The curse of thought
Your thoughts and beliefs have the power to create heaven or hell for you. The thoughts you choose to listen to and focus on influence the quality of your life. The curse of thought is something we all have to manage. Thoughts will continue to enter your mind, some invited and some uninvited. You can’t control who knocks at your door but you can control and decide how long you wish to entertain them for. The same goes for your thoughts. We all have something like 70 000 thoughts whizzing through our minds daily. If we don’t manage our thoughts effectively, it will show in the form of chaotic lives. Show me an unhappy person, and I will show you at least 80% of the time, someone who has not learned how to become an effective thought manager. A positive thought is often just as valid as a negative thought. There is always a number of ways to look at a particular situation. Pessimistic, depressive personalities will tend to focus on the worrisome thoughts and believe the negative thoughts whereas optimists will tend to lean towards the more positive thoughts.
Here’s an example: When my son as very young, we went on holiday with my partner and his parents. When my son cried in the night, my mother-in-law would jump out of bed and take charge.
Neutral interpretation without emotional interpretation: my son is crying. my mother in law has gone to tend to my son.
Negative interpretation of neutral event (this was my intitial perception): She is so rude and she obviously feels she is more competent and soothing my son than I am. I felt put out an annoyed. A negaive appraisal and negative thinking led me to feeling unhappy and angry.
Another rational alternative: My mother in law is just trying to help. She is not necessarily trying to show me up to be an inferior parent. When she tends to my son it also means I can get more sleep. This interpretation leads to less and anger and a happier mood.
Cognitive behavioural therapy states that it isn’t what happens to you but rather your perception of what happens that leads to emotions and the further behaviour in line with that feeling. So if we nip the thinking in the bud and get into the habit of looking for rational alternatives, we increase the likelihood that we can see things in a more positive light and therefore feel happier in life.
Thinking and beliefs can make or break a person. We have much more choice about what we choose to believe. Clients resist this idea but it’s true. Clients tell me that they cannot help the anger or the resentment and that they will never be able to see things differently because it is reality BUT there are MANY versions of your reality. I know which version of reality I would prefer to believe….