When you are faced with a situation, you create an immediate thought in your mind. This thought leads to a feeling. The feeling leads to a behavior.
Your friend doesn’t return your phone call. You think he is being rude to you and he is disrespecting you. You feel angry. You act irritated and tense around him. Your friendship eventually falls apart.
Your friend doesn’t return your phone call. You think he may be in trouble and needs help. You feel helpful and concerned. You reach out to him and communicate you are there if he needs support. Your friendship gets stronger.
What is different in these two examples? The thought. In the first example, you “think” your friend is rude and disrespectful. The second one, you “think” he may need help. The situations are the same. It’s all about what you make out of them.
Where do these thoughts come from? They come from your childhood and early life experiences. The way you see the world today is based on how your past experiences have been. The bad news is, you cannot change your past. The good news is, you can change your thoughts.
Changing thoughts isn’t easy and it’s a journey. The length of this journey depends on you. The first step is same for everyone: awareness. If you do or don’t want to feel a certain way, focus on what kind of thoughts are creating these emotions.
-Ipek Aykol, LMFT#97315