Change your Thoughts
When you have negative or disturbing feelings it is usually
because you are having negative thoughts.
We have to be able to determine if our feelings are the results of
irrational or rational thoughts.
As an example, if we steal something and we end up feeling guilty about it, because we had the thought “that was wrong, now I feel bad”.
well, we would say that is a rational thinking process.
As we approach applying cognitive therapy and its techniques to help change the way that you think and feel, remember - we operate in this way:
We perceive an event
We think about the event
We feel about it
We Perceive, Think, Feel.
Our feelings are a direct result of what we are thinking. So often we focus on
what we are feeling. “I feel anxiety” “I feel angry” “I feel depressed”.
One might say by doing this we are living in the problem.
It is important here to address semantics and self talk. In communication, there is a huge difference between “you make me angry” and “I am angry at you”.
The difference is when we say “you make me angry”; we are blaming the other person. There are no little green men in the other person that jump into us and “make” us feel a certain way. We have to learn so we take responsibility for ourselves. So by saying “I am angry at you” we are taking that responsibility.
It is important to change our thinking.
If we have the thought “He makes me angry”, we need to change our thinking to;
“I am angry at him”. This is a really basic example of cognitive therapy.
One of the most common examples of inflicting guilt upon oneself is by using “should have” could have” and would have”. We could replace these thoughts to “I-chose-not-to”.
Instead of saying to ourselves “I should have taken that job”, we need to replace it with “I chose not to have taken that job”.
Cognitive therapy is not about repressing thoughts; it is about replacing irrational thought with rational thoughts
It is a beginning to taking responsibility for ourselves and
to be accountable for our choices.