My mind is mine …………. you cannot take it hostage!
One of the things I am very grateful to God for is that He created each and everyone of us with a mind of our own and he gave us full control over it. The mind is a very powerful thing, it is our will, our thoughts, our thinking and our ability to reason and to understand.
I like that you cannot read someone else’s mind and know their thoughts… past or present.The closest you can come to reading somebody’s mind is by taking clues from him / her in terms of their body language or spoken words in order to gain some insight into what is in their thoughts. How correct or accurate you are in reading the person’s mind greatly depends on how you relate with this person and how much he/she chooses to cooperate with you by confirming or denying what you’ve read. Otherwise if you encountered a walled person, you wouldn’t have any idea on what they are thinking.
Our mind / will (free will at that!) is a gift we all possess but how you use it is all up to you, it basically can be the determining factor in a lot of aspects concerning our health and well being. Of course our experience, culture and upbringing greatly shape and affect how we think and react.
I am one person that is fiercely protective of my mind and in maintaining its independence, while at the same time I am totally fascinated by the power of the mind and the imagination…. all we see and use today was fuelled by the power of imagination – the mind. This is why I love listening to and watching TED talks….. its all about ideas
So why am I very protective of my mind?
Growing up as a child and later on as a young adult, I went through some very tough situations that should have scarred me more than they did but the one thing I had and used effectively was my mind and thoughts. My mind was my safe place , a place I could go to and shut off my present unpleasant / tough situation . I developed a habit / skill of shifting my thoughts and building protective layers in my mind as a way of coping with difficult situations and most times that is how I have dealt with trauma….. probably it’s wrong but that is / was my way. This is why when I am in a tense or stressful situation, involving me in a conversation or asking me questions agitates me because I deal differently.
I remember when my father (Baba) had just passed on, the adults decided that the best way for me to cope with the loss of Baba was to go live with his younger brother hundreds of miles away from my mother (ma). Here I was alone, because my father whom I was very close to had suddenly gone and I hadn’t yet fully grasped the concept of death and then I was taken away from ma by strangers I had never seen (despite the fact that he was my father’s brother). I went from being the only kid receiving all the attention to being the eldest child in the household and to say that this took some adjusting to is an understatement (of course it was difficult on my uncle’s family as well having to adjust to me).
I must say that I never struggled academically in school, I was always among the top three pupils in my class. I was very competitive and always tried my best in exams and Baba always rewarded my good performance …. he always bought me a gift and would require that a special meal be prepared in my honour. So at my uncle’s home things were quite different. My good grades became a pain to both me and my aunt and it made me feel guilty for doing well in class. My cousin sister who was both younger than me and in a lower class was not doing well…(she has always struggled in academics) so my good grades were neither appreciated nor celebrated but my cousins rather poor performance was usually explained away and any slight improvement from her was greatly celebrated. It made me feel guilty for doing much better than her yet at the same time I felt stupid for wanting to fail so that my hosts wouldn’t feel so threatened.
This single act of segregation caused me to change from being a bold confident child that could speak before an entire school assembly and a parents meeting to a timid insecure crybaby. I found comfort in books and novels and the stories in those books took me to my happy place. I never involved my self in any school activities since I felt like any more achievement would worsen my situation. In retrospect though, I think that these actions were being mindlessly carried out without any thought as to how it was impacting me though it warped my identity and my sense of who I really was.
So as I grew older and gained some bit of freedom and independence , I started to be more aware of the power that my mind holds and how I could best use it in my favor. I realised that I could control my thoughts and what I let in, that you could not demean or belittle me if I didn’t let you and that I could choose my own truth and choose what to believe… but this realisation took time. I learnt how to speak to myself (some times loudly…. crazy ), I learnt how to encourage myself and build myself up and speak positive words of affirmation to myself and counsel myself. I learnt to reject things that people would say about me that differed from who I knew I was………….
This is why telling me what and how to think either through manipulation or trickery is very offensive to me and equivalent to an attack on the sovereignty of my mind …. I would rather we have a logical and calm talk ( when I am ready to) and come to an agreement or disagreement peacefully but do not impose your ideas or thoughts on me.
In a nutshell, I view my mind as sacred and untouchable. It is the one thing that I have grown up defending and protecting and that’s why I usually say that …. you can not take my mind hostage! It’s the one thing God gave me that I have full control over ….free will….. the power to choose what to let in and what to keep out.
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