Thoughts come and go. Some are conscious. Others are unconscious. Either way, they have their say in our feelings. In fact, Sid Banks, creator of the 3 Principles, once said, “We live in the feeling of our thoughts.”
This idea is that we have a thought and feel the content of that thought to our own joy or detriment.
So, if I say, ‘Sally is trying to hurt me’, I may feel sad, hurt, angry, or resentful.
Meanwhile, chances are, Sally was just taking care of herself, with little to no thought of me. Most people are too caught up in their own lives after all to spend much time focused on the effects of their actions on others.
So, what does this mean if you love someone with a substance use and/ or mental health challenge?
He or she may do something you don’t like, such as repeatedly taking drugs, leading them to crash the car or lose their job.
You may then have the thought, “She is trying to give me a heart attack.”
Following that thought, you may feel weak in the chest and fall on the floor, too upset to hold yourself up.
Is she trying to give you a heart attack? Do her use and its consequences have anything to do with what she is trying to do to you?
Often, being aware of the mechanics of thought and feeling can halt the downward spiral!
In the BALM, we often refer to the power of our thoughts to shift us. Perspective is powerful, isn’t it?
Yet, the attitudinal shift we discuss isn’t about trying to force a different thought or ‘control’ your thoughts. Rather, it’s about simply being aware.
Next time you feel a strong feeling, identify it. Are you feeling sad? Angry? Resentful? Then, follow the trail back to the thought that led to that feeling and just sit with the awareness of the thought-feeling connection
Next time you have a thought that really hits you, be aware of your emotional response to that thought and observe the connection.