You are not your mind.
The first time I read those words, I was stopped dead in my tracks. So much philosophy built up in those five words. What does it even mean?
It doesn't seem accurate at first. You think, "Isn't my mind, my thoughts and my ideas...exactly who I am?"
The answer, however, is no. That is just one part of the many things that make you, you.
You, and your life, are measured by experiences. The things that go on in your mind are just one aspect of your life's experiences.
As my own worst critic, I often see myself as the dismantled, unorganized chaos that is my mind. Like most others, it wanders, it stresses, it imagines it's own scenerios and situations (that will probably never happen), and brings up past experiences at the worst possible timing.
How exhausting is this? Seeing yourself as nothing more than this chaos going on in your brain?
When we confuse our brain activity with our sole identity, it's easy to get lost. It's easy to look down on yourself or think negatively about who you are. It's easy to lose sight of the things that actually make you who you are.
I am not my mind.
I am a student. I am a daughter. I am a sister. I am an aunt. I am a girlfriend. I am a writer. I am an advocate. I am my own personal comedian. I am a hard-worker. I am smart. I am giving.
I am so much more than just how I think.
While we can train our minds over time to work for us rather than against us, this still isn't enough to turn this unorganized chaos completely off.
No matter how hard you try, your brains will not stop thinking on your behalf. Trust me -- I've tried.
Knowing this, we still confuse the role our mind really plays on our identities. We start to believe the chaos being manufactured in our head is actually who we really are.
I am an over-thinker. I can be a bitch. I think this about myself, I think that about myself. I am my anxiety and my depression -- whatever it may be.
The worst part, is that if you aren't aware you are doing this, it's a hot breeding zone for these thoughts.
The more we depend on our own twisted thoughts and ideas to solve our 'identity crisis,' the further we get from actually solving it. In fact, you will be more lost than ever.
So, how do you fix this?
I wish I had clear cut answers for you -- but the journey of self-definition and fulfillment is different and unique for everyone.
You can however, start here:
Instead of thinking of your mind as what defines you, think of it more as a frenemy -- a frenemy you're deemed to spend the rest of your life with -- a frenemy that is yours, but is not you.
The mind is often compared to an impulsive child. Your mind is not capable of making proper decisions. You, your intelligence and your experiences ultimately define how you answer questions, how you react to situations, and who you are as a human-being.
"The most decisive event in your life is when you discover you are not your thoughts or emotions. Instead, you can be present, as there is awareness behind the thoughts and emotions." - Eckhard Tolle
We should be defining ourselves by more than just our mind. We are a combination of our experiences, our body, our spirit, soul, and our mind.
No matter who you think you are -- we all have greatness. We are not our minds.
Don't lose yourself in your own brain.