Are Your Positive Thoughts Making You Feel Bad?
Use your feelings, your true guidance system, as your checks and balances
Does the fact that your kids' clothes never seem to make it to the hamper or closet drive you insane? Here's how to keep your cool and stay positive.
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"One must marry one's feelings to one's beliefs and ideas. That is probably the only way to achieve a measure of harmony in one's life." ~Napoleon Hill
"Just as your car runs more smoothly and requires less energy to go faster and farther when the wheels are in perfect alignment, you perform better when your thoughts, feelings, emotions, goals and values are in balance." ~Brian Tracy
Our minds are like a vast universe fueled by the dark matter that are our thoughts. They are tricky, sticky, funny, uplifting, inspirational, devastating and crippling. We give our thoughts too much credit. We believe they are our guides but in reality, our feelings are our true guides.
How We “Head” Into Trouble
Anytime we are led by our head we are “headed” for trouble. You see it is our ideas and beliefs that create our problems. You know that on some level – your gut level. Let me explain. Our thoughts are so tricky that even the “good” ones like, “I want to accomplish something important in my life time” or “I want to discover my life purpose” can be very self-destructive. I would even say they can be as damaging, if not more, than the ones we acknowledge are damaging like “I’m so stupid” or “I can’t believe I did it again.” The way you know these are the same is by the way you feel.
Your feelings are your true guidance system. If thoughts are making you feel “bad” in any way, then they are damaging. Don’t be fooled by their false positiveness like those referenced above. It doesn’t matter what the thought is, just how it makes you feel. So, if the thought that you want to do something important in your lifetime excites and motives you, then it’s a good thought. However, I’ve seen that very thought paralyze and degrade otherwise bright, talented people. Same thought with two different feelings.
My Personal Challenge
Here is an example from my own life. My youngest son has developed a new habit of leaving his shirt on his bathroom floor every morning. He is a teenager, so he’s very tired in the morning. After his shower, he just can’t seem to remember to pick it up when he leaves the bathroom.
This new habit of his was very stressful for me. I was annoyed that every week there would be 5 or 6 “invisible” shirts on the floor. I assumed that as they built up, they would be more noticeable; or maybe perhaps when he went in the bathroom in the afternoon or evening, then he might notice them and then and pick them up. Sadly, no. None of these things took place. They seemed reasonable assumptions on my part, but they were apparently utterly foreign to my beloved offspring.
As this trend continued and I made repeated attempts at correcting this behavior to no avail, my anger and frustration grew. This small issue was growing and consuming my energy and attention. Every time I walked past his bathroom and saw another infraction, I had a negative emotional reaction. What irked me most of all is my son’s unwillingness to understand how monumental this issue really was. To my utter amazement, to him this was just no big deal. Which of course set me off on another tirade all by itself.
My Ah-Ha Moment
I was talking about this struggle I was having (and it is important to note only I was having it — the only struggle my son was having was with me and my ever increasing reactions) and a close friend of mine said to me, “Maybe that’s just his personality. Perhaps you should just let it go and not make such a big deal about it.” I just stood there with my mouth open. I was stunned. If it had been a movie, there would have been a quelling of music in the background. I started laughing. She, of course, was right. I had become a prisoner of my thoughts. Thoughts I was sure were positive, good and right, but were making me feel bad. I believed that I was helping my son by training him to not leave his clothes in the bathroom. I did the natural thing and had played it all the way out, reassuring myself that I was saving him from eminent disaster in later life by keeping him from divorce because he was totally incapable of picking up his dirty clothes off the floor. He’s only 14. Perhaps he might just grow out of it – even without my “help.”
I got so wrapped up in my thoughts, I forgot to use my guidance system to check in with myself. My feelings of anger and irritation were my flags that something was off, yet I overrode them by reassuring myself that I was right. But I heeded the old adage, “You can be right or happy, choose one.” I changed course and went with happy.
"Feelings of worth can flourish only in an atmosphere where individual differences are appreciated, mistakes are tolerated, communication is open and rules are flexible - the kind of atmosphere that is found in a nurturing family." ~Virginia Satir
Change Your Mind and Everything Changes
His clothes still adorn the bathroom floor and I still walk past and shake my head, but now I do it with a little smile. Nothing has changed except the way I think about the situation. My new mantra is, “Isn’t he so cute.” I now focus my thoughts on the things I adore about my son, and I notice I am getting more of those things from him instead of the resistance and struggle brought out by my last stance.
The Universe is made up of wonderful checks and balances and your mind/body connection is one of those miracles. Our lives have become full of distractions and disconnects. But the more you can open that channel, the more grounded and magical your daily life can become.
The first step is to consciously begin tying the two together. When you are feeling discomfort in your body, ask yourself, “What is the thought I was just thinking?” In turn, as you listen to your mind chatter, pause for a moment, drop into your body and ask yourself, “How does this make me feel?” These exercises will help unblock your Mind/Body connection.
Be Wary of the Serpent in Designer Clothing
Overtly negative thoughts are easy to spot, but be on the lookout for the ones that seem positive, but elicit “bad” feelings. It is very easy to ignore the guidance of these feelings and overwrite them with the intellectual idea that our mind knows best. This is where the insidiously tricky, stickiness of our thoughts get us. It’s like having the President fire the Congress and the Supreme Court and appoint himself to be his own set of checks and balances. We would be all up in arms if that happened; yet we let our thoughts convince us that they know what’s best. If you listen very closely, you might even catch the slight hissing sound that rolls off the serpent’s tongue when you hear that inner voice whisper, “Trust me, you are in the right.”
You Already Have the Answer
So for those of you who are struggling with the idea that you want to find your life purpose and/or want to accomplish something important, here’s your answer. You are already fulfilling your life’s purpose every time you laugh or connect with someone or love or feel good. Just as you are already accomplishing something important just by adding your unique imprint on the Universe.
Your purpose is to be in love with you. There is no greater gift you can give to the world, because only you can give it. That’s why it is also your biggest, most important accomplishment. Your uniqueness is the accomplishment — it is an accomplishment of being, not doing. So be the most wonderful version of yourself possible and feel your emotional guidance system give your new way of thinking a standing ovation.
Donna Burick, a member of our 2016 Fit Family Challenge Panel of Experts, is a certified Holistic Life Coach Energy Therapist specialized in Body Talk™. With coaching and energy therapy, Burick guides her clients through the stress and chaos that comes with being a parent, creating solutions to help them find peace, clarity and happiness in their lives. For more information, please visit donnaburick.com or call 336-540-0088.