Thoughts or Feelings?

Book fair photo 2018 copy 2LN



What comes first our thoughts or our feelings? This is a very common discussion in my world. It is like the chicken or the egg or at least it seems that way. We just cannot help how we feel at any given time but we can change how we feel indirectly.

Let me explain. If someone says something to me that is offensive in some way, I will feel a brief involuntary burst of pain. If I continue to focus on what was said and I tell myself stories about what was said, I will perpetuate my bad feelings..

If on the other hand, I understand that it was that person’s best attempt at the time to get something that they wanted and that it was about them, I can evaluate if there is anything I want and could do and then move on. People are always doing the best they can do with what they know.

What we focus on expands. There is a lot of truth in this quote. If your partner says something to you and you feel upset and then continue to focus on that all day, it gets bigger and bigger and you get more and more upset.

It is like road rage. Did you know that if you become extremely upset with someone who cuts you off in traffic or does some other misbehavior that it takes at least an hour and ½ to calm down. If something else happens while you are recovering from that event, and you tell yourself how terrible this day is by the end of the day you are feeling pretty miserable.

What would happen if you simple acknowledged the incident and let it go and focus on the many good things that could happen that day. Our minds are amazing and it is up to us to use them to our advantage. I reiterate, we may not be able to help how we feel at the time, but we can check our thinking and change those feelings.

Maureen has been teaching this ideas for over 35 years. She is a Senior Faculty Member with William Glasser International, A Licensed Counselling Therapist and Certified Personal and Executive Coach.