Picture of people excited at workHave you ever read Feeling Good by David Burns? If you have the dominant strength of responsibility, you probably find yourself “should-ing” all the time. You know what I mean. You live by this internal list of rules no one else is aware of, and you “should” yourself to death.

Perhaps you fall into the trap of overgeneralization. You base a decision on one piece of evidence and take the conclusion as truth for all scenarios. That’s not using the strength of context, is it?

These are just two of the core irrational beliefs that David Burns speaks of.

I know the struggle is real! I’ve said simultaneously “I can climb the ladder.” and “I can’t climb the ladder.” There’s an inner battle between positive and negative self-talk which stems from these core irrational beliefs.

Here are all 12 to identify the ones you struggle with:

Filtering, black and white thinking, over-generalization, mind-reading, catastrophizing, personalization, control fallacies, blaming, “shoulds”, emotional reasoning, being right, and deserved reward fallacy.

We have to learn to separate thoughts, feelings, actions, and beliefs. Feelings are like the swirling wind, changing direction and coming and going. They may be pleasant or unpleasant. But, like the wind, we can’t stop our feelings; we can only navigate them. Anchor your feelings to your positive thoughts. Which feelings do you struggle to keep in check? Are you more controlled by your thoughts or feelings?

Recently I felt sad and mad. A friend, trying to console me, said, “Don’t fret. It will get better.” I responded, “It’s ok for me to feel this way for a little while. I don’t always have to be positive.” Feelings are normal and we all experience a range of emotions. Paul Ekman discovered there were six basic emotions across all cultures: happiness, surprise, sadness, anger, disgust, and fear. His research also showed that each culture had cultural norms as to how a person should regulate their emotions and what was accepted to express.

King Solomon in all of his wisdom said, “There is a time for everything, a season for every activity under heaven, a time to weep, and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to embrace and a time to refrain, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to love and a time to hate.” 

The Byrds, a band, must have found wisdom in it too because they put these words to music.

In your home, did you have permission to feel happy but not express anger? Did you have permission to feel sad and cry, or was there pressure to always be strong and optimistic?

Take time to discover who you are, what beliefs were influenced by your upbringing, and what you want to choose to change today. Here are some questions you may want to explore:

  1. What moments are you especially proud of?
  2. List your psychological triumphs. Include seasons of stress that you survived and overcame, small events that were of great importance to you, significant events from your childhood, self-created challenges you faced head-on with vigor, moments when you felt powerful, and any other pivotal moments that come to mind as you journal.
  3. How have your successes shaped your life?
  4. How have they affected your goals?
  5. What role has pride, being praised and praising others, played in your life?

By taking time to discover how you responded to negative and positive feelings, you can explore whether those responses are serving you well or if you need to renew your mind and allow a fresh mindset to guide your future.

Scripture tells us to “renew our mind daily”, and the world phrases it “garbage in, garbage out”. Either way, it’s evident we have “trash” in our minds that is holding us hostage, and only through exploring our mindset and renewing our mind with truth can we achieve all we were created to achieve.

Consider scheduling an Ask Brent Anything call here.

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