How To Use Guided Thought To Be Authentic

How To Use Guided Thought To Be Authentic
April 2, 2015 Manya Vee

I’m not sure where I got this idea, but for the longest time, I felt I was being most authentic by paying attention to my thoughts. My thoughts told me who I was. I paid close attention to them, examined them, and made decisions based on what I learned from them.

Perhaps not too surprisingly, I made some poor decisions because of it.

Then one day, I was listening to the radio where someone was talking about how we humans give way too much authority to our thoughts. In fact, the speaker said, we should think of our thoughts much the same way we think about the weather. Yes, it is happening around us, but it doesn’t have much of an affect on our values. I was so intrigued that I looked up this speaker and got in touch.

Dr. Miranda Morris is a psychologist in Bethesda, MD, who uses Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) in her practice. This 30-year-old practice has plenty of scientific research to back it up, showing that when we give too much credence to our thoughts, we remain distracted from our core values. We spend our time reacting to our thoughts instead of figuring out what our values are and then acting on them.

Dr. Morris loves using metaphors to describe our relationship with our thoughts. My favorite one is this. “Take a look at that book in your lap. Put all those negative thoughts about yourself in there: ‘I’m not good enough,’ ‘Everyone thinks I’m a loser,’ ‘I’ll never get that job promotion,’ etc. Now hold the book in front of your eyes very close. How do you like that view?” For me, this was a breakthrough concept. I realized I’d been looking at the world through such a lens for a very long time. It sort of makes it hard to see what’s really going on around you when you’ve got such weight in front of your eyes, doesn’t it?

Rather than be distracted by those negative thoughts all the time, turn your mind toward figuring out your values. What is it that I want to accomplish in the world? What kind of person do I want to be? What does success mean to me? With these answers in hand, I can now guide my thoughts in the direction I choose. When the old tapes start to play in my head again, I notice them and set them aside. I ask myself if those thoughts are moving me closer to my values, or away from my values. When the answer is “away”, I set them aside and think new thoughts that point me in the “toward” direction.


Another metaphor I found, created by humanist thinker and illustrator Jeff Stilwell, asks us to think about our thoughts as children. In the same way that children need boundaries and guidance, so do our thoughts. This concept helps me get some distance from my thoughts so I can stand outside my mind and take a look inside to see what’s going on. When my thoughts need some guidance, I can confidently take them in hand and point them in the direction I want them to go.

I still want to be authentic. Now I have some new tools to help me better achieve that goal.


About the Author:

Manya Vee is the Director of the Fullness Circles Foundation (

The Foundation supports the development of Fullness Circles so all may explore, discover and act on those things most meaningful to them.


Illustration by humanist thinker and illustrator Jeff Stilwell.  Used by permission.




Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.