What are you struggling with today? Are you feeling unappreciated? Do you hate your job? Are you upset with your children or another family member? Are you surrounded by people you have nothing in common with? Do you want to change careers, but you think you are stuck? Are you unhappy with your body?
Would you believe me if I told you that our thoughts cause us to struggle with all those issues and many others?
Most people never see the connection between the thoughts they are thinking and the way they are feeling. The things people around us say or do, and the things that happen to us, do not determine how we feel. In between the comment someone makes or the action they take, and the way we feel, there are thoughts. Many of us never question those thoughts. We believe these thoughts are messengers from God giving us insight into what is true and we move into action based on that assumption.
Thoughts that are unloving, judgmental toward others, or critical of ourselves, are not likely coming from the Holy Spirit or The Universe. Instead, those ideas come from our ego’s perception of what was said or done by the other person. We come up with an explanation for what the other person said or did and we slap a label on that person or situation. Then we proceed to behave as if those thoughts are the truth.
For example, John tells his ex-wife that he can’t pick up the children at daycare because he has plans for the evening. Heather, his ex-wife, interprets that to mean that John doesn’t care about his kids. When she thinks that thought, she gets angry at John and tells her friends that John is inconsiderate and selfish. The truth is, Heather does not know for sure that John is being inconsiderate or selfish because she cannot read his mind or know what is in his heart. If she stopped for a moment and questioned her thoughts about John, she may start to recall all the loving and generous things John has done for the children. What would Heather start to feel about John if she replaced the thought that he is selfish and inconsiderate with the thought that John is a thoughtful and loving father who adores his children? She might still be upset that John can’t pick up the kids from daycare, but she would not feel a need to make disparaging remarks about John’s character or strike out at him.
Even if we never express them, when we harbor unkind thoughts toward another, we create a contentious relationship. When we question our thoughts about another person, and can be honest with ourselves, we will often see the error in our thinking.
Let’s consider Karen’s situation. Karen is a single parent, who works as an administrative assistant in a large corporation. She has been there for 10 years, is paid well, and is able to work from home three days a week. Unfortunately, a corporate decision is made and the company no longer allows employees to work remotely. Karen doesn’t like her job, but the convenience of working at home, healthcare insurance, and the high salary, were perks that she did not want to give up. Now, that she will have to commute to the office daily, she is feeling resentful and angry at her employer. As her Coach, I would ask Karen to question her anger and resentment toward her employer. If she is able to do that in an open-minded and honest manner, she will realize that the person she is angry with, is herself. She is angry at herself for not taking the courses she wanted to take, to become an interior decorator. She realizes that she trapped herself in a job she doesn’t find rewarding. When Karen thinks that her employer is to blame, she feels powerless because she has no control of corporate decisions.
However, when Karen realizes that she made choices that led to her current circumstance, that thought puts the power back in Karen’s hands. She has new choices to make… She can either focus on finding the rewarding aspects of her current job and choose to stay. Or, she could choose to start taking those interior decorator classes after work and begin taking steps toward changing careers. Or, she might decide to take a part-time job as a home-stager for a real estate agent. This option, would allow her to keep the job that pays the bills and provides medical coverage for her and her child; and also satisfy her desire to work in the field of home decor. Other possible options might surface for Karen, as she slows down her thinking and takes responsibility for her choices.
Most of our struggles are the result of unquestioned thoughts. When we have the courage to question our thoughts, we open the way for a new perspective to present itself. When we see a person or situation from a different point of view, the possibilities for finding peace are endless.
Today, question the thoughts that are causing you to struggle and feel distressed. Notice what happens when you choose not to believe everything you think.