what she meant but I like the idea of that phrase. A conscious uncoupling. Now since, of course, I found out that it was a book written by women who had this way of teaching people to get divorced where it is more conscious and you are choosing the way you want to think and feel and behave but I didn’t know that at the time. In my own head what I decided that meant was I wanted my divorce to be different than what I had seen in society and what I had seen on TV where both sides were constantly fighting. And I had this thought that I wanted my divorce to look different and then I gave myself permission to believe that that was somehow going to be possible.
Now here’s the key. I didn’t know for sure that that was possible. I didn’t know if my ex would be on board. I didn’t know any of the steps to make my divorce work out differently. I didn’t even know any of the steps to getting a divorce. I had no idea what the future was going to hold. I had no idea if I would be able to pay my bills. I have no idea how any of this was going to work. All I knew was that I had decided in the moment that I wanted a divorce and I had an attitude that maybe my divorce could look different than most others. And I just kept that thought in my head throughout my separation, throughout the moments when we told the kids, throughout writing up the divorce decree, throughout signing the papers and then continuing on into the coparenting relationship with my ex and even to this day. I still think about my divorce in that way. My divorce has been different. That one thought changed the way I thought about my divorce. It changed how I felt. It made me feel really capable that I could figure out what my next steps were and the kind of person I wanted to be to create this experience that I really wanted.
This is the true power of conscious thinking and mindset work and learning to manage your mind around anything that is happening in your life. The true power is being aware of what you’re thinking in any given circumstance and consciously deciding if you want to keep thinking this way about it. Because when you learn to be in charge of how you think, then you can create any kind of experience you want.
Viktor Frankl wrote a book called Mans Search For Meaning a few months after being liberated from a concentration camp that he had been held at during WWII. This wasn’t his first concentration camp. He actually spent time I think in four different concentration camps throughout the war but before being taken by the Nazis and put in the concentration camps he was a successful psychologist in Vienna, and it was during his experience as a prisoner that he was in that he became an observer of the human condition. He says in his book,
“Even though conditions such as lack of sleep, insufficient food and various mental stresses may suggest that the inmates were bound to react in certain ways, in the final analysis, it becomes clear that the sort of person the prisoner became was the result of an inner-decision and not the result of camp influences alone. Fundamentally then, any man can, under such circumstances, decide what shall become of him – mentally and spiritually.”
So in essence what Mr. Frankl is saying is your experience is determined by you and the meaning that you give it. This is the power of conscious thinking. This is the power of learning to manage your mind; it puts you in charge of your ultimate experience. Not the world. Not the circumstances. Not your ex. Not your divorce. You get to decide.
When I talk about conscious thinking or mindset work people often get confused, and they usually think one of two things. The first thing they might think is that managing your mind means that you’re just going around living your life with toxic positivity believing that nothing is bad, nothing has going wrong, there are no hard circumstances because you’ve discovered positivity and so you’re just going to look at everything with rose-colored glasses and it’s totally perfect and fine. And that’s definitely not what I’m teaching you when it comes to managing your mind. I’m going to give you some examples of this in a minute but I want you to see that we are not talking about toxic positivity and pretending that there is nothing bad happening in your life. It’s just deciding consciously where you want your focus to be and I’m going to explain how you do that in a minute.
And the other thing a lot of people think when I’m talking about conscious thinking is that you’ve got to pretend that everything is fine and just work on your mindset harder even when things are not fine. Like picture someone walking around with their eyes closed and their fingers in their ears singing, “La la la, it’s okay that you’re walking all over me and mistreating me, because I know how to consciously think and I’m trying to believe that you’re nice and everything is great. I’m just going to start thinking those things instead.” And again, this is not what I mean when I’m teaching you about managing your mind. We’re not walking around just changing our thoughts about things so that we can think everything is amazing. Okay.
So learning to think consciously doesn’t mean that your life is now perfect or you’re never going to have problems or you pretend you don’t have challenges or you even let people mistreat you. That is not at all what it means. What it does means is that instead of using your habitual primitive brain to instinctively tell you how to think and how to feel and how to react to the circumstances that are going on around you or the challenges you are having in your life, instead you are intentionally deciding what you want to think that is going to serve you to the highest degree in any given circumstance.
At the most basic level mindset management means you always have choices to make that will determine your attitude or your own way no matter your circumstances. And as Frankl says in his book, “How you choose to think about something will determine if you are going to allow yourself to submit to the powers that would rob you of your very self, your inner freedom.”
Our inner freedom that Frankl is referring to is the power we have to consciously choose how we want to think about something which is going to ignite a feeling inside of us which is then going to drive us to act and these things together will overall lead to our overall experience.
When I’m working with my clients we use this think, feel, do framework all the time. I want to give you lots of examples so that you can see the how opening yourself up to conscious thinking can really make an impact on your life experience.
So the other day I was working on something that involved technology and I have had a long history of believing that I’m not very good with technology, that I usually can’t figure things out and it’s frustrating to have to deal with it. I’m trying to do this thing and it’s not working out the way I think it should, and I’m really getting frustrated and I’m confused and yelling at the technology, why won’t you just work? You know how we do when we’re letting our brain go on autopilot, and letting our emotions guide us into over-reactions and acting out on the frustration. Right? And then I felt tears swelling in my eyes and it was literally in that moment because I have been doing this kind of work, this recognizing my conscious thinking for a long time and so it comes to me much quicker than it did when I first started. But I recognized in that moment what was happening. So I took a deep breath in and really paid attention to what was going on in my head. I realized I was telling myself in that moment when the tears started, that I was telling myself that I was so stupid when it comes to technology – that I couldn’t even figure out this thing one thing that should be so easy. That was the thought that I had going on in my head. And I recognized it. That thought was making me feel inadequate and then I was yelling and I was over-reacting, and I was continuing to spin in confusion and frustration. And once I became aware of that my brain was telling me that, that’s when I realized I have a choice about my thinking. I can consciously choose to keep thinking that I’m not going to figure it out and this technology is stupid and I am stupid and it is all stupid or I can choose something that will be more useful to me. I decided in that moment to choose to think, “You’re really good at figuring things out and you can figure this out too.”
So I want to break this down into the blueprint of unconscious thinking and conscious thinking so you can see it a little better how it was creating my experience in those moments.
In my unconscious thinking blueprint it looked like this:
Circumstance was: The technology that I was using.
My thought is: I’m so stupid when it comes to technology.
The feeling this created was: Frustration.
Frustration fueled how I acted because I was yelling at the inanimate object I was trying to use. I was overreacting. I was spinning in confusion and frustration. I was crying. I quickly became very worked up.
And it was creating an experience of acting stupid with technology. Do you see it? I was yelling at this thing isn’t going to change even if I yell at it. I wasn’t looking for solutions to the problem. I wasn’t thinking about a different way of approaching it and trying to find an answer. All I was doing was working myself up and not finding a solution to the problem.
Here’s what my conscious thinking blueprint looked like:
Circumstance: The technology I was using.
My thought change to: I’m really good at figuring things out and I can figure this out too.
That created a feeling of capability within me.
When I fell capable what I did was I took a breath in and I let it out and I calmed down. I began searching for solutions to the problem. I realized that there are a lot of other people who have probably come across this problem and have figured it out. Maybe I should go see if they can help me now. So I googled what could I do. Read some articles. Watched a YouTube video. Tried several different things and finally figured out the one that worked for me.
My experience became I figured out how to use the technology the way I wanted. My circumstance didn’t change in either scenarios. It didn’t have to. What did change and what made the biggest difference was my thinking and how I felt and the way I acted because of that. I chose to consciously think about my circumstance in a completely different way and I became responsible for my own inner freedom.
Here’s another example. I had a client who was really struggling with her ex. She described him as a total narcissist who would do anything and everything like lie, drag on court proceedings, bash her to the kids and so much more to create a terrible divorce experience for her. She felt very powerless in her life and was terrified of what her future was going to look like having to coparent with this man for years and years to come until the kids were 18. Together we took a look at her unconscious blueprint and what that was creating in her life and then we came up with a conscious way of thinking about it that she could believe and move forward that felt good to her.
Her unconscious blueprint. I want to break it down for you.
Circumstance: Ex-husband abuses her through his words to the courts, lawyers and kids.
Her unconscious thought was: It’s so unfair that I have to deal with him and his narcissistic tendencies now and for years to come.
The thoughts created anger.
This anger had her showing up in some ways that did not serve her. She was constantly ruminating about how unfair her life is. She was spinning in self pity. She was continuing to retell her story of how hard life is to everyone, every chance she got. She was bad mouthing her ex out loud and in her head. So he is constantly taking up space in her head. She was bad mouthing herself for falling for him in the first place and allowing herself to stay as long as she did. She was comparing her life to others lives and she is feeling resentful toward others who had it easier. She sees herself as powerless in being able to parent or live her life the way she wants to.
All of this was creating the experience that she was continuing to let him and his actions dictate her life right now and moving into the future.
And so after coaching and talking through this and looking about it from lots of different angles, especially ones where I offered she needs to begin to have compassion for herself instead of judgement, she came up with a new way of thinking that was conscious for her and made her feel so much better so here’s her new conscious blueprint.
Circumstance: Ex-husband abuses her through his words to the courts, lawyers and kids.
Conscious thought now was: My life is harder because of this and that’s ok.
This thought made her feel: Confident.
When she feels confident her actions then began to completely change: She noticed that she was actually doing ok in her life. She stopped constantly focusing on her ex and his actions and instead started focusing on herself and her life now and what she wanted for her future. She began to notice how strong she is and how those strengths have really been born from the challenges she has been facing with dealing with her ex. She set some goals for her future that she wanted to work toward instead of focusing on the past and living in the past and she began to focus on her life right now and the kind of parent that she wanted to be and moving toward those goals into the future.
And the experience that she started to create was that she felt empowered to live a life where she focused on what she wanted rather than waiting around to see how his actions were going to dictate her life.
I hope you’re seeing the power behind conscious thinking and really choosing how you want to think about things instead of just letting your brain offer you any old thought and then you taking that as your only option that you have to live by.
With all conscious thinking and managing your mind the key is to choose thoughts that are believable in some way to you and they make you feel better and they make you feel empowered. If the thought isn’t believable your brain will reject it. And so a lot of working through new conscious thinking is trying on new thoughts and seeing how they make you feel. A lot of my coaching comes down to helping my clients see what their unconscious blueprint is, coming up with new conscious thoughts and then helping them try those on to see what would make a good fit. Not all new conscious thoughts are going to work for everyone. You have to try it and see what works for you in your specific situation.
I want to give you one last example to really hit it home for you. I was coaching one of my clients on her daughter. She had said that her teenage daughter was becoming very difficult to deal with. Her daughter was blaming her for the divorce. Her daughter was very upset that she had started dating. Her daughter was inviting her dad over to hang out at the house even though she had told her daughter and her ex that that wasn’t okay and that was not allowed. She was really struggling on what to do and how to handle her daughter in this situation. This was her unconscious blueprint.
Circumstance: Daughter is acting out.
Unconscious thought: She’s always been very difficult.
That created a feeling of exasperation and confusion.
Her actions when she felt this way were she was arguing a lot more when emotions were high. She became much more impatient and short tempered with her daughter. She was judging her daughter for being out-spoken and speaking her mind and telling her what she thought. Then all that made her want to pull away from her daughter and create space in the relationship and disconnection. She was blaming her daughter for the way she was feeling and then shaming herself for not being the kind of mom she thought she should be. Throughout this she is continuing to spin in confusion as to how to parent her daughter and brining up all the evidence from the past about how difficult it has been to parent her daughter.
The experience she was creating was it continued to be difficult to parent her daughter.
Throughout our session we talked a lot about how she wanted to think about her daughter and about this situation. The conscious blueprint that we came up with looked like this.
Circumstance: Daughter is acting out.
Conscious thought: Her strength of speaking her mind is a strength overused and she’s just figuring it out.
This made her feel compassion for her daughter.
When she felt compassion for her daughter she was much more curious and understanding. She had more patience and instead of pulling away and disconnecting there was the possibility of having conversations from curiosity rather than judgement which really creates a connection instead of disconnection. She was able to stop spinning and confusion about how to parent her and instead trust that if she can show up and connect she will know what to do next as her parent.
The experience then become she was figuring out how to parent her daughter with compassion rather than judgement.
Alright my friends, I hope that this episode has given you lots to think about when it comes to conscious thinking and really applying this to your own life and the many, many situations that you have going on on a daily basis. Just because you’ve been thinking about something in a certain way doesn’t mean that you have to continue to think that about it in the same way. You always have the choice to consciously decide how you want to think about it. That is where all of your power is. And if this is something that you find makes a lot of sense or that you are curious to know more about and you want a deeper dive with this into how it would look with your own life and your own divorce situation, then let’s talk about it and let’s talk about how I can be there to help guide and support you through this.
Learning to consciously think is a skill and it’s much easier to do with a coach who can see where the unconscious thoughts are holding you back and then help you come up with new conscious thoughts to try on and kind of talk you through it all. You can schedule your complimentary consult with me by clicking the link in the show notes. I still have a few slots open for September so if you want to get on right awake a schedule that today.
Alright my friends thank you so much for being here. Thank you for listening. I’ll be back next week.
If you like what you heard on today’s podcast and you want to know more about working 1:1 with me, you can go to www.karinnelsoncoaching.com and schedule your free consult to find out more. That’s www dot Karin nelson coaching dot com.
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