…and we hit Week 50! A little less hot and humid and this week had an added bonus – I managed to finish the hike literally 5 minutes before an extended torrential downpour. Yay, me!
This week as I sweated and walked into spider web after spider web (gross), I was running last week’s blog post through my head. In case you haven’t had a chance to take a look at it, it was about the chain reaction of THOUGHTS creating FEELINGS creating ACTION creating RESULTS.
Seems simple…all you have to do is figure out what you need to be thinking in order to feel the way you need to feel so that you do the things that bring you the results you want in your life. Who needs us life coaches when everyone can just master this easy little trick and be happy for the rest of their lives?
Sounds like the perfect time for a plot complication!
As it turns out, even though we understand intellectually that our thoughts are causing our feelings and that we can choose our thoughts, when it comes to applying the concept to ourselves in tough situations, it can be difficult to actually believe we have a choice in what we think.
Good examples of the kinds of situations I’m talking about include:
– Someone has betrayed your confidence
– Someone has abused you either verbally or physically
– Someone has cheated on you
– Someone is inconsiderate of your feelings/health/safety
And let’s not forget these kinds of situations:
– You didn’t get into the educational program of your choice
– You can’t find a job
– You can’t find a husband
– Your house sustains fire or flood damage
These are all situations that could generally be described as those that the bulk of humanity would find unpleasant.
It’s in these types of situations that, when we’re in them, it can be very difficult to see that we have a choice in what we think and therefore how we feel and act.
This is why it’s so remarkable when we hear of stories like this one (click blank space for link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o2BITY-3Mp4) where a mother can forgive and forge a loving relationship with her son’s killer.
Or this one (link in blank space here: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/brooklyn/brooklyn-dad-lost-7-kids-fire-resolves-article-1.2369381) where a father who lost seven kids in a house fire goes from being suicidal to being a mentor to others affected by life challenges.
Talk about choosing a different thought in a tough situation!
It’s hard, right? Someone hurts you and it can be hard to let go of anger and resentment. It can be hard to trust God after a seemingly senseless and painful event occurs.
It’s because our brains think they can save us.
My brain thought it could save me after my last breakup by deciding it was safer to be single for the rest of my life. I had my heart broken for the 7th time in as many relationships and my brain decided we had had enough. So I held onto the hurt for a long time…way past its expiration date…because it provided fuel to keep my “down-with-dating/singleness-rules” fires burning. If I don’t date, I can’t have my heart broken again, right?
Or like when my first boyfriend cheated on me. He never asked me to forgive him, so I didn’t have to, right? Why shouldn’t I be angry forever?
It’s as if we’re afraid that by giving up our anger (or hurt, or resentment, or any other negative feeling) that we’ll lose something valuable. That somehow we’ll lose our self-respect or our integrity. We worry we’ll end up opening ourselves to continued pain and heartache and so we hold on with white knuckles to that rage and despair. Those negative feelings are the devil we know, after all.
Because of that, we buy into the lie that we don’t have a choice in what we think and how we feel. And it’s one of the worst lies of all because it keeps us STUCK in our crap. It takes everything that life could be (wonderful, awesome, exciting, adventurous, satisfying) and locks it up in a little box that we’ll never open.
So how do we change a particularly stubborn thought? One that’s holding us in an illusion of safety, but actually is doing nothing more than holding us back? More on that next week. In the meantime, ask yourself if there’s an area of your life where your well-meaning brain is trying to save you in a way that holds you back.
SAFETY WARNING: I am not talking about staying in abusive relationships or trying to find a husband on Craig’s List here…there are ways to take reasonable precautions while still experiencing everything God has for you in this life!
What I am talking about is turning up the dimmer switch on some areas of your life that cause you pain and consternation when you think about them. I bet you can’t wait, right?
Till next week, peeps!