Beliefs Learning Life Mindset Self awareness

You’re not your Thoughts. You’re not your Feelings.

Awareness and mindfulness are teaching us that all our thoughts and feelings are impermanent, like clouds in the sky or waves in the ocean.

One of the more complex concepts to grasp is that who we are is not defined by our thoughts or feelings.

Thoughts and feelings come and go. They’re as fluid as the water coming out of your faucet. You turn it on, and it’s there. You turn it off, and it’s gone.

If only it were that simple with our thoughts and feelings.

Our brain is a powerful part of our body. It can make or break us if we’re not careful and believe everything happening inside our brains.

When people who are close to us keep repeating the same message to us repeatedly, we may eventually believe what’s being said to us.

Most of our beliefs about ourselves were created when we were younger when our parents kept repeating the same type of behavioral messages to us.

Beliefs are thoughts that have been repeated to us frequently.

Hearing from a very young age that you’re not good enough or, respectively, you’re the best impacts later behavior.

Low self-esteem or high self-esteem may be the consequence of such repeated messages.

If you suffer from low self-esteem and keep telling yourself this, you’re building a self-fulfilling prophecy. You must look at yourself in the mirror and say, “Enough.”

Another example. 

I’ve told myself for years that I’m a morning bird and not a night owl. 

I indeed like to get up early. I indeed like the stillness of the early morning, going through my routines and seeing the sunrise.

It’s also true that I have less energy in the evening. But don’t we all have less energy at the end of a busy day? Some just more than others. 

So it’s easy to stereotype your way, or my way, to being a morning bird.

And if you tell yourself that ‘truth’ often enough, it becomes a reality. 

But it’s nothing more than a bunch of thoughts repeated often enough so they feel real.

Feelings are very similar. They are the result of our emotions and thoughts from events and sensations happening to us. When you keep hanging on to them, they might turn you into, for example, an angry or a sad person.

Nothing could be further from the truth. If you treat your thoughts and feelings as temporary and work through that, you can choose a different outcome.

This is what awareness and mindfulness are teaching us. All our thoughts and feelings are impermanent, like clouds in the sky or waves in the ocean. Not one is the same.

My point here is that in life and business, we often need to make the time to create space and pause to become aware of what is happening around us.

We’re operating on thoughts and feelings that keep us moving but not necessarily in the right direction or pace. We’re constantly distracted. 

Our unconscious mind ensures we stay alive. We’re not building the awareness we might need by training our minds to take our thoughts and feelings for what they are. 


We can choose different outcomes if we do a better job of building that awareness for ourselves, our teams, and our businesses. Better outcomes.

Your turn: What thoughts are you not challenging?


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Erikjan Lantink
Business & Leadership Coach

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