What Thought do You Keep Going Back to?

How often do I catch myself ruminating on something that keeps bringing my emotions or feelings into my current situation? Does revisiting something several times help me or does it create a future that isn't really serving me? Join JJ and Melissa as they explore their own perspectives.

November 16, 2021
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Melissa Albers  0:01  
Hey, everyone. Welcome to the self awareness Journey podcast. I'm Melissa Albers.

JJ Parker  0:06  
And I'm JJ Parker. This podcast is for seekers, seekers of happiness and joy seekers of a centered approach to success in life. Seekers of their true authentic selves.

Melissa Albers  0:17  
Get ready for some real talk on everything from anxiety, emotions and habits to love, compassion and forgiveness. We know you'll be challenged and enlightened by this conversation. We're so glad you're here. Let's dive in.

JJ Parker  0:34  
Last week, I was having breakfast with my business coach. And we were doing all go through our regular list of stuff, right? All the business stuff where all of our financials metrics were and how we're doing on it all our goals and eggs. Exactly. And you just say exactly, exactly. And we're like, an hour into our conversation about stuff. And I kept getting towards the end. And he goes, Hey, JJ, I have a question for you. Right, and you just kind of teed this up in a particular way, right? Because I was wondering, what thought or or memory do you keep going back to? Right, what thoughts do you keep going back to? And I thought that was like a strange question. And but it really gave me a lot of pause, because I really didn't know how to answer it.

Melissa Albers  1:38  
Yeah, I actually was sitting here thinking the same thing. I was like, I don't know. And what does that mean? Like armchair psychology pops right out? I've got the pipe. Right. What are the notepad? Yeah. Does that mean?

JJ Parker  1:56  
As yeah, as you can imagine, like, I just sat there, while my brain went 1000 miles an hour. I don't know how long I was sitting there in silence thinking about this question before I said something.

Melissa Albers  2:10  
So what did you say? How did you respond? Well, you don't have to say the thought if you don't want to, or do you?

JJ Parker  2:16  
Well, here's this was the this was the thing that I, I came back with immediately because it was the first it was really the way I tried to rationalize this question. What I told him, was that, that I don't, I don't have one i or at least I try to not have one. Because to me, if I'm going back and thinking of something over and over, and I'm going back to that thought, yeah, that's not a place I want to be ever, right? Because that's me ruminating on something. And that's me getting stuck on something in the past, and don't want to spend any time there.

Melissa Albers  3:00  
And can I let me ask you something? What does that represent for you? Why don't you?

JJ Parker  3:08  
Because I don't, cuz there's no value to me. Back there thinking about past things? Right? Like, like, good or, and so what I told him that, and he said, Well, yeah, okay, that might apply to things like bad things or things you're not proud of. But what about what about good things? I was like, yeah, no, I don't want to spend any time back thinking about the good things either. So because that would be attachment. Right? That would be me, like, overly desiring a thing that was in the past that I don't have now.

Melissa Albers  3:47  
Okay. Okay. Oh, that's really interesting. So you're bringing it? Oh, that's really? Yeah, I love I love this conversation. Because I did not think about it like that. I thought about it immediately, which I'm sure is knowing this business coach, like we both do. I'm sure the what was behind his question was is there something in your history that is either preventing you from something now? Or is it something that spurs you forward now? Yeah, so I'm sure he was asking, Well, I'm just, I'm guessing he was asking that question. Not expecting you to answer like that, because most people probably would ruminate on something. And they tell themselves stories about something over and over again, without realizing even that they're doing it. And if they do realize it there, there's probably emotion attached to it. Either anger or frustration or sadness on the on the on the shadow side. But then on the sunny side, Joy expectation enthusiasts awesome. You know, like, you could take any subject, you could take any subject, like, let's just take you and I talking about the self awareness journey. We had a company prior to this, that was sort of the same, it really wasn't. But the, the intention was the same, like you and I wanted to build something for the betterment of mankind. And

JJ Parker  5:27  
that sounds like a lofty goal.

Melissa Albers  5:32  
Well, we were, we really were. And then when we were building the beginnings of the self awareness journey, let's be honest. How many times did we go back to Oh, yeah, thinking about something from the past experience as it related to now? Because it felt the same. It was sort of similar, not exactly same people, same. Same situation? Not really, but Right. So I think it's very normal for people to tumble back into something from their past when they're trying to create something for their future.

JJ Parker  6:05  
Yeah. And even us using our experience there anytime. Like, I come across one of the competitor companies from the neurology get days, I get like, stuck for a little while,

Melissa Albers  6:20  
and you send me the link.

JJ Parker  6:21  
And I said, Yeah, right. There's these guys. How did these guys make it?

Melissa Albers  6:26  
And there's usually a swear word at that.

JJ Parker  6:30  
But then we weren't we just tried, like, you know, which I can't I try to catch myself in that in that time, and then just move on and try to let it go. And yeah, that's the hard part. The hard part is letting it go. Right.

Melissa Albers  6:42  
Yes. Yeah. Well, no, I think that's the second hard part. I think the first hard part is even realizing you're doing it. I think that is the first hard part. And that is the whole piece that we talk about all the time is, are we actually aware of who we really are. Are we aware of the things that we think about? Are we aware of the feelings that we're carrying around in a bucket with us all day, every day? Are we aware? Because if we're not, it doesn't matter, we're still carrying that bucket. And it's, it's it affects us one way or the other. Right? So I think that's the first awareness is so that question. And I have to tell you, when I heard that question, it sort of annoyed me because it felt like,

JJ Parker  7:25  
wow, yeah. How did you walk through that question in your brain?

Melissa Albers  7:30  
Well, first of all, one of the things that I'm always working on is being more transparent about what I consider to be vulnerable things within me, I don't, I have always struggled with setting my ego down and being transparent and explaining a feeling I have an emotion that I have, that I feel either embarrassed about, or I feel guilty about, or I'm not sure how I feel about it. So when you ask a question like that, it immediately brings me to this posture where I think to myself, ooh, wow, why does Why does He ask, Why does he want to know that? And so that's what I did. I went right to the Why does he want to know, which shows me I'm being defensive about something

JJ Parker  8:15  
right? Yeah. defenses up, like, Yeah, let's not dive into this.

Melissa Albers  8:19  
So that would just lead me if I'm being totally transparent and authentic, that would lead me my next question would be well, that's interesting. Why did I do that? Why do I feel like that?

JJ Parker  8:32  
Melissa, and I are huge self awareness, nerds, we've been working on this stuff for a really long time. And we love talking about it and sharing it with all of you, we've actually brought all of the stuff we've made into an online course. And we think it's really great. The course starts by learning about yourself, and how your mind body connection works. It dives into your thoughts and feelings. And then helps you learn how to become your true authentic self. Start your journey today. Head to the self awareness journey.com to learn more and sign up

Melissa Albers  9:11  
and so that's where I went like, and I couldn't even get to the part about what what are the things that I keep going back to in my thinking, and and then so I thought that and then just listening to you talk about how you try not to do that. But you do it to like everybody does that. Yeah. And then you went to a place of your belief system, your really core spiritual belief of I'm working to not have any attachments, which would include past thoughts, and I really, I appreciate that. And yet, and yet we still do. And then how do we reconcile that right? So that's where I went first. And then if I'm really honest about how I would, what I what are the things that I go back to things About and you know what, when I'm quiet, and I'm not, I'm not really thinking or realizing that I'm thinking. I'm telling myself stories. And what I tell myself stories about if it's in the past would be either things that I did that I wasn't proud of, or things that other people have done that have hurt my feelings. Isn't that crazy? Yeah. I didn't even notice that till just now.

JJ Parker  10:31  
And I don't know that it's crazy. It's not crazy.

Melissa Albers  10:33  
Yeah. I mean, that's probably really probably pretty normal. Yeah, yeah, I would say so. Yeah. And if you think about that, just being really vulnerable for a minute. Like, if you think about that, people doing that all the time, because you're right. I don't think it's that crazy. It feels pretty normal to me. Yeah. Which is, I think what a lot of people that are a little out there think, Oh, this is totally normal. So I think I've just put myself in a camp, but that's okay. Not really. Anyway, I just think that's interesting thing to think about, you know, it's like, oh, I felt a little defensive about that. Why is that? Oh, because maybe some of the things that I'm thinking about, I realize are not helping me. Maybe, right.

JJ Parker  11:18  
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So when, when I was talking to him about not trying to spend any time in the past, actually asked, well, how do you learn any lessons, then? How does like, you not thinking about things like the past? How does? Like, how does it kind of like that affect your future? Right. Yeah. Which was because he was trying to get his brain probably on my like, unexpected answer. Yeah. Yeah. Right.

Melissa Albers  11:51  

JJ Parker  11:56  
But it made me think about this idea that like, your, your past past events past, you know, things that happen to you the way you look at the world, like all you know, they don't care whole past experience, right? Affects who you are today. And the question is, how does it affect how you are in the future? That's what his question was? How does that How do that? How does your experiences from the past? How does that affecting who are becoming in the future? And again, that was like another really deep question for me, because possibly what I was in the past does not, does not dictate who and how I perceive things in the future. Right? Or how I look at my past experiences, not my future experience, like those things are disconnected.

Melissa Albers  12:56  
Well, so that's another interesting thing. How did those experiences of the past affect your future to me? Herein lies the the the why in the road? Yeah, if you have an experience. Let's say you're running across the parking lot, you weren't watching a car backs out and hits you. Right? That's an experience.

JJ Parker  13:20  
Random example. Let's go with it.

Melissa Albers  13:26  
That's a weird example. I didn't sleep very well. But let's say you process that and you say, Well, that wasn't that cars fault. Oh, my goodness, I was in a hurry, and I wasn't even paying attention. And how stupid of me or how silly of me if you don't have judgment, like, wow, that's one way of processing that. Another processing manner would be every time I run out, that's what happens. I can't believe that guy did that. That's all that guy's fault. So you have just a very benign example. But there's two really different ways that you can emotionally process that experience. It's like taking responsibility or giving the responsibility to somebody else. And how does that change then in the future, the next time that you're in a parking lot, and you're late? Do you look for people that you think are going to do you wrong? Or do you say, Oh, I learned something from that last experience? I probably ought to look a little closer. I mean, a really simple example but

JJ Parker  14:24  
like only walk behind small cars, not large cars, for

Melissa Albers  14:28  
sure. Smart cars, actually. There's so many of those in Minneapolis. Not I think I've seen like three ever. But yeah, I so I think it's almost not even just the experiences of our past that inform us of our future. But I think it is how we feel and process those experiences that affect our future. And that's the only interesting thing to me. Because let me ask you because he's, he's asking kind of a good question. How do you bring joy into Growing yourself with the absence of past stories how do you bring joy to your current experiences in the absence of using old experiences?

JJ Parker  15:24  
Yeah, you're implying that we're like comparing old experiences to current experiences, right?

Melissa Albers  15:34  
Are we? Yeah. Yeah. That's what I'm wondering. Oh, this is so interesting well about.

JJ Parker  15:43  
I'm also not a fan of comparing a box,

Melissa Albers  15:48  
I wish, I wish all the listeners could see. So he's in a chair, and he's got his arms now folded across his chest and chairs, swinging back and forth, and back and forth. And I could just see he's like, Oh, I don't like this.

JJ Parker  16:03  
It's, I see what you're saying. Because like, if you can say, you know, I don't know, my life was crappy before. I've done a lot of work. Now. I'm really in a great place. Yeah, that comparison feels good, right? Because you're proud of where you've gotten yourself to.

Melissa Albers  16:19  

JJ Parker  16:20  
Right. The question is, can you experience that same amount of joy of where you are now? Yeah, like without the comparison part.

Melissa Albers  16:33  
Yeah. And and you want to know what's behind the question? Hmm. What we have said in past podcasts, and in multiple conversations, you are only capable of knowing joy. When you know the exact equal and opposite of it. Yep. Right. And

JJ Parker  16:53  
there's no light without dark. There's no joy without pain. Yeah, it's that whole Yep. Yep. Oh, thing. Yeah. Two sides of the same coin.

Melissa Albers  17:02  
Yeah, there it is. Isn't that interesting. But I kind of rail against this whole idea of, you know, past AI in the in, theoretically, I rail against this whole topic. Like, in real life. I don't really rail against it. It's kind of true.

JJ Parker  17:20  
Right, like, I'm trying to paint a set like, a single sided coin, which doesn't exist, right. Yeah. If you're just if you're? Well, that's an interesting thing, right? A lot. Like the idea of being in the moment and only thinking about right now. Yeah. As the path to like, if you could stay in the moment. You feel more joy? Yeah. Yeah. But though, but without the comparison, without knowing the opposite of that. How do you know that you are in that state of contentment?

Melissa Albers  17:57  
Yeah. You know,

JJ Parker  17:58  
I was very interesting question. I wish I had more coffee, this. Ah, ha

Melissa Albers  18:03  
ha, I wish our friend took 10 was with us right now, the the Buddhist monk that we interviewed, that if anyone's interested, they can check out the interview. The self awareness journeys website, under videos, actually, I think is where it is. But if anyone's interested, I wonder. I'm sure

JJ Parker  18:22  
he has some brilliant simple phrase. Yeah.

Melissa Albers  18:27  
Yeah, I was just gonna say that anybody has one sentence, and it's probably something like all blue sky or something. I know. I know. But, you know, this is like, and I think herein lies another really fundamental challenge for me, in that, we talk about traditional therapy, right? Like how we use therapy, and I've been through and I'm a self professed therapy user many, many times over my life, and found it helpful. However, I think the unhelpful part about traditional therapy is it's continually going back and back and back and back and back and talking about your past over and over and over again. And at some point, when is that enough? You know, when is it enough to do that? So maybe even in our conversation, the topic of comparison is fine. And even it would be interested, interesting, from a spiritual perspective, like because you talk a lot about the spiritual part of having non attachments and living in the present. We still have all of our past so is the non attachment not in the in the experience itself, but in your emotions around it?

JJ Parker  19:43  
Like oh, yeah, right. That's probably a good point. Right? Like, like I'm not disputing, disputing the past, right? I'm just not emotionally attaching to it anymore.

Melissa Albers  19:57  
Yes. And and and Which doesn't mean that you're not having those emotions ever, it means that you are choosing a more clear path of feeling good.

JJ Parker  20:10  
That's what it means. And it also doesn't mean that I can't remember those things. Yeah, when I'm processing through processing through something that's happening now. That doesn't mean I can't remember those things and refer to those lessons. He actually said that I can't use my, my, my logical thinking brain to process through that stuff. Right. So it's not like I'm trying to forget everything in the past. It's not like I'm trying to, like, have extreme amnesia or something. I'm adjusting, or even I'm not even avoiding it. Right, right. But I am catching myself. ruminating. That's the number one thing I try to do is catch myself ruminating because I don't want to ruminate write me, there's too much energy.

Melissa Albers  20:56  
Yeah. And it's miserable. And that's where depression is actually people that suffer depression. It's because they're spending too much time in the past and ruminating about things that they can't do anything about, which is a horribly sad way of being right. So I think this question is such an interesting one. And I would say to like, you and I have been talking about our own experiences with this. But let's say we're talking and one of us says, Oh, my gosh, I constantly think about this. Whatever a failed relationship, a job, we didn't get a time that we didn't act in a way that we were proud of. I mean, they don't have to be even huge life events, they can be small things that have made huge impact on us, you know. And if one of us were to have said that, like, here's the single topic, I ruminate about this all the time. I wonder what the other one would say, to support that awareness?

JJ Parker  22:00  
Well, that's a good question.

Melissa Albers  22:02  
Yeah. Because there are going to be a fair number of people listening, that aren't going to say what we did, they're not going to say, Oh, nothing comes to mind. They're going to be like, Oh, this came to mind. And this always comes to mind. And I can't get rid of it. Right? Yeah. And so so to me, that is, first of all, gosh, I would be in support of that. That person. Like if that was you saying that to me? The first thing I would say to you is, and it's okay, like, Wow, isn't that great that we're having this conversation. And suddenly, you have this awareness that you're doing this? And as we talk a lot about how do we kind of process things and move into a space of more happiness and more gladness and more assuredness about who we really are. We have the opportunity to look at that and look at it in a different way. Even maybe starting today. Yeah, you know, it's like, that's interesting. So what does it represent for you? What is the subject of that thought? And there we're right in the self awareness journey.

JJ Parker  23:07  
Yep. Yep. Yeah. What? How can you what can get you to move through it? Right?

Melissa Albers  23:13  
Not present for you? Yeah. Yeah. What does it represent for you? And what are the feelings? Because again, we can't just make it all about our brains.

JJ Parker  23:21  
Yep. And then what was it? What does it take to release it? That would be another question I would ask.

Melissa Albers  23:27  
Yeah. Because remember, what that is, is a trigger. What that is, what that represents is the world's biggest trigger for you, that single thing that keeps triggering you, and it probably creates all sorts of reactive states for you that you may spend more of your energy just trying to live through those. Where if you get to the core root of this like is what does that represent for you? Does it represent fear of some sort? Does it represent not being good enough or not having enough? Does it represent something that you are continually not forgiving yourself for? Because, okay, fine. Do it till you don't. But when you're ready, there are very easy ways for you to process that and move through that. And don't beat yourself up because you haven't used those ways. Yet. It's like maybe you weren't ready and you are now to think about something to feel your way through.

JJ Parker  24:21  
Well, this probably will leave a lot of people asking the question, what thought do you keep going back to? Did you enjoy this episode? Please go to your favorite podcast platform to subscribe, rate and leave a review so others can discover it as well.

Melissa Albers  24:40  
Growing self awareness is a lifelong journey, and there's always further to go. And it's better when we're all in it together. Please think of someone you know who could benefit from hearing today's conversation and share this episode with them. We can't thank you enough for listening. Until next time, happy exploring seekers.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Discussed in this episode

Let's get real

Meet your guides

JJ Parker

JJ Parker is a serial entrepreneur passionate about building creative strategy, efficient operations, and unique marketing perspectives. Parker got his start as a student at The Minneapolis Institute of Art, and soon after launched his first company Tightrope Media Systems (TRMS) with a high school buddy in 1997.

Melissa Albers

Melissa is passionate about developing people’s self-awareness and ability to positively interact with others. She focuses on the importance of building influence, and highlights the most important relationship we have is with self first. Ms. Albers speaks on leadership and self-awareness, and has shared the stage with John Maxwell (Leadership Author and Speaker), Lee Cockerell (Exec VP of Disney) and Les Brown (Motivational Speaker) to name a few.

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