“I FEEL THEREFORE I AM …”
Psychologists tell us that … thoughts create emotions or can AND behaviours also create emotions. This is initially a strange idea but experimenting with these ideas can also improve the way we feel.
The experience of an unhelpful emotions such as depression or anxiety, it usually preceded by a number of unhelpful self-statements and thoughts. These statements and thoughts can be very inaccurate.
Self Statements are statements we make to ourselves, about ourselves. They sound true the way we say them and are usually impervious to reason or being contradicted. Examples of a Self Statement are … “I always mess up” or “I am so boring”. Both of these statements, if said frequently enough – lead to an increase in the experience of negative emotion. Undesirable, no?
EMOTIONAL REASONING – is something our human self is very prone to do and it leads to errors in judgement about situations and ourselves. It is a style of unhelpful thinking where we base our conclusions, our view of situations, ourselves and others on the way we feel.
In summary emotional reasoning goes a bit like, “I am feeling it – so it must be true!” We use the way we feel, our emotions as the final evidence for the truth.
Some time ago I was working with someone who needed to move house and they were not happy about it, at all. It is true, the situation they were in was undesirable and less than ideal for many reasons. Who wants to move house? All those boxes and all that drama, but the person could no longer afford to live in a large house.
We discussed the situation from every angle but no matter where the discussion began, it always got back to the way they felt about the move, that is, that they did not want to move.
I said, “It’s easy, you might not like it, but all you need to do is tell your hands to pack all those boxes and your feet to walk out the door and find a new home”.
They would always reply, “You don’t understand … I CAN’T!”
What they meant of course is that they did not feel like moving. Feeling and thinking do not always lead us to the same conclusion.
I said, “You don’t need to feel like moving to be able to move.”
They said, “You don’t understand!”
Then we spoke about emotional reasoning and how in this case, it was not helping the situation.
It can be a shock for many people when they are first introduced to the idea that the way you feel is in part created by the thoughts you are thinking and the actions you are doing.
Just because you feel it … doesn’t mean it is true! How about that?