This winter I led an incredible group of women through a coaching program focused on fostering self-love. We spent six weeks exploring our belief systems, feelings, goals, dreams, and relationships. It was an epically inspiring journey.
As fate would have it, our session devoted to feelings happened to land on Valentine’s Day. I hadn’t planned it this way, but it couldn’t have been more appropriate. One of the lessons I teach in this session is that your feelings come from your thoughts.
Feeling anxious? You are thinking a thought that makes you to feel anxious.
Feeling motivated? You are choosing a thought that makes you to feel motivated.
Feeling confident? Inspired? Worried? Joyful? It all stems from your thinking – not other people’s actions, not your boss, job or kids. Your thinking causes your feelings.
I know, it’s SO counterintuitive to what you learned as a kid. You are taught to be kind so as not to hurt other kids’ feelings. You might still be teaching this lesson to your kids.
It also goes against what you come to believe as you get older and start crossing off your life’s bucket list. Get the promotion and feel accomplished. Get married and feel loved. Get the dream job and feel secure.
These are all great moments and milestones in life, but none of them cause you to feel anything. It is what you make them mean. And that meaning is informed by the thoughts you think about those circumstances.
This concept might’ve been more digestible on any other day. But on Valentine’s Day, the group found it very hard to believe that feelings come from anything BUT other people’s actions and words.
If a husband had done or said something, the feeling was positive. If he hadn’t, the feeling was negative. But through conversation, the group saw that it was the thinking around his actions that actually caused the feeling. To put in the simplest terms:
❤️ He acknowledged Valentine’s Day -> THOUGHT: he cares about me -> FEELING: loved and appreciated
💔 He didn’t do anything -> THOUGHT: he doesn’t care about me -> FEELING: disappointed
I’ll be honest, I get it. I used to believe that my “hurt” feelings were because of other people’s actions and words. But through coaching (predominantly this one concept) I found so much more power and control over my life by believing that I was responsible for my own emotional wellbeing. That MY thinking is the source of my suffering or the key to my contentment (and everything in between).
And there’s nothing wrong with feeling disappointed, pissed, or sad. You are human and these are human emotions. But own your role in them. Not from a place of beating yourself up or thinking, “I can’t believe I am doing this to myself” but from a place of curiosity, love and compassion.
I am sharing this with you now because I imagine the same thoughts and feelings can creep up on Mother’s Day. You might have expectations and, when met or not met, the thoughts start flooding to fuel all the feels. Or you might be on the receiving end of your mom, mother-in-law, or mother-figure’s feelings and assign meaning to those words and actions.
Take stock of what you’re feeling this Sunday. Do you like how you feel? If not, consider what you’re making other people’s actions mean.
Is that the only way to look at it?
Why do you believe this is true?
What is another meaning you could give to their actions?
Managing your mind and taking responsibility for your feelings is a life-changing skill. I saw it with my coaching group, I see it within myself. I am here to share it with you.