No matter how much we work on ourself, develop strategies for living joyful lives or manifest all that makes us feel good we will still experience pain. It is the one thing that is inevitable in this journey of being a human being. Some of us will experience more or less of it during our life – but we will all experience loosing someone, things going wrong, physical dis-ease and emotional distress. Learning how to deal with these in a way that DOESN’T magnify the story and increase their impact is one of the most liberating journeys we can make.
The first step is to accept that pain is part of living and when we bump up against it we can choose to not take it personally. We can learn to recognise the emotion and sit with it. Just allow it to be. It is what it is.
If we can do this, remaining present with the emotion that the event stirred, it passes and often more quickly that we expect. Think of a little child who has fallen and is cuddled and kissed all better. The pain fades and the crying ceases. But if that little one then sees blood running down their leg or the caregiver looking worried or scared, the pain magnifies. Instead of soothed, the tears magnify into a howl. The event gained a whole new and terrifying perspective which caused more pain and suffering and possibly even a long term painful memory. We do this to ourselves with our thought processes.
There are 4 ways habitual ways of thinking that magnify instead of soothe our pain. These ways of thinking set up long term limiting beliefs that cause endless suffering and blind us to reality and being present. Yes, the initial experience hurts but it is up to us how we respond. We may need to deal with an issue but these thought patterns make us victims and rob us of the power of change. Noticing that you do them is the first step to changing the way you think and changing your life.
1. Generalising An Experience …..
“I will never learn to ride this bike.” “No one will ever love me.” “I hate my life.” “Life sucks.” All of these may be true at some specific time but they cannot be true all the time.
We need to question the truth of sweeping statements such as these to take away their power and bring back the actual truth in the present moment. “I fell off again, but I am staying on for longer and longer.” “Lots of people love me, he didn’t but there are lots of other he’s out there.” “I am finding everything really hateful at the moment. I am gong to bed. Tomorrow things will look different.” “My life is really not going my way right now. That sucks. But that will change.” All of these turnarounds and re-frames change the way you think and offer so much opportunity for new possibilities and the ability to recognise it for the truth.
2. Black and White Thinking ….
“You are wonderful” “You are terrible” When we use this type of thinking we see others as all good or all bad. It is difficult to see them as a multi facetted persona – which course everyone is.
Practicing seeing all aspects of a situation or person and just accepting that which is difficult can help to broaden this perspective, increase our empathy and compassion and ultimately our connection with ourself. That which we do to others we can begin to do with ourself, learning to accept the light and the shadow of others gives us permission to accept our own.
3. Labelling …
“I am stupid” “I am mean”, yes, you might do stupid things sometimes – we all do and sometimes we also might be unloveable or mean, but labelling ourselves or others as anything creates a finite identity which can become self fulfilling. “I am stupid so I can’t learn anything new.” “I am mean so I can treat others badly.” “They are stupid so I will just ignore everything they say.” “They are mean so they meant to hurt me when they ….” This type of thinking blinds us to seeing reality and staying open to the truth.
Again take time to see reality, maybe you did do something that was a little foolish but bring it back to that resent moment and be precise. “Putting the scissors in the freezer was a really funny thing to do! I must not have been thinking” “Jeez, I could have been more compassionate when my friend told me about that date, my laughing definitely hurt her. It was funny but next time I will laugh with her not at her.”
4. Emotional Rationalisation ….
When we rationalise an emotion into a thought instead of realising that we might be using an old moment of pain to try to make sense of a current feeling we become victims of our thought processes. “I feel rejected so you must be rejecting me.” “I feel ignored so you must not see me or want to be with me.” “I feel unappreciated so you must not appreciate me.”
Recognising the feeling as current and sinking into the notion underneath can allow it to pass through without judgement, leaving us feeling empowered in life. For example recognising that the feeling of rejection may actually be from a difficult childhood and not actually because of a lack of text messages from the new love means we can sit with the old feeling, knowing it is just a feeling. We can then be open when we find out that the phone died instead of having to apologise for an explosion or inappropriate messages triggered by unchallenged negative assumptions.
These 4 thought patterns can be very attractive, especially if they align with a belief that others need to change to make us happy.
Taking back the power and recognising that some of your habitual ways of thinking may be contributing to your misery and that you can change the way you think, starts the process towards more peace and joy and better relationships all around.
This article was written by Gay Landeta with the intention of helping you to Create the Life you Want to Live! All rights reserved 2016.