Your State of Mind; Negative Thinking Patterns
The steps towards an internal state of truth
We enter a world we do not know much about when we are born. The world we find ourselves in is one where we need to learn its limits and our limits and discover who we are. All of these happen gradually; learning, after all, is a process and a lifelong journey. From the moment we are born, we take in information about the world sensed by our bodies. The body is an essential learning tool; one cannot collect experience without it. What we experience, from the womb to the first time we see a smile, is information. There are various types of information, and the body is specially adapted to collect them. Your different sense organs, such as your nose, mouth, and skin, are all perfectly suited to pick out information in the form of sensations.
Sensations mainly refer to feelings resulting from interaction with a stimulus, i.e. anything that arouses activity, such as wind. For the body to store something as a sensation, it needs to interpret it in its own way as an experience. The body stores sensations, consequently holding the experiences. For the storage of the sensed information as experience, there needs to be a system that interprets the sensations making us became aware of it. Perception is becoming aware (conscious) of a sensation; if you become aware of it, you can interpret it as an experience. Therefore, information is sensed, then perceived and thus, an experience is born from all of this.
A question arises from all this; if you require perception to store a sensation as an experience, then what are children doing as they grow up? Children grow up learning and cannot be considered fully aware, so how do they interpret their sensations? The question sparked up some debates in the past, as for a long time, the claim and belief were that children are born empty slates and mainly learn from the environment. The idea mostly supported the nurture side of the nature vs nurture argument that John Locke, Freud and many more supported; however, many more countered it.
Carl Jung was among the people who did not believe that children are born empty slates. He argued that all human children are born with certain predispositions linked to the collective unconscious. The mind, like the body, has its pre-established individual definiteness; children are born with an innate personality. He argued that humans have a personal unconscious and a collective one. The collective unconscious serves as a system children are born with that interprets some experiences, like being attracted to cooperation from a young age. Studies have proven that children are born with certain personality traits. Jung's conclusion gives a base for understanding the studies because the collective unconscious serves as a beginning for children where they can start building their systems that perceive information as experience.
Children learn by interacting with their environment and within themselves, and according to Jean Piaget, they develop schemas. A schema is a framework for understanding the information presented to them by their environment. A framework is an underlying system for interpreting that information. For each and everything a child interacts with, a schema develops. If presented with new information the child has to learn, they will either have to assimilate that information into an existing schema or change it to suit the info: two factors influence schemas, one's environment(nurture) and ones meaning(nature). Interestingly, the base of a schema is the meaning of that individual; otherwise, if a schema were dependent on just one's environment, siblings and twins raised in the same background would turn out precisely the same. For this reason, pegging nature versus nurture creates an issue, as both are integral in shaping an individual.
As children grow up, their schemas grow into large systems that form thinking patterns influenced by their environment. Thinking patterns can consequently control thoughts and dictate behaviour and emotional responses. For example, children raised by dictatorial parents who constantly tell them they should be better or compare them unfavourably to others might sincerely believe they can never be good enough. They may also develop negative thinking patterns characterized by unrealistic standards for themselves and others. Consequently, this makes them prone to not only condemning themselves but others. The environment does not nurture a child's uniqueness and passion; instead, the schemas formed drive maladaptive thinking patterns that can eventually become a norm. Maladaptive thought patterns manifest as emotional disorders coupled with behavioural challenges.
Other social groups can directly or inadvertently reinforce the negative thinking pattern with reward systems. One is accepted when one exhibits an outcome regardless of the underlying negative thought pattern and unhealthy behaviour. An expert programmer can exhibit antisocial tendencies that manifest with lying and manipulation. Still, as long as they are among the best at fixing bugs, there is a high probability that the group they belong to may overlook and not correct the behaviour, praising them for a job well done and reinforcing underlying thought patterns. Therefore, the group supports his negative thought patterns of "I can do what I want as long as I am the best" that drive the behaviour. For action, the individual has to do something with a catastrophic outcome, such as embezzling money from the group. Yet, the same thinking pattern drives both behaviours.
Negative thinking patterns are dangerous because of their implications. The most significant inference is that having negative thinking patterns means that one has moved away from their meaning, who they are in truth. For this to happen, their system is not interpreting the information the way it is. Somewhere along the system, it gets distorted and, as such, is filled with lies that influence perception and how experiences are stored. Hence why two people listening to the same speaker can give very opposing opinions in terms of tone of delivery; one may say the speaker is helping them confront themselves, while another may interpret him as being rude and unhelpful.
To change negative thinking patterns, one must first identify and accept that their schema is distorting information resulting in lies propagating their mind. Acceptance is critical as it means one has decided to be aware of their system and can identify the distortions in their mind, making it easier to introspect and catch your negative thoughts and even the behaviours that trickle from them. It also means you are open enough to take in feedback from the environment. External feedback is not only about the words people speak to you; it's about being observant of the external environment giving room for learning as other people can mirror you to recognize the values you have lost. Objective observation of your external environment allows you to see your social group for what it is, its strengths and weakness; you can even see the distortions it upholds that you openly accept internally, facilitating change. However, to be able to analyze this objectively means to first confront your lies without hiding anything from yourself, as the discovery of the truth of a lie occurs by stating the lie precisely the way it is, no matter how painful. It is only then that you will begin taking in information the way it is, eventually aligning with your meaning.
However, while this is the case, it is essential to note that one might need help identifying lies, as one may not be objective when your system has lies. Since the system that allows you to be aware has been affected in the first place, one needs something that teaches them the truth to identify the lies. One will need to learn to be mindful of their thoughts, which are the perfect tools for tracking lies. One also must recognize and acknowledge that their inner world is as significant as any other and that whatever happens there is severe and has consequences. Consequently, internal statements go a long way; it is just a white lie, it won't do anyone harm is a minimization of what lies do to you internally. Also, avoid group thinking; group thinking will only lead you back to your old system; the journey is personal and not of a group, and one has to accept it the way it is. One has to recognize that the truth is never with the masses.
Therefore, one needs to identify a belief system that acts as a mirror, mirroring your system and helping one identify the lies in systems. This personal journey requires one to be sure that what they use as a mirror is the truth. For this reason, having a belief system that is the truth is critical. If one is genuinely interested in finding the truth, they will find it, and as such, if they stick to it, they will be healed and emerge a new being with a system that aligns daily with their meaning. The key is consistency and endurance with the journey, as you learn many things, like patience, kindness, empathy, self-control, perseverance, and genuineness.
Genuineness is a virtue that many take for granted but is essential in the process as you have to look at yourself in your mirror and accept all your parts. By upholding a genuine, objective, and non-condemning view and analysis, you address the negativity, and every day, you become free as you awaken to who you truly are.