The second component of our True Self is our reasoning mind—what we might call our intellect or our logic. Our reasoning mind analyzes, deduces, observes, understands, plans, and concentrates. It is conscious, active, and often creative. It looks at evidence and makes judgments based on what it sees. The reasoning mind is a neutral force, but it can be used enhance intimacy or to sabotage it.
The reasoning mind can enhance intimacy by:
- Staying in the present moment rather than thinking about past or future
- Properly discerning emotional cues from self and others
- Thinking in positive, realistic ways
- Understanding and accepting the thoughts and ways of others, allowing differences to occur without experiencing distress
- Gathering and analyzing information to better understand yourself and your relationships
- Updating your beliefs based on new knowledge and experience, leading you to develop improved methods of cultivating intimacy
- Helping you manage life circumstances
- Tempering emotional overreaction
The reasoning mind can impair intimacy by:
- Using negative thinking or negative self-talk (listing reasons why you are such a failure, for example)
- Creating stories/reasons that sustain negative emotions
- Valuing logic above all else
- Engaging in destructive patterns like rationalization, suspicion, minimizing, or judging
- Having a lack of mental discipline that may result in poor concentration, distraction, or inability to initiate or follow through
The reasoning mind works closely with our feelings. In fact, it is often difficult to distinguish feeling from thought or to know which comes first. We often use our thoughts to perpetuate a negative emotion, to build a story around it to justify or sustain it. When we use our reasoning mind to foster unhealthy emotions, we are separating ourselves from others and making intimacy difficult to achieve.
How do we control our thoughts? The key, perhaps, is not to use the word “control.” Instead, use the words “allow” and “observe.” If we find that we are stuck in a negative thought cycle, which in turn is activating our fearful, angry, or anxious emotions, it’s time to take a deep breath, focus on the moment, and practice observing what our mind is doing rather than investing in it.
The following four steps may help you release a dark thought pattern and generate a better one to replace it.
- Step 1: Accept the negative thoughts. Don’t panic.
- Step 2: Forgive yourself for having negative thoughts. Allow and observe them.
- Step 3: Ask for help. Send up a silent prayer for release from the thoughts.
- Step 4: Express your willingness to change your thoughts. Something as simple as, “I am willing to think differently about this” can bring about incredible change.