|Overcoming negative feelings possible, but it will take work
All this stuff about “The Power of Positive Thinking” always sounds so inspirational. But what about the really hard stuff? What about the terminal illnesses, or the cancers, or the abuses, or the rejections, or the death of a child, or the bankruptcies, or the divorces, or getting old, or the hard times that all of us have suffered or will suffer.
After all, wasn’t it the negative stuff that caused the sadness or frustration we feel about ourselves today? And for some of us, aren’t those the rejections that led us to reject ourselves? And although any kind of rejection can be cruel and unjust, the far more harmful part is when we start thinking that maybe…just maybe… we should have been rejected; that somehow we deserved it.
So, can we really overcome these negative feelings today…on this first day of the rest of our lives?
These are all good questions. And the answer is…drum roll please…absolutely.
Let’s learn how by first observing that when we were very young, most of us learned what was “right” and “wrong.” We also learned the advantages of being “good” and the disadvantages of being “bad.” And most of us also felt good about our “good” behaviors and felt bad about our “bad” behaviors. However, this is where a very sad and incorrect overgeneralization came into play.
We also learned that if we did something in a good way, we felt we were also “good.” But when we did badly, we also began thinking of ourselves as “bad.”
And most of us accepted these overgeneralizations as absolutely true. (Indeed, we were too young to think any differently.)
We then began thinking to ourselves, “I absolutely must perform well or I am “bad.” We then became “habituated” to these self-defeating patterns. And these patterns actually created one of the thousands of physiological self-images which all of us have in our brain. In this case, this particular self-image was one of being a “bad” person.
And this…is not good.
But when you get older, you begin to discover just how misleading many of these beliefs can be.
But no matter what our past history, or how others may have contributed to our feeling bad about ourselves, we remain so because we’ve chosen to still hold onto some those unrealistic and irrational beliefs about ourselves, even though they now have very little connection with who we are, or what we are doing, or not doing…today.
And…many of the bad feelings we have about ourselves stem from these irrational beliefs.
This was first postulated in a little book written in 1961 by the founder of cognitive psychology. The author’s name was Dr. Albert Ellis, and the book was titled “A Guide to Rational Living,” its premise (which has now been validated by decades of subsequent research) is that the beliefs we have about ourselves come first, and then are followed by our feelings…not the other way around.
Now hang onto your seat.
You can change the beliefs you have about yourself…today.
And this is an option that most people do not know about; that you can choose to stop believing what you have been believing about yourself. You can decide to believe new things.
And do you know when you can start doing this? Today. Right now..
And then the feelings you have about yourself follow these new beliefs.
And remember this…it is never too late to create these new beliefs, unless you say it is.
And here is how your brain was custom-created by God to handle this.
It believes what you tell it.
No questions. No arguments. Messages might arise such as, “It’s too late for you to believe something differently about yourself,” or “You’ve always been this way,” or “You have always thought this way.” But these messages can be overridden by these new beliefs…when you decide to do so. (That’s the reason they call this “cognitive psychology.”)
Now…when you decide to believe differently, your brain simply says “Oh…ok.”
And then…its job is to do everything it can to make this new belief a part of who you are. (This is called “neuroplasticity.”)
Now…is this new belief true? You know what…your brain doesn’t even care. All it cares about is what YOU…tell it. You say it...it believes it. That’s its job…as much as it is the job of your heart to pump blood.
And then…and then…when you lock onto this new belief, it does everything it can…to make it true…in your life.
Steven Campbell is the author of “Making Your Mind Magnificent” and conducts “The Winners Circle” every two months at Sonoma Mountain Village in RP. He can be contacted at 480-5007 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, go to www.anintelligentheart.com.