Even when our minds are making decisions and choices that seem destructive or counter to our own best interests, they are trying to take care of us and maintain an inner stability. Our minds absorb an enormous amount of input in the form of sensory perceptions. These are then organized and interpreted with the goal of providing a reasonable picture of reality and a prediction of what is going to happen next. Based on that prediction, we make choices in an effort to regulate our bodies and our experience, and in order to strengthen our capacities to function and succeed in our lives.
Our minds are doing what they think is best for us: trying to ensure our future safety and happiness. Of course they can only do what they have learned to do; they can only understand reality in the ways they have been taught to understand reality; and they can only generate choices based on how they have learned to deal with reality. Sometimes we exercise good judgement, mature self-regulation, and optimal caregiving and self-caregiving.
And then, sometimes our perceptions are accurate, but our interpretations of them are off kilter. Sometimes our interpretations are accurate but our understanding of what they mean is not accurate. And sometimes the ways we have learned to strategize and cope with what we understand is either limited or unskillful. Then we inadvertently create trouble for ourselves, or we fail to achieve the levels of happiness and competence that are possible. We might not even know what we are missing.
Our minds are our allies. They are trying to take care of us. And we take care of our minds by learning, relating with other people, reflecting on our own inner process, and trying out different ways of being. We are always learning, always developing, and always in flux. When we can see that, and keep it in mind, we can correct our distortions, heal our wounds, and build our competencies.