top of page
  • Writer's pictureNicholas Pallesen

You Are Not Your Thoughts

A few years ago, I read a mind-blowing study from evolutionary psychologist David Buss. In the study, he asked a group a simple question: "Have you ever fantasized about killing someone?"⠀

The results? 91% of men and 84% of women said they had. Crazy, right?⠀

Wait, does that mean 91% of men and 84% of women are murderers?! Should we lock them all up in jail right now to prevent them from carrying out their fantasies? ⠀

Of course not. Having the thought doesn't mean you're a murderer at your core.⠀

But how often do we think stuff about ourselves and go, "Yup, that must be who I am and what I really think about myself"?⠀

"I'm an imposter. I'm anxious. I'm not good enough. I'm afraid of performing. I'm not loveable." And so on.⠀

I get why. We're taught that 1) we are our thoughts and 2) if we think something, we must actually believe it on a deeper level, otherwise we wouldn't even think it.⠀

But I really question that premise. I think I'm an imposter regularly! But I don't actually believe I am one. I just think it sometimes.⠀

I rarely think I'm good enough. But I don't think that means it's true. It just means I think it sometimes.⠀

I've had occasional thoughts of suicide. But I truly have no desire to end my life. I just think about it sometimes.⠀

Friends, I don't think having thoughts is a problem. It's when we think they're our thoughts and make them personal that it gets sticky.⠀

For me, moving beyond this isn't about getting "better" thoughts like so many teach. It's about seeing that we aren't our thoughts.

You're not the voice in your head. You're the one who hears it. Seeing that deeply for myself transformed my relationship to thoughts. Thoughts look more like an invitation now. We can play and dance with any of them we want, but we also don't have to hold onto any thought tightly or take it as gospel truth.⠀

If you're identifying with some heavy thoughts, get curious. Be willing to be skeptical. Ask yourself, "Is this true, or does this just look true when my mind is noisy?" And see what shows up.⠀

Who knows? Maybe you actually don't believe you're an imposter or whatever story’s currently playing - you just think you are sometimes 😉


Curious about the things I share here, and interested in a fresh perspective on mental health and performance psychology? Follow me on Instagram!


bottom of page