BETTER THAN HAPPY – Episode 251
I think it’s incredibly important to recognize our emotions, and recognize the thoughts we are having that are causing those emotions. And choose the thoughts and the emotions that will create the life that we want. That is what the model is all about.
Example. Today was my dear friend’s birthday. I wanted to surprise her first thing in the morning, so, in my PJs I put together and delivered a lovely birthday breakfast, to her front doorstep. When she didn’t answer the door, I sent her a quick text telling her that I’d left the breakfast on the front doorstep, and Happy Birthday. But I never got a text back from her. The whole day. If my thought had been – and this is a real example from my day – if my thought had been, I am really surprised that she didn’t thank me for the birthday breakfast I left on her doorstep. We must not be as close of friends as I thought we were. I don’t know that I will do that for her again, then my emotion would have been sad or disappointed. But if my thought had been, I want to be the kind of friend that will always remember her birthday. I really hope she liked the breakfast I left on her doorstep, then my emotion would have been anticipation or even satisfaction that I showed up the way that I want to show up – my true self who truly loves this friend.
And, of course, the result would have been different – a weakened relationship versus a strengthened relationship. And that was entirely in my power.
Now let’s turn this model around. If my THOUGHTS about a circumstance leads to my FEELINGS about that circumstance, which then leads to the RESULTS I create in my life, then it goes to reason the RESULTS I see will tell me the FEELINGS I felt, which will tell me the THOUGHTS I chose to have about a neutral circumstance. If I want to know what my thoughts are, look at my results. If I want to know what my results will be, look at my thoughts and my feelings.
My feelings or my emotions are data. They are information. They are within my control, yes, but they also are telling. My results are telling me what my emotions were, and my emotions are telling me what my thoughts were.
“I want you to remember that emotions are not demands to be met or problems to solve. They are just information.”
Okay. That was a long way to go about clarifying that principle: Emotions are not demands to be met or problems to solve.
Why is this important to understand? Because I do not want to be ruled by emotions – mine or others’. I don’t want to live in reaction.
For me, when I understand that my emotions are just data, that Bry’s emotions are just data, that my children’s emotions are just telling me something, they are just data, then I can act and not react. I can use that data to see more clearly. In the case of myself, I can use that data to see more clearly my thoughts, and decide if those thoughts and those emotions are leading me to the result that I want.
Using the example above, if I had felt sad and down all day long after not getting a text from my friend, instead of getting after myself, Rach, cheer up, you have no reason to be sad, instead of judging myself, What is wrong with you today?, I could get curious about that data, that emotion, and use that data to get some clarity on my thoughts.
It’s just data. We’ve heard that before!
“Growth and improvement are such a struggle when we are critically judging all our efforts in such a personal way… Do you have conflict or angry feelings towards another person? It is just data.”https://livingandtravelingwithkids.com/2020/05/day202-its-just-data/
Now once we have clarity on that original thought, we can decide if that thought is serving us well, or if we think it would benefit us to change that thought. And that is where some of the deep work that I am here to do, takes place.
And I have been working on changing the thoughts in my life that are leading me to results that I don’t want. It is hard work. It’s exhausting. And, I need to be honest with you, there are some thoughts that I have not yet been able to change.
Jody proposes another approach – another way.
In our family scripture study this week, we were talking about Alma, the missionary in the Book of Mormon. When he was rejected by the people in Ammonihah, and spit on and mocked, he left the city and started walking toward another city named Aaron. But before he got too far, an angel of the Lord came to him, comforting him, and then commanding him to return to Ammonihah. And Alma did so, but – and this is very important to today’s message – Alma returned to the city “by another way” (Alma 8).
And I, too, could walk away from the work I originally planned on doing with my thoughts and with creating the life that I want for myself. I could take the “failure” personally and head toward another direction. Or I could return to my work, to the creation of my life, to my thoughtwork, “by another way”.
If I experience a lot of resistance around getting rid of a thought, maybe I have lot of evidence that that thought is true, and I can’t seem to change the thought, Jody asks:
“Could I keep the thought, and access a different emotion around it?”
And that is exactly what we will be discussing in tomorrow’s post – the third post on this specific podcast episode. Thanks for sticking with me through this. Very exciting.