“Your thoughts are powerful,” they say.
“Change your thoughts, change your life,” they say.
“Think positively,” they say.
Well, I have news for you.
Changing your thoughts without changing their cause is like cutting weeds out of your garden without pulling those bitches out from their root.
Your [emotionally charged] thoughts are powerful
Turns out, they weren’t all the way wrong. Your thoughts are powerful. But, here’s the other side to that equation that most people don’t acknowledge: EMOTIONS.
Thoughts are only powerful to the extent that they are emotionally charged.
EMOTIONS = E – MOTION = ENERGY IN MOTION
Did you read that right? Our emotions give our thoughts all the power that they have.
So what does this mean? You don’t have to sit there rebuking, resisting, and fighting every negative thought that comes up.
No need to fall into that trap of believing that negative thoughts make you a bad person… and then having your self-esteem be affected as though you’re actually a bad person.
And even worse, no need to act on them. THAT’S what will really mess you up.
Because, no. Negative thoughts don’t make you a bad person.
They make you human.
Which means, they may make you think you’re crazy. Or that you’re confused. Or that there are forces beyond your control, bwahaha.
But addressing the negative thoughts won’t do much. Addressing the undesired emotional state that is producing these thoughts is what will help. This is, after all, what is causing you to have a shitty experience of this game called life… especially if you chose to identify them as true, and then chose to act on them.
Mastering your emotions doesn’t mean you can’t feel. It means that you won’t make decisions based on undesired emotional states, in fact, you’ll be able to change those emotional states so that you can make better and more empowered decisions.
So, how do we move from being controlled by these undesired emotional states to taking control of them…
… hence taking control of our lives?
Let’s dive right on in.
Step 1: Observe + identify your feelings
(And while you’re at it, can you remove the word “negative” from your vocabulary?)
Be friends with your feelings. All of them. The good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful.
They’re ALL valid.
Once you can accept this, then you can remove the barriers that hold you back from actually identifying them.
Because since when was feeling bad supposed to be a “negative” thing?
Since when was grieving, anger, or disappointment supposed to be a “negative” thing?
My fellow human beings, it’s actually okay to feel. That’s what makes you human.
What’s NOT okay is to suppress how you feel because it’s “negative.”
What then begins to happen is that you’re left with a whole bunch of unresolved “negative” emotions… that you won’t even know how to identify.
Which one do you think is worse?
What’s more? While you think you’re being all positive and uppity…rebuking everything and everyone who displays any “negative” and “toxic” behavior, you’re really coming from a toxic place, yourself.
If you can give yourself the space to feel how you really feel and maintain your integrity in that space, then bless your brave soul, ‘cause you have just literally made space for someone else to heal.
Let’s just all kumbaya and heal each other, okay?
Give yourself permission to feel so that you can identify those feelings, and then move past them. It’s by immersing yourself completely in your feelings, instead of running away from it, that you heal.
Step 2: Put your objective lens on
Are you responding to reality or to your perception of it? If you’re like most people, you’re probably responding to your perception of it.
Here are some tools to help you snap out of it and get back to reality.
Before you start to believe everything your mind is telling you and then give in to your emotional outbursts, take a second to dissociate yourself from yourself. Step out of your own body and perspective and bring your awareness to a bigger, bird’s eye, point of view.
You are not identifying with your version of your reality,
Once you’ve done that, ask yourself these questions:
- What’s the vibe in the room?
- How is everyone else experiencing or perceiving the same situation as you?
- What can you see now, that you couldn’t before?
This process of disconnecting yourself from your point of view should offer you a fresh, new perspective, that will help you solve the problem in a more empowering way.
For my Friends lovers out there, here’s the perfect example.
Every time Ross said these words, what was Rachel’s reaction?
Imagining this was actually real for a second, how do you think she felt each time he said those words?
She had probably re-lived the feeling of that knife against her back, as though it were literally happening right now.
That’s what an emotional trigger will do to you. Even though it isn’t happening right now, your emotional body responds as though it is.
So, it’s important to recognize yours. Be aware of why you feel the way you do. Are your feelings a result of something that is happening right now, or are they because of something that has happened in the past?
Recognize your assumptions and generalizations
Sometimes we make assumptions about other people’s intentions. We put words in other people’s mouths.
As a survival mechanism, with the little information that we have, our mind tries to fill in the gaps by making assumptions or generalizations as a way to make meaning of the situations that we find ourselves in.
But this way of living is not ideal because making uninformed decisions is not ideal.
All of these tools will require a HIGH amount of self-awareness and self-assessment… which after years and years of programming, will not be easy.
But, the more you practice them, the better you’ll become. You’ll be able to recognize times when the conversations and narratives playing out in your mind are actually kind of ridiculous. And at that point, you’ll quickly be able to “snap out of it,” and see things for what they really are.
Next and last stop: taking back your power.
Step 3: Reclaim + own your power
You give up your power when you,
- Pridefully put up a front as though you don’t really feel hurt
- Give up and refuse to communicate, verbally and through your body language, how you actually feel
- Don’t invest in yourself enough to understand your own feelings (and then wonder why you’re misunderstood)
Take back your power by,
Verbalizing your feelings
Verbalizing your feelings can help you get your mind right about them.
Do you really know what’s going on in your mind? Do you actually understand how it is that you’re feeling? For additional clarity, say them out loud. Hearing yourself speak about them may help you see them from a new perspective.
You may realize that your thoughts and justification for your feelings sound way better in your mind than it does out loud.
BTW: if you’re worried about sounding cray cray by talking to yourself – don’t be. It’s normal and actually very helpful. It’s also better than keeping your thoughts and emotions bottled up!
Focus on the solution rather than the problem
“Wait a second, what was the point, again?”
Did you allow your emotions to get the best of you so much that you even forgot why you were so emotionally invested in the first place?
I know the feeling.
But, being objective by focusing on the solution, rather than the problem is key.
Once you’ve taken a second to re-center yourself and remind yourself what your end goal actually is, ask yourself what you can do right now that aligns with your end goal.
And then do that.
Now, you’re not behaving based on the perceived hurt or disappointment that you felt.
Taking responsibility for yourself
You have a responsibility to yourself because your journey is about you.
This means you must stop replaying undesired movies in your mind about anything that is stirring up undesired emotions within you.
You must let go of any person that is being a source of drama and toxicity in your life.
You must also let go of any activity that is draining you rather than propelling you to a better emotional state.
Lastly… you must be responsible in the way that you present and express yourself.
You can be you. You can be vulnerable. You can say how you really feel… from the core of your most authentic, raw, and whole self.
Allow yourself to express your thoughts, feelings, and emotions, as they come up. That is a certified sign of self-mastery.
But, be informed. Do the inner work. And let go of the emotional pain that burdens you.
Then you can walk away with no regrets, knowing that you spoke your truth, the whole truth, AND NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH.
And that’s something no one could EVER take away from you.