What is Reflective Thinking?
The Solution: A Shift in Thinking
How we think is not only the problem, it is also the solution for change. How we think drives emotions and thought patterns that influences our perceptions of ourselves, our lives and how we relate and interact. Attachment Thinking, where we hold in our thoughts and generate fear-based emotions and thought patterns, is very problematic in our lives as it is destructive. A solution is therefore needed. This solution is what I call “Reflective Thinking”.
What is Reflective Thinking?
Reflective Thinking is vastly different to Attachment Thinking. We do not generate fear-based emotions and thought patterns and we do not live our thoughts, constructs in language as real or permanent. Instead we live them as thoughts only that come and go continuously.
We are also able to reflect on our thoughts, become aware, conscious of what we are constructing in language and be responsible for them.
Our emotions are also very different. In Reflective Thinking we return back to our natural biological state, trust. This is our natural way of being. As this is our prime emotion or state, we can not only realize our potential and do more, we can also think in expansive and creative ways that are not possible in Attachment Thinking. Attachment Thinking limits what we can do and how we can think. Reflective Thinking expands what we can do and how we can think.
It is also important to note that when we do Reflective Thinking and return back to our natural state, trust, we return back to our calm, normal, natural selves. And when we do this, the thought patterns and emotions that show up are universal no matter what language we speak or where we live in the world.
What Shows Up in Reflective Thinking?
In Reflective Thinking we do not hold in our thinking. Instead, we reflect. We are aware and conscious and aware that our thoughts, constructs in language, come and go. We do not live our thoughts as “real” or “permanent” realities. They are thoughts only. We are not stuck and trapped in our thinking such as when we hold on or attach to our thoughts. We are free. We are free to think in creative and expansive ways. We are able to explore the consequences of our thoughts, outcomes for example, and act with responsibility. We make conscious, wise choices and decisions.
In Reflective Thinking as mentioned above, our core emotion or state is trust. Trust is our natural biological state. As a result, we are calm, peaceful, content. We are able to experience joy, love and happiness. The emotions that we seek in Attachment Thinking (love, joy, happiness, contentment and peace) show up in our natural state. This means that what we search for in Attachment Thinking is not external to us. These emotions show up in our natural state.
All of the destructive thought patterns that show up in Attachment Thinking such as lost and alone, not good enough, scared, confused or don’t know what to do, do not show up in Reflective Thinking. Instead, we are confident, self-assured and back in charge of ourselves and our lives. We are strong, open, sincere, genuine and authentic.
Common thought patterns are:
- We trust in ourselves and life in general. We are no longer in fear so there is no need to control.
- We are confident and self-assured in the conscious choices and decisions we make.
- We care about others and the world around us.
- We are the instigators for what we choose to do in our lives. We are free to explore possibilities and pathways in creating, constructing, the journey that is life.
- We are in charge of and responsible for what we choose or not to do in our lives.
Changes that Occur in Our Thinking
There are a whole range of changes that occur in thinking:
- We become conscious. Conscious thinking is: aware, reflective, open, expansive, creative, decisive, productive and pro-active.
- We have the ability to think clearly, calmly and rationally.
- We are able to reflect not only on our thinking, but also our actions, choices and decisions and whether we want the consequences of those or not.
- We become wise and intelligent. We are able to think with hindsight and foresight. We have the ability to make wise intelligent choices and decisions.
- We think and act with responsibility. We can reflect on the impacts and consequences of outcomes (our thoughts and actions), and choose responsibly.
- We can think in lateral, creative and expansive ways.
Our Perspective on Life
As our perspective on life changes in Attachment Thinking, the same applies to Reflective Thinking. We perceive life as a journey, a multitude of experiences and actions that we choose to take and thus are responsible for. Life is therefore not about the outcome or destination as the be all and end all of life. It is about the experience or experiences.
We are the instigators of the journey that we choose to do and take in our lives. We are in charge and not life, what happens in Attachment Thinking.
We also live life in the moment, the present that is ever changing, unlike in Attachment Thinking where we constantly live in a constructed past or future and never in the moment.
We are aware that we are part of the bigger picture of life and see ourselves as interdependent and interconnected with it. We live in belonging and not separation and isolation. This awareness is not spiritual. It is an awareness of the actual reality of life, that we co-exist in an interconnected web, socially and environmentally, that is ultimately the web of life.
Awareness of Attachment and Reflective Thinking is essential for choosing how we want to live our lives, as they both have very different consequences.
To help with this awareness, a Table was written in the book to be used as a quick reference guide in daily life. This outlines details and insights into Attachment Thinking and the solution, Reflective Thinking. Awareness however comes first because without that, there is nothing to work with.
Breaking the Cycle of Attachment Thinking
To break the cycle of Attachment Thinking, the two thinking tools for change can be used to return to back to our calm, normal, genuine and authentic selves.
The Table and Thinking Tools for Change
To learn more about Attachment and Reflective Thinking in general and from the Table (more details and insights) including how to break the cycle using the two thinking tools for change, you can purchase a copy of WTF?!...How am I thinking? from Amazon.com.
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Stay tuned for more insightful posts on Reflective Thinking over the next coming weeks!