Positivity can be a helpful tool for a happy life, but what happens when we take it too far? "Good Vibes Only" is not a sustainable solution for long term happiness. Here's why.
Why Your Facts Are Probably Fiction
When we like our results then everything's gravy BUT, what if we don't like our results? I'm going to talk about why being able to correctly decipher what your thoughts arefrom what's real is the first step in changing your the results you're getting...
We talk a lot here about how our thoughts cause our feelings which determine our actions which get us our results. When we like our results then everything's gravy BUT, what if we don't like our results? I'm going to talk about why being able to correctly identify what your thoughts are is the first step in changing your the results you're getting.
What is a circumstance?
A circumstance is something that happens and a thought is the story that a human brain creates about the circumstance.
Circumstances are facts and therefore neutral while thoughts are made up and therefore subjective. A circumstance is a neutral objective truth. It's raining is a circumstance whereas I hate the rain is a thought. My crush hasn't replied to my message is a circumstance whereas my crush probably doesn't fancy me anymore is a thought. My boss said good job is a circumstancee whereas my boss thinks I'm doing a good job is a thought. That last one is interesting too because a boss saying good job is actually a neutral occurrence. It's not good or bad. Some people would have validating thoughts in reaction to that circumstance while others (say if they didn't respect or like their boss) might have thoughts where they don't believe the boss and therefore will process that circumstance very differently. The only thing factual circumstance is that your boss said the words good job.
What is a thought?
Thoughts don't need a circumstance to exist. We generate hundreds of them throughout a day.
Our thoughts stem from a mixture of our socialisation, our upbringing, our world view, our past experiences, and our deeply held beliefs about ourselves.
When we aren't intentionally trying to separate the circumstance from the thought, the two get conflated into one story and that's the story we end up taking as the premise for what we do next. If you don't like the results you're getting, it's probably because you're making decisions based on a conflated story and then reacting to it as if it's an objective circumstance, as if it's a pure fact.
Why thoughts matter so much
If you're sad because it's raining outside, it's not the rain that's making you sad, it's your thoughts about the rain that are making you sad. If you're angry because you've been ghosted, it's not the fact that that person hasn't been in touch, it's your thoughts about that person not getting in touch that are causing you to feel angry. If you're excited to see a loved one, it's not the existence of the loved one in your space that's generating your feelings of happiness, it's the thoughts you're having about seeing that loved one that are generating those feelings. Circumstances are neutral, they don't cause our feelings, our thoughts do.
So how can we use this understanding of how our minds work to alter the results we don't like or want?
How thoughts help us get the results we want
Picture this. You start a new job and you are feeling anxious and frustrated because you don't know what you're doing yet and you're pretty sure everyone around you thinks you're a burden because they're all having to drop what they're doing to help get you up to speed. This whole situation feels overwhelming and you start to wonder if you made the right decision to join this company in the first place.
The facts are:
- You've started a new job,
- You are part of a team,
- You are having interactions with some team members,
- You are experiencing a variety of thoughts and human emotions.
Those are the only facts in that entire story.
The thoughts are:
- I don't know what I'm doing yet
- Everyone thinks I'm a burden
- I made a mistake taking this job
- Everyone resents me for taking up all their time
- Everyone thinks I'm dumb
- I don't belong here
- I should be coping better than I am
- I am letting the team down
I highly recommend doing this exercise with your own dilemmas - write the story out in full, pull out the circumstances, and then make a list of every single thought you are having about the circumstance. This is a really useful way to tackle the feeling of overwhelm as it allows you to deal with each thought and its effects individually. Each of those thoughts will trigger its own feelings in you and determine what actions you take and the results you get from those actions. In this way, you can see that our results are tied directly to the thoughts you're having.
I cover more examples in the podcast episode so definitely check that out above. If you know someone who you think needs this episode in their lives then please share. And as ever, I can help you apply these concepts directly to your own personal set of circumstances and results. Click on "Coaching" in the main menu to find out more.
Self care isn't manicures and spa days and netflix binges, self care starts long before that, way smaller than that. It's showing yourself kindness and compassion, being as generous and forgiving to yourself as you are with your friends and loved ones. There's a big difference between self care and self love and this matters because...
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I sat down about an hour ago to write this week’s post on motivation (LOL) and in that hour, I’ve customised a PAX wardrobe on the IKEA website.