Mind Reading | can we even read our own?

We spend a lot of time thinking about and analyzing other peoples behavior; what they think, what they feel, why they did something. We imagine that if we discover their thoughts we would then know or understand their motives.

But is this true?

Have you ever been baffled by yourself?

Have you ever examined your own feelings and then asked yourself over and over why you feel that way, and what thoughts or experiences are connected to it, and ended up confused…at a dead end…unsure of why you really behaved or felt or said or thought what you did?

I have. I do.

We all do.

We are often a mystery to ourselves.

When we forget this we can get lost sherlock-ing everyone else.

If our own self reflection leaves us confused and guessing and at a dead end, it’s helpful to remember that it goes the same with others. We could put a mind-reader-gadget-thing on someone’s heads, seeing their literal play by play thoughts, and still, have no clue what’s really, actually happening.

People are a mystery.

Rumi says “As the pen knows not of what it writes, I am unaware of what I’m doing here.”

Our own personal mystery can allow us to relax and stop stressing and waisting time trying to figure everyone out.

I’m reading a book on NLP right now (Neuro Linguistic Programming). In it they talk about the fundamental ways we miscommunicate with ourselves and others.

1. Deletions
2. Distortions
3. Generalizations
4. Mind Reading

Mind reading is the assumption that you know others thoughts, feeling and motives. Anytime we use language like “I don’t make good impressions,” “she doesn’t appreciate me,” or “you don’t know how much I do for you,” the subject takes assumptions about knowing someone else’ mind or someone knowing theirs.

We are not mind readers. We barely can understand our own mind and motives most the time. It can take years to get to the bottom of an emotion.

It’s one thing to observe, and describe a behavior, it’s another to know why it occurs and where it comes from.

We are a mystery to ourselves.

If we are a mystery to our own thoughts and emotions and actions, how much more others?

When we start from a different place, a place that says “I don’t know what you are or we’re thinking. I don’t know how you feel, and about what, and to what degree. I don’t know why you do what you do,” we set each other free.

We set each other free from assumption, from closed outcomes, harsh conversations, aggressive and controlling dynamics, unhealthy and unhelpful interactions.

We set each other free to ask questions, to journey into their own interiors and be ok not understanding it all.

Because, with all our own years of self questioning, have we really figured ourselves out? If you’re like me, probably not.

And so we can make a helpful switch—spend less time pondering and spinning and obsessing and examining and Sherlock-ing the people in our lives.

Love is not just a feeling, it’s a skill.

Self love is learning to set your own mind and emotions free from thinking about people’s shit all day. I can promise you that your brain and energy and heart and time were created for more important things.

So, we set others free to think and feel, and support them in not jumping to conclusions too quickly about who we all are and what we do. This gives people space to search and grow, and even when they come up with answers, we can all remember, they still probably don’t know. We make the best guesses we can along the way, don’t we? 🙂

And then, your mind can become productive and energetic and freed to love and create and experience the fullness of life, not being weighed down, lost in the mysterious world of another persons life.

Your life is too important.
Your time too precious.
Your emotional well-being to fragile to be tricked into thinking it’s fixing something when it’s not.

So set others free, but setting yourself free.

Spend your time reflecting and pondering and searching your own deep waters, pulling the plank out of your own eye, and then, when the time is right, you can help others pull out the spec in their own, because you know the fundamental struggle and time and energy and tears and years that goes into your own internal healing.

By sitting with your own mind, you know the patience and grace and love you must extend to yourself over and over as you hit those dead ends and come up with nothing, finding mystery after mystery, and then, your better equipped and positioned to humbly allow others that same time and space.