Have you ever found yourself reacting to something that someone said or did, or to something that happened, in a way that you later regretted? Have you told yourself that you are not going to do this anymore and then BAM…it happens again? If so, you are not alone. I am going to explain to you why this happens and then what you can do to reduce the chances that this will happen again.
When this happens, we sometimes think that we are upset because of what someone said, did, or because of something that happened, however, this is never the case. We are upset because of what we THINK about what occurred. This may sound a bit strange but if you consider it and understand it fully, it is also very empowering. It is empowering because once you learn that it is not the external thing happening that causes your emotions, it is what you think about them, then you can choose different thoughts which result in you feeling differently.
Let me give you a few examples to help explain this concept.
You worked hard on a project at work and created something you are proud of. You have put in lots of extra time to meet a deadline, did what your boss asked you to do, and you are proud of what you accomplished. The following week, your boss presents the project and does not give you any recognition for having done all the work. You become angry and frustrated as you watch your boss get tons of positive feedback and praise for your work. You may think that you are upset because of what she did, however, you are upset because of what you think about what she did.
Of course, what she did triggers the thought, but the thought is yours and therefore you have control over it. You may be thinking, “She stole my work”, or “That is so unfair that she is taking credit for my work”, or “I feel so disrespected that she is doing this to me”. If you are thinking thoughts like this, you will feel angry, upset, hurt, and/or frustrated and will be more likely to react to the situation in a way that may not make you proud after the fact or that may cause you to have ongoing issues at work.
What if you chose different thoughts? What if instead you thought, “I know that I did the work and others see it as high quality work so I am proud of what I did”, or “She must be having a hard time that she feels she needs to take credit for my work”, or “I will make sure that next time I ask if I will be given credit for my work”, or “I know my boss sees me as an asset because she sees how much people like my work”. These thoughts do not change the situation and you may still wish she had given you credit, however, you will create different feeling with these thoughts that will result in you acting differently in response to the situation.
You are dating someone, and you are really starting to like them and see them as someone you want to spend more time with. You went out last weekend and had a nice time, however, you have not heard from them all week. You replay your date in your mind to try to figure out if you did something “wrong” that made them not want to reach out to you. You tell yourself things like, “I will never have a successful relationship”, or “I am going to be alone forever”, or “He/she probably found someone better than me”. If you think thoughts like this you will feel sad, negative about yourself, and unhappy as a result of these thoughts. What is important to keep in mind, however, is that that the person you have been dating not contacting you is not the cause of your feelings, it is what you are thinking about them not reaching out to you that is causing your feelings.
What if you decided to think differently about the situation? What if instead you thought, “I bet they are having a really busy week and I know they will reach out when things calm down”, or “If they are not interested I would rather know now before I become more attached to them”, or “I can reach out to them, just as easily as they can reach out to me but I have not done so either”, or “I am going to reach out and check in, then I will at least know if they are still interested”. As with situation #1, it does not change the actual situation, however, it will change how you feel about the situation.
You are focused getting healthier and have been exercising and eating healthier. You are proud of how well you have been doing. You step on the scale and you have not lost a single pound so you think, “It does not matter what I do, I will always be this weight”, or “I give up, this is a waste of my time”, or “I am not capable of doing this”. If you think that way, you will feel frustrated, angry with yourself, depressed, and/or hopeless. If you feel like this, it may trigger you to eat, or to give up or trying to improve your health or lose weight.
Remember, what you think about a situation is what causes your feelings, not the situation itself. What if instead you thought, “I wish the number on the scale went down but I know that what I have been doing is good for me”, or “Even if I did not lose weight, I have more energy which is good”, or “I know this will take time and a little progress every day makes a difference”. If you think this way you will feel proud of what you have been doing, hopeful that you are getting some positive results, and motivated to continue.
What we think matters. When you notice yourself experiencing negative emotions, that may cause you to make a decision you regret (lash out at your boss, beat yourself up about not being able to sustain a relationship, or quitting on a health journey), ask yourself if there is an alternative way of thinking about the situation that may result in you feeling better and in taking different action.
Feel free to reach out to me if you are wanting more information about how this works. You can contact me HERE at [email protected].
You can also check out my many free resources on the Karen Vincent Solutions website.
Live your best boss lady life.
Karen Vincent Solutions