ANT 5 "Thinking with your Feelings"
• This occurs when you believe your negative feelings without ever questioning them. You tell yourself, "I feel this way, so it must be true."
• For example:
"I feel I’ll never be successful."
"I feel stupid."
"I feel this person doesn’t like me."
"I feel like a failure."
"I feel unloved, so I'm going to...<bad choice>..."
"I feel guilty, so I’m a bad person."
"I feel angry with you, so you did me wrong."
"I feel 'in-love with' this person, so I'm going to...<bad choice>..."
"I feel 'I don't love' this person, so I'm going to...<bad choice>..."
"I feel 'I hate' this person, so I'm going to...<bad choice>..."
• REALITY CHECK: Feelings are very complex and often based on powerful memories from the past. Feelings oftentimes LIE to you, and they’re not always true. They are just feelings. Whenever you have a strong negative feeling, check it out to see if it’s true. Do you have evidence to support your feelings now or are they based on past experiences. What is true, and what is a feeling? Just because you feel a certain way, don't make bad choices or decisions based on how you feel no matter how powerful the feelings are.
• This is why it's critically important to have an Ethos, or a set of guiding ethical and moral beliefs in which you live your life by (such as the 10 Commandments or the Golden Rule). If your feelings are telling you to do something contrary to your Ethos then your feeling are lying to you and you need to talk back to them.
• This is an extreme example: Your feelings say: "Everyone hates me; I can't do anything right; I wish I'd never been born; I just want crawl under a rock and die!"
Say back to your feelings: "The Ethos I live by says that suicide is never an option in life; It's not normal to want to die; So my feelings are lying to me; I must be seriously depressed; this would explain my irrational feelings; I should call a professional couselor, healthcare provider, or religious minister (e.g. pastor, priest, rabbi) as soon as possible and ask for help!"
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