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If you are honest with yourself, you’ll admit that you experience plenty of random thoughts and impulses that you really wouldn’t want your mother, spouse, children, boss, or anyone for that matter to know about. These free associations (or self talk) are not pretty! They rarely are anything but upsetting and disturbing if you focus on them for very long or expect something better from yourself. Sexual and aggressive themes are typically the order of the day. One good example is the thought or impulse to engage in sexual behavior with those who are clearly off limits—an attractive neighbor, co-worker, friend, stranger, and even a teen. Aggressive thoughts and impulses about our spouse, co-worker, boss, children, and strangers also can be very disturbing too.
Perhaps it would be useful to take a more mindful perspective on these impulses and thoughts by acknowledging that they exit and can be expected from anyone. Yet we can also remind ourselves that we don’t need to attach or act on these impulses either. Taking a light touch with dark thoughts may actually help us not act on them. Just because you have an itch doesn’t mean you need to scratch it! I have found this approach has been helpful to many of my patients who struggle with their naughty impulses and desires.