Thoughts create feelings
If you’ve read the article on the Life Model, you’ll remember that I said our thoughts are responsible for our feelings. It’s not the event that causes us to respond with a particular emotion. It’s our thoughts about what that event means to us.
Circumstances don’t create feelings. If they did, then everyone would see those circumstances the same way. And you know that’s not the case.
There’s a very simple mantra within the world of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), which says you should always remember that the map is not the territory. Every situation you face, you’ll filter through your belief system. The result of that filtration gives you a map of your World.
If you put 10 different people in that same situation, you’ll likely get 10 different descriptions of what that same situation meant to each of them. What each of them experiences is their MAP of the situation, not the actual situation, or territory.
An example of Map vs Territory
A simple example is that of a home invasion. Let’s say that two houses in the same street are burgled on the same day.
The owner of the first home may see this invasion as a personal attack. They now spend every day locked in their home with the curtains drawn. Constantly peeking through into the street, all the time convinced that the house is being watched by the perpetrator.
The owner of the second home, although experiencing the exact same event, may simply mark it up to the fact that the house was empty at the time and the opportunity was too much to pass up for the criminal. They fit a burglar alarm and think no more of it.
The first person viewed the burglary as a personal attack; they probably hold a belief that says strangers aren’t to be trusted. The second person saw it as an opportunistic burglary and they probably hold the belief that generally, people are good. The same situation, two different maps!
As I said, everyone’s map is slightly different. And I’m not saying that you should be blaming your client for the things that they’re struggling with. But, it’s important they take responsibility for the way they feel.
If your client is constantly blaming other people, or outside events for what’s happening to them, they’ll never make any real progress. Simply because they’ll never change other people and they don’t control outside events. But, once they accept that it’s their thoughts about a situation that causes the reaction, they can take steps to resolve the associated thoughts.
Once they learn to take responsibility for their thoughts, they become the most powerful person in their life. No one can make them feel a certain way if they don’t want to. This gives them huge power… But, they have to accept responsibility for their feelings first.
Once they understand which values are they’re striving for and the rules that help them to reach them, they can start to understand why situations affect them in a certain way.
So, to sum up, the point behind this article is…
- It’s the thought about a situation or event that determines how you feel about it.
- All of your feelings are yours to take full responsibility for.
- Every thought you have creates a feeling inside of you. And it’s the only thing that creates a feeling inside of you.
- You are deciding to have that thought at that moment. It’s your choice.
- Every choice you make is determined by your core values and your belief system.
If you’ve got any questions or thoughts, I’d love to read them in the comments below.