As individuals, we have certain ideas about ourselves, others and how our life could possibly turn out. These thoughts may have been ingrained during our childhood, from friends, the society and by our national culture.
According to Morgan in his book ‘Images of organisation’ 2006, individuals can become trapped by constructions of reality that give an imperfect grasp of the world. We can also become trapped by favoured ways of thinking.
‘I am from an average middle class family… I did average at school and expect to live an average life’ (Paul from Newcastle)
‘Black is the only colour that looks good on me…after all its slimming and my friends confirm this’ (Siohban from Leicester)
‘I would love to go to that exhibition, but I will stick out like a sore thumb. I don’t look cultured enough’ (Mikey from London)
These are just some of the thoughts that keep us trapped in a certain way of thinking and prevent us from exploring new things and reaching new heights.
The reality of psychic prisons
Very often, individuals are not aware that they are in some kind of psychic prison. This way of thinking feels like the norm and this the way things have always been.
Question is – Are those norms and thoughts serving you at this present moment for where you are at in life and where you want to be in the future?
If the answer is ‘No’ then it is time for a change.
Breaking free from your psychic prison (ART approach)
- Acknowledge that your current thoughts are unhelpful and are not serving you.
- Replace or reframe those thoughts
- Take action
Putting ‘ART’ into practice
Let’s use Mikey as an example:
- Acknowledge – Mikey, the art enthusiast is lacking self confidence in this situation which will cause him to miss out on a fabulous event. His thoughts are definitely not serving him. Mikey needs to acknowledge that these thoughts are unhelpful and be determine to have different and more constructive thought processes.
- Replace or reframe – Mikey should reframe his thoughts in this situation, for example:
‘I would love to go to that exhibition. It will be great to socialise with other enthusiasts and immerse myself in the great works on display. I will check the dress code to ensure I am suitably attired, do my research, show up to the and smile.’
These statements are positive and sets the stage for Mikey to start preparing mentally and physically for this event.
- Take action – Reframed thoughts should manifest in different courses of action as Mikey prepares himself for the occasion. Showing up to the exhibition is a major win for Mikey on its own. He should congratulate himself for taking these positive steps and feel a bit more confident to participate in similar events in the future.
Some psychic prisons may take a while to surface and individuals may need help with this as well as skills to replace or reframe unhelpful thoughts. Self-reflection is very helpful in this scenario. The ability to unbiasedly question your thoughts and motivation can be very worthwhile. Some individuals have this ability. You can also discuss with a coach or therapist. These individuals are great for helping us put things into perspective.
Unhelpful thoughts keep us in psychic prisons, so pay close attention to your mental health.
Personal change starts when we take control of our thought life