I was driving cross-country and on a stretch of highway, through a town in Nebraska, it smelled so bad, worse than anything I’ve ever smelled before in my life. I remember thinking, those poor people, they have to smell this every day?! (at that point I was assuming that it was a constant smell, although now I realize that was likely not the case).
Then, I had another realization, Oh my…they’re used to it!!! With that, I went down a rabbit hole…I wondered what thoughts in my head are like this smell. Thoughts that are so putrid that if somebody listened-in on the inner chatter in my head they would be shocked, but since I am so mired in it, so used to it, I don’t even notice how foul they are.
That’s when I realized I could start to observe my thought patterns to become an educated consumer about which thoughts I allowed in and which could go in the junk pile. This is the idea behind metacognition (thinking about our thinking).
The chatter in our head becomes the story we tell ourselves about who we are. It is so important to rise above the weather systems of our inner-chatter in order to become aware of these patterns and become an active creator of our inner thoughts. This is the idea behind cognitive restructuring.
This type of restructuring can be especially hard when dealing with OCD and other mental health issues. If you have a mental health condition then it might be best to embark on this journey with a licensed psychologist or therapist.