You think your thoughts. Right? Nope.
You feel your thoughts. Let us explain.
A thought is a transient mental sentence you say to yourself inside your mind. What follows is a story or impression about your thought. The result is a feeling or sensation in your body that relates to the thought.
In other words, your thoughts evoke feelings. This is why we say you feel your thoughts. The tricky part is that this sequence happens fast and is often unconscious and subtle.
It is important to understand how this internal system operates inside of you. This awareness will help you understand that your thoughts about life and the feelings they create do not happen to you. Rather, they are created within you and by you.
If you are not aware of how this mechanism works, you might mistakenly believe that outside or external circumstances are responsible for your feelings. You live in the feeling of your own thinking.
Here is an example of how this works:
You start thinking that you need a new car. You begin noticing new cars that look better, with the shape, color and new gadgets that you want. In fact, they seem to be everywhere. As you imagine yourself in this new car, you feel excitement. Then you begin to notice how your current car doesn’t shine quite as bright. It has some dings and scratches. The more you focus on how your current car doesn’t match up to the car in your imagination, the more unhappy you become. It’s not that your current car doesn’t do the job it was meant to do, and do it well. It’s just no longer making you happy. You have not yet noticed that this entire scenario has taken place entirely inside your own mind.
No one in the outside world has changed the way you think and feel about your current car. And your car hasn’t changed. All of this unhappiness was created by you. It has taken place inside your head because of how you are thinking about your car and what you don’t have (a shiny new car).
In the TED* (*The Empowerment Dynamic)® we use the acronym FISBE to name how this internal thinking-feeling system works. The F stands for your thought or what you Focus on. The IS stands for the resulting Inner State—-the feelings that comes from your thoughts. The BE represents the BEhaviors or actions you choose in response to your emotions.
Why does this matter? It matters to encourage you to spend less time on thoughts, emotions and dramas that you cannot control, and instead observe your thoughts and resulting emotions that you can control.
It also matters because giving your power away to outside circumstances means you are at risk of slipping into a Dreaded Drama Triangle (DDT) relationship with life events. In the example above, you may feel Victimized by your old car, viewing a new car as a Rescuer hoping it will make you happy.
When you understand that your experience of life comes from your own mind, you are no longer at the mercy of outside events. You can know deep inside yourself that another thought is just around the corner and that one thought can change your entire perspective.
Just because you understand how the FISBE operates inside you, doesn’t mean life will always be goodness and light. Problems will still happen, and negative feelings will surface. Now you can understand how your focus (your thoughts) evoke negative feelings, and, you can choose to shift your focus and notice that your feelings change.
There’s only one thing that really gets you stuck—-your own thinking. And, you can change it.
As the old adage goes, you can change your thinking and change your life. By shifting to what you do want (eventually, a new car), the thought of which evokes pleasant thoughts (rather than negative feelings for what you currently have), you can begin taking “Baby Steps” (e.g. saving more money; researching cars and prices).