By Conner Yarbrough
Blog Content Contributor
It’s not uncommon to hear people say that we are “our own worst enemy.” And, though (abstractly) applicable to our conscious destruction of the natural environment that will ultimately lead to our demise, I want to use this time we have together to really dive into the power of our thoughts and how they relate to our personal lives.
Often, most of my best thinking occurs in the shower or right before I go to sleep. These places remind me that, no matter how busy I may be and no matter how much has changed as I find myself faced with “adulthood,” I am still Conner. While this might sound cliche, I believe that the most productive step someone can make in their life is to know who they are and to think about themselves; to be consciously selfish in order to achieve their goals.
In my bout as a theatre student, the most important note I ever received from my director was to understand my character until I could think like them. That, by doing this, I would become the character rather than wear their experiences as a facade. My performance quality may have been questionable, but this lesson continues to beg an important question. If I don’t work to critically think about myself and my actions, how can I expect to (in the short-run) respect myself and (in the long-run), grow as an individual? Like a good communications student, I’ve realized: our perceptions of ourselves impact our self-esteem and thus the way that we interact with the world around us.
As children, I’m sure that we were at some point all told by some beacon of authority, “think before you speak.” I shut up on the spot and remember always feeling embarrassed in the same way I did when my mom would use the word “disappointed” in reference to my actions. Now, I understand how words reflect thoughts and are the key to creating and maintaining relationships. Our thoughts are the precursor to all forms of both verbal and nonverbal communication, essentially affecting every corner of our existence. This may seem obvious, but in a world where the President of the United States can brag about using his authority to sexually harass younger women and can publicly mock an autistic reporter without being reprimanded, even the obvious needs to be explained.
Sometimes our conscience needs to become more conscious. How can we truly be ourselves if we don’t understand ourselves? A question that can be answered just like any other. With a thought. An honest thought. A thought that praises and challenges when appropriate. A thought that respects but does not withhold criticism. We can enter the world with an awareness that our thoughts do have an impact, no matter how personal or global.
(But that’s just a thought.)
Featured image courtesy of Conner Yarbrough.