feel like you belong anywhere - Step 3
Brooke Castillo talks about how all suffering comes from thoughts
Let’s have a look at what is suffering. Suffering is the state of undergoing pain, distress, or hardship. This pain, distress and hardship can be caused by many different things in life – work, financial problems, relationship problems, kids, loss of a loved one, divorce, loss of something dear to you and much more. It is normal to go through grief, anger, sadness and fear but when it becomes guilt, jealousy, bitterness, resentment or rage you may have been harbouring it for a while and it may even have become a part of you that you don’t know how to let go. In my opinion, this is suffering and that is what we are trying to eliminate. When we are suffering, everything triggers us and everyone pushes our buttons, which only creates more suffering. The only way to change it is by starting to observe your thoughts. Start observing when things happen what your thoughts are about it. For example: A car pulls out in front of you in traffic. What are your thoughts? “Idiot!”, “He just endangered the life of myself and my kids!”, “He could have wrecked my new car!”
Yes, all these thoughts are true but so are the following thought options:
“Maybe he is running late for a very important meeting”
“Maybe his wife is in labour”
“Maybe his kid got hurt at school”
The point is that you don’t need to take it personally. Not everyone is out to get you and everyone is on their own mission, busy with their own agendas. Chances are, even if that guy was just being an arrogant driver, he probably didn’t even notice you and his arrogance is as a result of his own issues. If you decide to attach yourself to his issues and make his actions personal, you are creating suffering for yourself.
Any thought that causes you pain needs to be questioned.
Your thoughts create your feelings
So depending on what you think and what is going on inside your head, this determines your feelings. So when you think “Idiot!”, “He just endangered the life of myself and my kids!”, “He could have wrecked my new car!” you feel fear, anger, stress and anxiety. If you think “Maybe he is running late for a very important meeting”, “Maybe his wife is in labour”, “Maybe his kid got hurt at school”, “His arrogance is not my problem”, “I am not letting some arrogant jerk spoilt my day” then you feel relieved, compassionate and at peace and you probably wouldn’t even think about it again. So just by focusing on a different part of the same picture (which is just as true as the other part), your feelings about it change completely.
Your feelings create your actions
Depending on what you feel, this determines what you do. If you feel fear or anger you will probably act out in anger. You may scream and swear at the guy that cut you off. If you feel at peace you probably wouldn’t do anything. It’s amazing how much our feelings determine our actions.
Your actions create your reality
What you do (your actions) determines how your reality turns out. So if you scream and swear at the guy in the car your kids will be frightened and may start screaming, you may drive into someone else, your whole day might be ruined and you may go around biting everyone’s heads off, you may be rude to the sales lady in the mall and not get what you went there for. You see, from there everything just goes south.
If you do nothing and carry on as if nothing happened you may turn out to have a really good day, you just never know.
You can see how it can benefit you by starting to question your thoughts and to override that little traffic cop in your brain that automatically jumps to conclusions. In the beginning it will be hard work but very quickly the brain will create new neural pathways and it will come naturally.
The spin cycle
This is the negative spin cycle. You can see how your thoughts create your feelings which then determines how you act, creating your reality. Therefore to change your reality your actions needs to change and to change your actions your feelings needs to change and to change your feelings your thoughts need to change.
Circumstances -> thoughts –> feelings –> actions –> results
Here are some more examples:
Circumstance: My husband forgot my birthday.
Thought: He doesn’t care about me.
Feelings: horrible, sad, lonely, angry
Action: Give him the cold shoulder and avoid him.
Result: Less time spent with husband—less caring with husband.
CHANGED THOUGHT EXAMPLE:
Circumstance: My husband forgot my birthday.
Thought: I know my husband wants to help me celebrate my birthday, so I will remind him.
Feeling: Satisfied, love
Action: Connect with husband, love husband unconditionally.
Result: Enjoy my birthday with my husband.
Can you see how a simple thought can allow you to decide how you feel? We don’t have to be a slave to our feelings. Always remember this…THE ONE WHO IS MOST FLEXIBLE IN A CONVERSATION IS IN CONTROL OF THAT CONVERSATION. The more rigid and opinionated you are, the more conflict you will have and the less significance and control you will have. This little bit of information can change so much in your life if applied properly. It is really so important for others to see it your way? As you have seen now, there are many ways to see something and many angles to view it from. Allow others to have their own perspective and rather than fight it, observe how interesting it is from their perspective. Even if you think they are wrong, does it really matter? Obviously in some cases it does but in casual day to day conversation it doesn’t and after the conversation they will go about their life and you will go about yours.
So what it I just feel angry or sad or I’m just upset and I don’t know why?
Sometimes you get that. The subconscious thoughts are buried so deeply that you can’t even access them. This is where you sit and feel in your body what the exact feeling is that you feel. Is it fear? Do you feel like you may lose something? Is it anger? Do you feel adrenaline pumping through your veins and that you may attack something? Is it jealousy? You just don’t like that someone else gets to do or have something and you can’t. It is guilt? Do you feel like you could have done something differently?
Once you have the feeling then process what thought could be behind it. Play with a few until you find the one that feels right, it will probably be the one that upsets you most. Then question it. Question that little traffic cop in your head that says it is so. Think of a few other possibilities that could also be the truth and use the one which is the most acceptable to you and that you can find proof for.
You need to believe the new thought
The new thought you replace the old one with has to be believable else the thinking won’t change. Remember that the old though was created from something that really happened in the past so you have no reason not to believe it. Now you have to find proof for the new thought…something that has actually happened so that you can justify it just as much as the old one.
Your feelings are the effect of your thinking, not evidence that your thinking is true. Think about this one carefully. That means that you feel the way you do because you think the way you do. It is easy to get caught up in the cycle of thinking a thought, feeling a feeling and then blaming the feeling on the circumstance. All the while, confirming that your negative thinking is justified by the circumstance. It is not. The thought is your responsibility depending on what feeling you would rather experience.
When you change your thoughts, you need proof in order to believe it.
First you need to stop providing evidence that the old belief is true. The more you want to prove something, the more evidence you will find. So if you focus on the negative and try to prove how true it is, you will find evidence for it. But the same is true for the opposite. The more you focus on the positive, the more evidence you will find of its truth.
When you first start doing this it will be like your brain is having a tantrum. It will feel like there is 2 year old inside you head, jumping up and down fighting for what you used to believe. Your mind will come up with all kinds of resistance because change is scary and change is hard. It is most comfortable in what it knows so it will do everything in its power to keep you there. If you want to overcome it, just ignore it and know that it is part of the process. Just like a 2 year old, it has to stop eventually.
Change the thought by changing one small action at a time. So when something happens, observe and be aware of your actions. Then trace the feeling and then trace the thought that created the feeling. So, in the middle of your action try to stop and track back first. Reprogram the thought in your mind and observe how your feelings and your actions change.
Just break the habit to begin with. Recognise your pattern and interrupt it.
Your circumstances are not your reality
Notice how you have the option to think the way you want. Notice also that the circumstance don’t change, only the way you see it does. Therefore, your circumstances don’t have to be your reality. Your circumstances are what is happening around you. Your reality is how you see it, how you feel about it, how you react to it and what is created by all of that. For this reason some people can forgive easier than others and can carry on with their lives with less baggage. So whatever has happened in your relationship which has made you so unhappy (the circumstances), here is the part where you decide how you will allow it to affect you and what reality you wish to create from it. Are you going to keep hovering over it and reliving it over and over or are you ready to create a different reality and stand on your baggage to make you higher?
So let’s start changing your reality
Your reality is determined by
1 your story you tell yourself and others
2 Your beliefs
3 Fears, consequences, circumstances
Your story you tell yourself and others
Become aware of what you tell yourself and others. What do you say when people ask how you are. Do you say “fine”? Do you say “poor but honest” Do you say “hanging in there”. Become aware of how you are advertising yourself and your life. What do you chat to friends about? Do you vent about your husband and kids? Do you moan about the traffic and the weather? Do you speak about deep and meaningful things or about exciting new business ventures or life lessons learnt? Observe how certain people drag you down by the topics they are always choosing to focus on.
These things play a huge role in determining your reality yet it is so easy to change. Once you become aware of it, you cannot stop yourself from wanting to change it. You realise how easily you can change your reality.
Your beliefs about what is possible and what is not, what you deserve or are destined for, how people should treat you, what you believe about yourself and your capabilities, what you believe about your loved ones, what you believe about your job and your finances and all these limiting beliefs are what holds us back from achieving our true potential and creating the reality we want. It is well worth your while to observe these and to question them. Then come up with alternative beliefs which are also true and believable.
Fears, consequences, circumstances
How much of our reality do we blame on circumstances? We have pretty much covered how our thoughts about the circumstances can change our reality. So what about fears and consequences? Well, consequences are a result of our actions, as discussed previously so that can also be changed by our thoughts. That leaves us with fears. Fears are just more beliefs about what could happen and more of focusing on the negative. Choose not to fear. Choose to be brave and to focus on a positive outcome.
What reality do you want?
Before you can create the reality that you want, you first have to know what exactly it is that you want.
What are your top 3 feelings you want to feel? Is it love, joy, peace, excitement or happiness?
What are the thoughts you need to create these feelings? What would you need to be thinking most of the time to achieve having these thoughts?
Here is an example:
Peace – everything happens for a reason
Love – Everyone is so amazing in their own way
Excitement – I can create anything I want
So now you take these 3 thoughts and try to apply them to everyday situations as much as possible. So when you have a flat tyre in the morning on your way to work you focus on “everything happens for a reason”. Think about how you may have been spared a serious accident by being delayed. Or when your colleague pushes your buttons, try to think “everyone is so amazing in their own way”. Focus on what makes him himself and how interesting it is that we are all so unique.