You are not your mind

The is the first post in a series where I reflect on 9 mind-bending epiphanies.

All day, every day, I have a constant stream of chatter running through my mind. Right now I’m thinking about the journal article I need to finish tomorrow and how I frustrated I am at the difficulty I’ve been having and I that I feel kind of stupid and that I’m afraid to publish it…in addition to all the things I “need to do” — like water the plants, make reservations at the condo for Thanksgiving, and so on. Typing out this list makes me realize that this constant stream of chatter is all about the future. There’s nothing about the present. At all.

I stop and take inventory of my other senses. I hear the hum of the air conditioner, typing, and mouse clicking. My legs are bordering on numbness because I’ve had them crossed for too long and my left ear is a bit itchy. I feel the warmth of my laptop and the comfort of sitting on the sofa with my legs propped up. I see my computer screen and my toes peeking over the top edge. There’s something inherently soothing about “checking in” with my environment. 

That I am not only my thoughts is an incredibly reassuring statement. So much of my self worth is wrapped up in my perception of my intellect and, more than I’d like to admit, my perception of how other people perceive my intellect. That’s incredibly warped. How on earth would I actually know what someone else is thinking? And isn’t it incredibly self-centered to assume that they are thinking about me? Yet, this is what I’m implicitly thinking when I fear presenting my work and sharing my ideas. Does it really matter if it’s not mind blowing and groundbreaking? Does it matter if it’s not perfect?

Spending so much time concerning myself with what others think is draining. Not to mention, I’ve developed awful personal boundaries as a result (but that’s a subject worthy of its own post). 

“I think the reward for conformity is that everyone likes you except yourself.”
-Rita Mae Brown

Actions steps:

  • Check-in with my thoughts, feelings, and senses at least 3 times during the day
  • Write a short reflection trying to objectively observe my thoughts from the check-ins


I had an anxiety attack of inadequacy last Friday evening. It was all my personal concerns about work and life (which in the grand scheme of things don’t really matter) compounded with all the awesome things that are happening in my Facebook friends lives. Comparing myself to what I see on my newsfeed is ridiculous, since everyone can meticulously curate their profile. I’m guilty of curating my profile — deleting things that don’t get any likes, posting life events that will generate lots of comments, etc. Once I calmed down enough (rather, the rational part of my brain finally gained control), I realized that I need to break the habit of checking Facebook whenever I have “a moment to kill.” Reading about other people’s lives sure as hell isn’t doing any good for mine.

Back when I was looking for a job after graduating, I spent some time looking at and reading posts on Raptitude. It’s an awesome site that I forgot about until today. I specifically want to focus on thinking about the insights pointed out in this post. My plan is to consider each point for a week and write at least one reflection during that time. I’ll see where that takes me in learning to become more mindful…

“Mindfulness is simply being aware of what is happening right now without wishing it were different; enjoying the pleasant without holding on when it changes (which it will); being with the unpleasant without fearing it will always be this way (which it won’t).”
– James Baraz