Having Thoughts is like Riding the Bus

Hello my Zebras and Spoonies! Thanks for coming and hanging out with me, I’m glad that you are here. Today I want to share a metaphor with you: having thoughts is like riding the bus.

When you are riding on the bus, there are numerous other people who ride the bus with you. Some ride the whole trip with you while others will get on or get off part way through your journey. Each passenger on the bus is unique and full of character. Some are quiet and so unimposing that they might go unnoticed. Others are angry, loud and raging. But most are just like yourself. They are straightforward and trying to get things done.

Regardless of what kind of passengers share your bus ride, it is quite impossible for them to define you. How you respond to them will be what defines who you are. You can choose to ignore them. You can choose to stand up to them when they aren’t being nice. You can even choose to pay attention to them and encourage them to flower into something more. These choices that you make about the other passengers is what defines the kind of person you are. It does not matter who you travel with.

The most important part of this metaphor is that our thoughts are just fellow passengers in our mind. They have no power over us unless we choose to give them that power. Our thoughts cannot change our external world unless we choose to act upon those thoughts. We all have thoughts that we are not proud of and ones that distress us, but we do not have to take those thoughts into our being. Just let them exit the bus when their ride is over and watch them go.

All of us have nasty little imps that crouch in the corners of our bus and say some of the most awful things. Psychology has given many of these imps names. We call them depression, anxiety, rejection sensitivity dysphoria, obsessions and hallucinations. These imps know us very well and because of that they can say things that stir up our emotional responses and poke at old wounds. But, for me, happiness has not come from learning how to kick the imps off the bus. I have never learned that magical feat. What has brought me greater peace has been learning how to choose if and when I will engage with the imps at all.

Because sometimes we need to have boundaries that we draw in our own minds with the other passengers on the bus. Just like all boundaries, it isn’t about trying to control what the thoughts are doing, but rather it is about setting up rules for yourself regarding what you will do in response to their misbehavior. Sometimes that means doing nothing and other times it means engaging in coping skills and yet other times it might mean seeking validation. By having a plan we armor ourselves against them and allow ourselves to choices about our behaviors when we are not being emotionally triggered. This empowers us to make clear headed choices about the person be want to be.

All of this takes practice and there will be times that the imps will surprise you or hit you in an already tender place. Give yourself grace and know that few actions have the power to define us with a single implementation. Rather we are the pattern of our behaviors. We become a thing by doing it most of the time. No one is ever always or never much of anything in life. So allow yourself this wiggle room. Yelling once does not make you a loud person if most of the time you whisper. Don’t let a single yell cloud over all the whispering.

Well, that’s about it for my rambling today. Thanks for coming and spending some time with me. If you like what you read, click on that like button. It really does help! Until we talk again, you take care of yourselves!

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