Break Through Unhappiness: Recognizing Selfish Thought Patterns
When we break the ingrained pattern of selfish thinking, it has the greatest possible return on our mental investment. It means freedom from the mental chains sang about by timeless vocalists, written about by generation-shifting poets, and portrayed by visionary writers. It is so easy to comprehend, yet so slippery to grasp in our hands.
Maybe you’re already aware that you don’t feel the best when you get into selfish thinking. If you’re into the mindfulness movement, you’re probably familiar with this concept and it certainly doesn’t come as a huge surprise. Yet, because of the programming of our culture, it is one of if the most challenging thought patterns to overcome, subconsciously.
Why is this pattern so deeply and unconsciously ingrained in us, and how does it affect our happiness? Understanding this can unlock a new reality, one where it doesn’t matter what you do for work, how much money you have, whether or not you have a romantic relationship or if you think you’re physically attractive. Happiness lies outside of all of that when you break the cycle of selfish thinking.
Unselfishness is the object of systems of thought called religions, it’s the muse of spiritual writers and it’s the subject of personal development classes that sell out worldwide. It’s the category of New York Times best-selling books, and it’s the wisdom served by the ancient sages of our time. In today’s modern age, our business blocks us from unraveling this systemic mental virus that keeps people from experiencing true heaven on earth.
How To Break A Thought Pattern
The thought patterns we live with are so deeply ingrained that they make up the fabric of our existence. These patterns affect how we judge and value experiences and they create our most basic driving force that leads to actions, words, and relationships. This root-cause belief system either helps us or hinders us. This is the area that all spiritual seekers pay the most attention to because it is what dictates our experience of life, and when misprogrammed, doesn’t allow room for joy.
So this programming, which in technical terms, is neurons firing in your brain, has deeply ingrained patterns, just as a cow walks the same path, wearing down the grass in a field. First, we need to recognize the pattern. For the most part, everyone, even you (yes you), has selfish thought patterns.
It won’t help to deny that the selfish thoughts are there, believing you’re on a spiritual high-horse, already above selfish tendencies. Even leaders of thought in our time are battling with selfish thought patterns on a daily basis. We will always need to be diligent in recognizing our default mode: to try to puff up our chests, brag to impress, or defend ourselves.
That may sound harsh, however, this is the truth. We are so deeply programmed that even when we think we’ve broken through the pattern, it sneaks back in through the cracks in our psyche where we are insecure and where we go on autopilot when we aren’t paying attention. When we are busy, we start really leaning on this system of thought because we aren’t consciously directing our thoughts to override the selfish pattern of the masses that degrades our auras on a daily basis.
You must work, moment by moment, to counteract the river of consciousness that leads to selfish thoughts. But hey, the truth will set you free.
How To Create A New Thought Pattern
To replace this strong undercurrent of selfish thinking, we use affirmations, take time to check in throughout the day, and meditate. We use the power of words (spoken and written) to retrain the deepest thought patterns of our unconscious mind. It takes time and patience and the work is never done. The moment you think you can dust off your hands and move on to the next project is just your ego tricking you, and that arrogance will trip you up.
What you need is a lifestyle with habits that remind you that, just as the sun rises every day, selfish tendencies arise even more frequently. So take a moment and breathe before you speak, drop the selfish thought and override it with a kind and loving intention. Before you enter a room, check yourself before you offend someone with one flick of the tongue.
It’s not even that people will feel your selfishness (which they will); you’re cutting off the growth of your own tree of life and you’re significantly suffocating your potential to enjoy life. Thus it becomes evident that acknowledging, owning, and redirecting your thoughts is the only logical option if happiness is the goal.
Keep practicing having an intention of loving kindness. Think of listening and helping. Think of being considerate. Think of ways you can uplift others. Speak with compassion, and do it not to make yourself look like a good person but because you truly care about the greater good. This will shift every action and word in your life. You’ll feed on information that aligns your consciousness with ways to be more loving and less defensive and selfish.
The good news is that when you make replacing selfish thoughts a priority, all your relationships improve. All your success potential comes much closer, your wellbeing improves and your fulfillment level rises. Bill Gates said, “as we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.”
We can’t just post these inspiring quotes on Instagram and continue to live our lives selfishly, expecting our happiness to go up. We must slow down enough to notice when our words have an agenda. We must slow down to set our intention in each moment to override the selfishness that most corporate companies thrive on, the insecurities that capitalism preys upon, and the momentum that this contagious and dark way of living infiltrates our consciousness, sucking the joy from our lives by disconnecting us from our ability to use our minds to create love and connectedness.
Start by journaling in the morning and night, and ask yourself how well you broke through your selfish thought patterns and where they appeared the strongest. Maybe they are strong when you’re around someone who is so kind they would let you get away with anything (maybe your mother). Maybe these selfish tendencies come out at work or when you’re trying to impress your crush. Wherever they are peaking their head in, they are hurting you. Write your intention to override these thoughts every morning and night and that will help create the momentum that will change your selfish thought patterns.
Related Article: The Secret to Self Empowerment: How to Set Intentions