Your existence is exactly that - yours. The modicum that we share with the world will only ever scratch the surface of what bubbles around in your mind! Through all of that, you have to figure out which thoughts are worthwhile, which to cut loose; which thoughts represent a reality, and which are entirely your imagination. So often, we walk around creating images of this person or that situation, far from being truly able to take in or collate enough information to make a judgement that even slightly rings true.
We try and guess the mental state, capabilities, characteristics and desires of everyone around us. Indeed, this is a basic part of human interaction, and is crucial to normal functioning like holding a conversation. However, we create patterns for ourselves in this process, most likely a neurological result of our brain trying to streamline thought process. These patterns can be neutral, helpful or detrimental to our minds - consider the way you respond to strange places and unknown people. This is a surefire way of bringing up patterns. Are you confident and outgoing? Nervous and quiet? Is your confidence and extroversion a defense-mechanism itself? There are a million and one ways we respond to new and old situations alike. The aim is to be able to recognize and move away from these patterns, allowing ourselves to approach each and every situation with the fresh curiosity and respect that it deserves.
The simple way of allowing ourselves to do this more often is by harnessing the minds power of self-awareness. Watching your thoughts and seeing where you are blatantly making things up (think self-image, others' opinions, judgments etc) will help you get back to the reality of flesh and blood, the now, the moment. Forgetting what you think of someone, or what you expect them to be saying, will free up your mind to actually listen! We may not be able to escape the fact that we must form opinions, but we can clear a whole lot of debris from our senses so that we might create better-informed opinions.
Bottom line - catch yourself thinking. Consider the relevance and grounds for your thoughts, and choose either to continue in that vein or break away and start afresh. When you first catch yourself in a detrimental pattern and simply break away from it, you'll feel as though a weight has been cast from your chest! What starts as a revelation soon becomes a habit, and your mind clears itself, allowing you to live moment-to-moment - feeling, smelling and being the breeze!
Your reality may be subjective, and yours to create, but that only means that the responsibility is yours alone. Sharpen your abilities to be able to better form the world you live in!
Much love, Dean