Thought Addiction

Photo by JESHOOTS.com from Pexels

Photo by JESHOOTS.com from Pexels

We are what our thoughts have made us; so be aware of what you think.

Learning Too Drive

Growing up in a very small town in North-Eastern Wyoming was very different than it is now. Back then it was safe for us kids to go wherever we wanted any time. We’d ride our bikes to the pond at the far end of town one day and be up on the hill across from our house building a fort the next. During the summer we never went inside until about 10 pm. It was still light enough to see what we were building.

We didn’t have to worry about strangers in town or kids being kidnapped like we do today. We basically roamed the town at will. If parents wanted us they’d step outside and call. We’d hear. No traffic noise. It was quiet.

The town was two blocks wide and three blocks long. My parent’s house, nursing home, occupied one side of the last street on the upper end of town.

If you’ve ever been to Wyoming, you know that most of the state is flat, except for the little corner we lived in which was the part of the Black Hills that spilled over from South Dakota into Wyoming.

Shortly after I turned 12 my dad decided it was time for driving lessons. One day he didn’t tell me where we were going or what we were going to do, he just told me to get in the car. He started the engine and pointed car East on I90.

Now, I90 back then was a two-lane road with only occasional traffic going either way, not like today. The terrain going out of town was flat with barely any vegetation, so the road was also flat, no dips or turns, flat.

About a mile out of town we pulled off the road. He turned off the car, got out and walked around and opened my door. To that point, I still had not been told that this was my first driving lesson.

“Your turn,” he said.

I looked at him with a quizzical look, “I’m going to drive?”

He nodded, “Scoot over.”

Remember the bench seats? I scooted over.

I grabbed the steering wheel with my hands, but my feet couldn’t reach the pedals, so dad moved the seat up. I noticed that his knees, were touching the dashboard, but he didn’t seem to mind.

I started to turn the car on and heard him scream, “No, wait. I’ll tell you what to do. First press the clutch all the way to the floor, press the brake with your other foot then turn the key.”

I carefully followed the steps and the engine came to life.

I let the clutch out and the engine chugged to a stop. I tried again. This time I got it started, put it in gear and popped the clutch out and took my foot off the brake. The car lunged forward into a field of dirt and rocks. Fortunately, it was flat ground all around so there was nothing to hit or damaged.

After several attempts, I got the car back on the road and we chugged clumsily down the road. My legs were tired of trying to hold and release the clutch. I finally just stopped in the middle of the road and turned off the engine. We hadn’t seen any cars all day, so I figured it was safe to stop. I may not have even thought about it, I was done.

Dad walked around the car and took over. I had always thought driving would be so much fun, at that point I was rethinking my premise.

A few days later, we tried it again. It went better. It wasn’t long until I was driving on the open highway. He still didn’t trust me in town, even though there were only a few parked cars along the sidewalks.

 

Automatic Thoughts

It doesn’t really matter whether you are learning to drive a car, typing, riding a bike, swing a golf club or tennis racket. At first, you have to think about every movement.

I remember learning to drive. I’d get so tired, I just wanted to go home and take a nap. My arms ached. My legs ached. My head hurt. I was using new muscles that hadn’t been used in that manner before. I had to think about every action I took.

It wasn’t long until I could start the car without ending up in the field. I could work the clutch and the brake at the same time for a smooth ride instead of feeling like I was on a bucking horse. At that point, my driving thoughts had become automatic thoughts.

Knee Jerk Thoughts are also automatic thoughts where you act according to a certain ritualistic manner but without any thought. These are habits that you don’t put any conscious thought into, such as putting your elbows on the table, nail-biting, slouching, playing with your hair, chewing your cheek or tongue, etc.

 

Reflexive Thoughts

Reflexive Thoughts, as defined by the dictionary, is a thought that is in response to something. The reflexive thoughts are the conclusion you have drawn from your early childhood experiences. Over time they also become automatic thoughts, but they are different because they are directly connected to experiences which led to detailed thinking.

As a child you draw conclusions from direct experiences, the media, watching other people, and listening to what others say. This means that the experiences you had in your family of origin, caregivers, society, school, and peers influenced your thoughts and beliefs about yourself.

If you have negative thoughts and beliefs about yourself it is likely that you have encountered negative experiences that have contributed to your thoughts and beliefs. The way you were treated during your early years affects the way you see yourself and who you are.

For example, if you were mistreated, punished frequently in an extreme or unpredictable manner, neglected, abandoned, or abused it is not surprising that you would feel insecure, self-doubt, pessimism, and fear. You would often have thoughts similar to “I can’t do that,” “I’m not good enough,” “I could have done better.”

These negative thoughts about yourself, your abilities, other people, and the world around you eventually become a habit. Reflexive Thoughts then can be negative thoughts about yourself and your situation repeated over and over. They are automatic and habitual.

People can become addicted to almost anything even their own thoughts.

Most of the time these reflexive thoughts originate in early childhood, but sometimes people experience negative events later in life that also chip away at their self-esteem creating negative thoughts and feelings about themselves resulting in Negative Reflexive Thoughts. For example, a person can be bullied or intimidated at work, find themselves in an abusive relationship, experience traumatic events, such as life-altering illnesses or injuries, or experience prolonged financial hardship.

 

Conclusion

Although you don’t intentionally practice Negative Reflexive Thinking, these thoughts are still rehearsed and practiced. Every time a negative experience that is somewhat similar to your childhood the Reflexive Thought pops into your mind, “I’m not good enough,” “I’ll never have enough money,” “I can’t do this,” “I’ll never be a success in _______.”

As adults, I’m sure you have had experiences that are quite different from your early childhood experiences. Yet, you might still hear, your parent’s voice correcting you or yelling at you. You might also yourself repeating the negative thoughts.

We continue to have Reflexive Thoughts go through our mind, even though the current circumstances are different from those in the past.

Perhaps, your Reflexive Thoughts have had a negative impact on your ability to accomplish your goals or be successful. Take some time to read and think about the questions and scenarios below. Write down a brief description of your experiences and the resulting reflexive thoughts, good or bad.

  1. What early experiences did you have that might have contributed to the way you view and feel about yourself?
  2. Describe any recent stressful life experiences that have negatively affected how you view yourself.
  3. Describe any rules and/or assumptions you have developed about yourself.

Remember, the judgments you have made about yourself are only opinions. They are not facts. They are only opinions that have been developed and rehearsed.

In learning to drive a car, you have to practice, until your actions become smooth and you can drive in automatic mode, without thinking about every movement.

You also need to practice overcoming and replacing Reflexive Thoughts. When a Reflexive Thought goes through your mind and you feel the accompanying emotion, replace it with the OPPOSITE THOUGHT.

If the thought says, “I can’t do that,” replace it with “I can do that.” If it says, “I’ll never be a success,” replace it with “I can and will be successful.”

It may seem very strange and even scary to replace your negative Reflexive Thoughts because you have become identified with them. But, as you begin to replace them you will find a new identity in your Postive Reflexive Thoughts. The author in, Regurgitated Thoughts, talks about the fear he felt when during meditation he experienced a brief episode of no thoughts because our thoughts confirm us.

DO THE OPPOSITE.

The repetition and rehearsal of the positive statements will become as automatic and reflexive as the negative ones were. But, the positive Reflexive Thoughts will lead you to a more positive, happy, fulfilling life. Is it worth a try?

Talking Down About Yourself

Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay

Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay

“It’s not attractive to be talking down about yourself all the time. All you continue to do to yourself is pull yourself further down into a deeper place of depression and sadness and insecurity and fear and hopelessness, so it’s like, having God in your life is important, accepting who you are is important, regardless of what you look like.” –  Lamman Rucker

Introduction 

We all have times when we experience insecurities, such as, a remark somebody makes that catch us off guard and we don’t know what to say or we get embarrassed. Most of us get insecure when we find ourselves in new situations.

But, some experience insecurities that are deeply rooted feelings that take a toll on the person’s self-esteem. These insecurities are often so intense that they give the person a distorted view of reality. These intense insecurities become dangerous because the person often cannot differentiate fiction from reality. Joseph Luciani, Ph.D. said they see windmills as dragons.

The deep-seated insecurities prohibit people from living a normal life. They often become very isolated from society. They allow their critical inner voice to say negative critical things to and about themselves, such as, “You’re not good enough,” “You’ll never make it.” Their critical inner voice talks down to them, which we wouldn’t allow anyone else to do to us. 

The story below is actually a true story. The names have been changed to protect the innocent. But, as you read, keep in mind that this really happened.

The Guy In The Window

Connie thought back over her childhood. She hadn’t thought much about the people or events from the nursing home until she started telling her coach, Gary, about her childhood. She was exposed to a large variety of people with many different issues. But one stood out very clearly, Jack, the guy in the window.

He was a strange guy. He actually lived in the cellar of the nursing home. Connie didn’t remember when he arrived. According to her memory, he’d always been in the cellar. She was close to 10 years of age when she was told that Jack was her dad’s brother. She was always a very curious child, so the fact of her uncle living in the cellar was of great concern to her. Why? Why was he locked in the cellar? She knew her dad locked him in at night. Why? It didn’t make any sense to her at all. Any time she asked either of her parents about him she was told it was none of her business.

She was told that he was different, he was retarded. He had had a very high fever when he was about five years of age, which left him with brain damage. He had never been to school and had basically been locked away his whole life.

Jack was the epitome of severe insecurity. Even though her parents owned the nursing home for the sick and elderly, he was not allowed upstairs with the rest of the patients. His room in the cellar was one room with a cot, a dresser, a toilet, sink, and shower. It was between the laundry room and the food cellar. He had one small window at eye level that opened into a space between the old house and the new addition that had been built. He exited through a side entrance with stairs that went to a rough wood cellar door.

Every morning, rain, shine or snow, as soon as he finished his breakfast, he would go outside and walk around and around and around the house. If anyone approached him or tried to talk to him, he’d hang his head, mutter something, and walk away. He acted like he was afraid of everyone.

Connie felt very sorry for him and over the years made friends with him. She discovered he was a very gentle soul, but had been shunned all of his life until he couldn’t talk to anyone. As their friendship developed he talked more to her. He would even make eye contact with her, which he did not do at all with anyone.

Daily you would often see him looking through the window into the sitting room of the nursing home where the patients would gather to watch television. He was allowed in only once a year on Christmas Eve when he was given a present then ushered back outside. The weather didn’t matter. He never missed a tv show, but he always watched from outside at the window.

If you were outside and close to Jack you could hear him talk about the characters from the tv shows as if they were real people that he interacted with on a regular basis. You would often hear him talking like he was on the show and it was real. He often would talk to Connie about the shows.

Everybody said, “He’s just retarded. He doesn’t know anything.” 

Connie made friends with him over a batch of kittens. The momma cat had her kittens in an area close to Jack’s window. When Connie found out where they were she’d go into his room, open the window and bring the kittens in, sit on his bed, and play with them. Jack discovered what she was doing and stayed in his room to play with the kittens, also. They’d sit on his bed and pet the kittens and talk. He was so gentle with the kittens. He was so afraid of hurting one of them. He also got so he’d talk to her about his tv shows and other things. He was able to overcome his insecurity with Connie and the kittens.

A year or so later, Jack needed surgery and was hospitalized in a town about 45 miles away. He had been back at the nursing home for a few months. During that time, if you listened closely to his dialogue with himself, you could hear him talk about going back to Deadwood, to the hospital and how he liked it there and how good they were to him. 

One night, Connie’s dad went into the cellar to lock him in, as was the customary procedure, when he discovered Jack was gone. It was dark outside. It was cold and beginning to snow. Dad called the police and started driving around looking for Jack, but didn’t find him.

Several hours later the police brought Jack back to the nursing home. They found him several miles down the road to Deadwood. The police asked him questions, but as usual, he just hung his head like he didn’t know what they were talking about. He wouldn’t make eye contact or acknowledge them in any way.

The next day he started telling Connie all about his adventure. He told her he was going back to the hospital where they treated him nice. He had a warm room and a soft bed. He described the food they brought him to eat. For weeks, he’d tell Connie that he was going back to Deadwood. 

Connie, being the curious kid that she was tried to figure out, “If he’s so retarded that he doesn’t know anything, how did he know to get on the right road to Deadwood?” 

The next spring when the weather warmed up again, Jack had come out of his shell enough by talking to Connie that he asked one of the old guys that were sitting in a wheelchair outside under the tree if he wanted to go for a ride. The old guy was up for an adventure.

Jack walked around the house looking in the windows to see where his brother was, to assess the situation. A little later he returned to the old guy in the wheelchair to verify that he was up for a ride. Jack took the brakes off the wheelchair and pushed it up onto the street. 

Once again, he headed in the direction of Deadwood. Later, the old guy told Connie’s dad that Jack talked the whole way about his stay at the hospital in Deadwood and how well he had been treated. 

An hour or so later, dad got a phone call asking him if he was missing a couple of patients. Dad said he didn’t think so, but asked why. The caller told him that two old guys were about five miles out of town headed toward Deadwood and one guy was pushing the other one in a wheelchair. 

Dad hopped in the car and caught up to them. This time it wasn’t a simple ride back. Dad made Jack push the wheelchair all the way back to the nursing home and it was all uphill.

Connie said to herself with a little laugh, “Jack’s much smarter than they give him credit for. He’s just afraid of people.”

At age 10 or 11 she didn’t know the word “insecurity,” but she knew he had them all fooled.

 

What is insecurity?

Joseph Luciani, Ph.D. lists some facts about insecurity in his book, The Power of Self-Coaching:

  • Insecurity is a feeling of vulnerability and/or helplessness.
  • Insecurity results from childhood psychological wounds—real or imagined.
  • Insecurity is the false belief that you can’t handle life or some aspect of life.
  • Ongoing insecurity is based on distortions of reality, not fact.
  • Insecurity becomes a habit of thinking and perceiving.
  • Insecurity minimizes the possibility for accurate self-perception.
  • Over time, insecurity feels like a natural part of your personality.
  • Insecurity becomes worse over time.
  • Like any habit, the habit of insecurity can be broken.

As Luciani states, Jack’s insecurities were a result of childhood psychological wounds. As Connie discovered, he wasn’t as retarded as most people thought. But because of the assumptions from his parents and other family members, they treated him as if he had no reasoning or learning capabilities, which enhanced his insecurities and feelings of vulnerability. 

Before he arrived at the nursing home he had lived in his sister’s house where he was relegated to the attic. So, he went from the attic to the cellar. Poor guy!!

Whenever he was around adults he felt very vulnerable and helpless. They all treated him as if he couldn’t handle life or any aspects of life, so he assumed the role and believed it himself until he was treated so much better in the hospital. 

Jack’s insecurity then was based on the fact that he believed what everybody said about him,” he was retarded and couldn’t do anything.” He adopted their habit of thinking, except for instances with Connie and, the funny part, he would walk around talking about the scenes from the tv shows and repeating the script as if he was one of the characters. I don’t think I could do that!

Over the years, Jack adopted his parent’s beliefs about him as true. His behavior then became normal and natural to him. 

But, he was able to develop new habits and behaviors with Connie and with the caregivers in the hospital.

 

Closer To Home

Many of us have insecurities that are minimal in comparison to Jack’s, yet, they cause us some discomfort, inconvenience, and concern. If Jack, who had all the odds stacked against him, could overcome his insecurities to talk to Connie and other caregivers, we should be able to break our habits of insecurities. We should be able to calm our critical inner voice.

Some people live with their insecurities and don’t attempt to change them stating that they were “genetically predisposed” to insecurities. 

Yes, there is a “genetic tendency or predisposition” to things like alcohol, drugs, obesity, bulimia, music, introversion, art, extroversion, etc., but that doesn’t mean that the person will manifest the trait. Sure your personality can be influenced by your genetic tendency, but it is not determined by it.

I for one can attest to “genetic predisposition.” My grandfather was a severe alcoholic. The first time I had a drink of alcohol it felt so good. It felt like going home. But, I also knew the dangers of the tendency toward alcoholism, so I never allowed it to manifest. I have a drink occasionally, but in all my years’ alcoholism has not manifested.

That is the same for any other “genetic predispositions.” So, you cannot blame insecurity on “genetic disposition.” So, what causes it? How does a person become insecure?

There are many theories as to the cause of insecurity. It could be the result of a traumatic event in a person’s early childhood or bullying at home by siblings or at school. It can also depend upon the quality of parenting they receive or it happens by some accident. 

Luciani states that more often than not it’s a by-product of faulty misperception or interpretation by the child. I know in my own childhood I was constantly assimilating information and trying to make interpretation of the events, words spoken, and actions by others. Many times, though,  information was missing or fragmented which yielded bad conclusions. Sometimes I was right in my assumptions, but just as often I was wrong. As I got older those bad assumptions had to be changed and updated. This happens to all of us as children to some degree.

If the assimilation and interpretation of information are combined with traumatic events the insecurity becomes more deeply rooted resulting in insecurities that become habits of behavior. These habits of insecurity can be broken and changed, just like any other habit. Again, it comes down to how badly do you want the change. Are you willing to accept the challenge and actually work at breaking the insecurity? It’s simple, but it’s not easy. It takes dedication and desire to make the change.

 

Jack’s New Home

Jack’s several attempts to go back to where he felt wanted and loved was finally successful. It wasn’t long after his last attempt that the nursing home was closed. At that point, Connie’s dad took the time to actually listen to what Jack wanted and put him in a home in Deadwood.

Conclusion 

Before I go any further I want you to know that you are important and valuable. Don’t allow yourself to get caught up in someone else’s thoughts like Jack did. You are important. You have as much to contribute as anyone else. Jack also had much to contribute, if he had been given the opportunity.

What needs to be done is change the insecurity to security, to change distrust to self-trust, change depression and anxiety to empowerment.

The very first step is to DO THE OPPOSITE. It’s a technique of Self-Talk. Remember, We Feel What We Believe, so if you are feeling insecure, it’s because you believe you aren’t able to talk to someone or whatever the case may be. 

Below is a list of things that people with insecurities say. I’m going to change them to the opposite. What I am adding is just a suggestion. Change it to fit you better.

 

Exercise:

Find a quiet place with paper and pen, computer, or tablet. Be ready to write. Read the statements below. Find the statements about insecurity that apply to you or find something else that makes you feel insecure. Write it out. Recognize how natural this makes you feel as you read it. 

DO THE OPPOSITE

Write out the OPPOSITE. Recognize how uncomfortable the OPPOSITE makes you feel. Tell yourself that this feeling isn’t true, that it’s part of the distortion that you have come to believe as true.

SELF-TALK

Readout loud the OPPOSITE statements. You need to hear your own voice saying them. Set up a schedule and read the ones that resonate in your mind three times, three times per day.  The more you read them the faster you will see change. Read them until they become comfortable and natural.

Insecurity Statements/OPPOSITE Statements

  • I  tend to be shy or uneasy with strangers. OPPOSITE: I can talk easily to strangers because God is my helper. Hebrews 13:6 “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”
  •  I’d rather be at home than going out on an adventure. OPPOSITE: I love adventures. I’m so glad I get to go. I’m tired of staying home all the time. There is nothing to be afraid of. Isaiah 41:10 Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
  •  I  wish I were smarter. OPPOSITE: I am smart. I can do this. Philippians 4:13I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
  •  I  never have enough money. OPPOSITE: I have enough money and everything I need because God is my source.  Philippians 4:19 “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”
  •  I’m usually pessimistic. OPPOSITE: I am optimistic. All things are going to turn out for my good. Romans 8:28 “ all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
  •  I  often wish I were better looking. OPPOSITE: I look good.  
  • I  don’t think I’m as good as others. OPPOSITE: I am as good or better than others. Romans 8:28 I am assured and know that all things work together for good because I love God and I’m called according to His purpose. 
  •  If people know the real me, they would think differently. OPPOSITE: I am liked by others. I can make friends easily. Isaiah 41:10  Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
  • In relationships, I tend to cling. OPPOSITE: I am not clingy or afraid for God is with me. He will strengthen me and help me. Isaiah 41:10
  •  I  have lots of fears. OPPOSITE: I am not afraid. God covers me with his wings; I will be safe in his care; his faithfulness will protect and defend me. I need not fear any dangers at night or sudden attacks during the day. —PSALM 91:4-5

Often times we say things like, “I can’t do that,” or “I’m not good enough” over and over to ourselves – Critical Inner Voice. It sounds like our voice even if we’re saying it only in our heads. We rarely realize the implications of what we are saying. There is a principle in Psychology that says, “If you tell lies long enough, it begins to feel like the truth.” 

Every word you speak either verbally or in your mind goes into your subconscious mind. When you repeat it over and over it begins to register as truth whether it’s positive or negative. Yes, the insecurities usually develop during early childhood. You start repeating these words from that time on, no matter where it comes from. 

Words are like seeds that you plant in your garden. When you plant them, water them (by repetition) they begin to grow. With continual repetition, they grow and take over any other thoughts. 

You can continue to plant the negative words and comments about yourself and your world or you can change it by planting, watering, and nurturing positive comments. As the positive comments begin to grow from repetition, as directed above, your inner voice will pick up the new positive words and feed them back to you for a positive change.

Could You Just Once…Say Something Positive About Me?

Image by John Hain from Pixabay

Image by John Hain from Pixabay

“The critical inner voice refers to a well-integrated pattern of destructive thoughts toward our selves and others…” – Dr. Lisa Firestone 

Introduction

It’s interesting how you come to accept a view of yourself that says, “I’m not ok,” or “I’m not good enough.” You grow up accepting this distorted view as normal, “that’s just the way I am.” You build a case to support your critical inner voice and it’s messages, which come from your heart (core) beliefs.

The struggles you have in life are the consequences of perception, heart beliefs, and behaviors – learned habits. Since they are learned you can unlearn them. You can train yourself to be a complete and successful person. How? Remove and replace the roadblocks of self-doubt, insecurity, low self-worth by changing your heart beliefs.

 

Critical Inner Voice

A research study about insecurity by Dr.’s Robert and Lisa Firestone revealed that most people view themselves as different in a negative, alienating way. One thing that was clear from the study is that we are all driven to compare ourselves and put ourselves down. It doesn’t seem to matter whether if we have high or low self-esteem, we all seem to compare, evaluate, and judge ourselves with great scrutiny. This then fuels our critical inner voice.

“The critical inner voice is formed out of painful early life experiences in which we witnessed or experienced hurtful attitudes toward us or those close to us. As we grow up, we unconsciously adopt and integrate this pattern of destructive thoughts (heart beliefs) toward ourselves and others.” – Dr. Lisa Firestone, co-author, Conquer Your Critical Inner Voice

Unless we take steps to change our heart (core) beliefs, they become more pervasive as we get older. Our critical inner voice repeats them over and over in our minds, which causes them to grow. 

Dr.’s Robert and Lisa Firestone have identified a list of heart beliefs that people say to themselves on a regular basis:

    • You’re stupid.
    • You’re unattractive.
    • You never get anything right.
    • You’re not like other people.
    • You’re a failure.
    • You’re fat.
    • You’re such a loser.
    • You’ll never make friends.
    • No one will ever love you.
    • You’ll never be able to quit drinking (smoking etc).
    • You’ll never accomplish anything.
    • What’s the point in even trying?
    • Nobody will like my music.
    • Nobody will like my art.
    • You’re a bad writer.
    • Why can’t you be like _________.

 

“The critical inner voice refers to a well-integrated pattern of destructive thoughts toward our selves and others. The “voices” that make up this internalized dialogue are at the root of much of our maladaptive behavior. This internal enemy fosters inwardness, distrust, self-criticism, self-denial, addictions and a retreat from goal-directed activities. The critical inner voice effects every aspect of our lives: our self-esteem and confidence, our personal and intimate relationships, and our performance and accomplishments at school and work.” – Dr. Lisa Firestone

Connie’s Childhood 

Connie, from the last posts, revealed more about her childhood during her third visit to Coach Gary’s office.

“I never heard my parents fight or argue, but what I experienced was just as bad. They owned and managed a nursing home for the sick and elderly. My mother was the nurse for the home and my father ran the business end and helped in the kitchen.” 

“Since we lived in an apartment in the basement, I was always underfoot. When I was six or seven I walked into a patient’s room and found her dead. The staff walked in, seeing the situation, ushered me outside to play. Being the curious child I was, I came back in and hid in the next room so I could hear what was going on.” 

“Nobody ever answered any of my questions, like, ‘Why did she die?’ ‘How did she die?’ ‘Am I going to die?’” 

“Didn’t anybody talk to you or explain what happened?” Gary asked.

“Nobody said a word to me, not even my mother.”

“About that same time, I had a near-death experience, as a victim of some older kids, which added to my fears and insecurities. Two boys and a girl came to visit their grandmother in the nursing home. They wanted to go to my room, so I took them into our apartment by a side door.” 

“Shortly afterward, my dad came down the stairs to get something out of the cellar. The kids didn’t want him to know they were downstairs so all three of them covered my mouth to keep me from saying anything. Unbeknownst to them, they cut off my air supply.” 

“By the time my dad went back upstairs, I wasn’t moving. When they removed their hands and saw my lifeless body they ran out the side door. I could see my body laying on the bed from the ceiling. I have no idea how long this event lasted.”

“He saw the kids run out the side door from the upstairs window. Perhaps that’s when he came down to check on me. I have no idea.”

“Were you sexually assaulted?” Gary asked.

Connie nodded.

“After that event, my dad said it was his fault he didn’t protect me. He seemed very remorseful, but that was the end of it. In fact, I was told to never bring it up again and when I asked questions I was severely beaten, which made me even more insecure and introverted.” 

“What did your mother say about him beating you?” Gary asked.

“She didn’t say anything to me, nothing. In fact, from that time on I was sent to my grandmother’s during the summer break. Still, no explanation. No conversation. No questions answered. Nothing from nobody.”

Tears began to form in Connie’s eyes. Gary scooted a Kleenex box over by her. She wiped her eyes and took several deep breaths before continuing. Gary sat quietly waiting.

“I had been my dad’s shadow. I went everyplace with him. After that fateful day, I wasn’t asked to accompany him on his trips. I didn’t know why.”

“Did he treat you differently?” Gary asked.

“Actually, yes,” she said tilting her head like she was thinking.”He seemed to make fun of me and treat me like I was spoiled meat or something. I think that added to my insecurity more than anything else. He had been my best friend then he didn’t want to have anything to do with me.” 

“As I got older I became more and more withdrawn. That critical voice in my head would constantly be going:” 

 

  • “You’re different than the other kids.”
  • “They’re never going to like you.”
  • “You’re going to die too.”
  • “The kids don’t like you.”
  • “See, they’re making fun of you again.”
  • “You’re a failure.”
  • “Nobody wants you around.”
  • “Your dad doesn’t want you around anymore.”

 

“As I progressed through school, I never tried very hard. It was actually easy for me, but I could have done so much better if I had applied myself. But, the critical voice in my head seemed to always take priority over studying and anything else I tried to do.” 

“When I was in junior high my parents divorced and sold the nursing home. It had gotten so bad between them that they never spoke. I haven’t seen or heard from my dad since the day he walked out. After that day, my mother always bad-mouthed him, tell me that men were just users. I believed her because of the way my dad treated me.”

“I lived with my mother until I moved to Knoxville. She became a bitter old woman.”

Connie paused for several seconds then looked up, “I don’t want to be like her.”

“How did your meeting go with James, last week?” Gary asked.  “I expected a call from you, but you didn’t call.”

Connie’s face brightened up, “It went really well. In fact, we stayed in the Square until most of the shops were closed. We had a great conversation. He was very respectful. We agreed to call and text each other. He’s going to come down on weekends when he can. We’ll see where it goes. Neither of us is in a hurry.”

“I’m so glad,” Gary said. “What about your heart belief that men are just users?”

“I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about that,” she said. “I didn’t see anything from James that pointed in that direction or from you either. I think that was just my mother’s bitterness toward my dad.”

She paused, “I was concerned about him trying to give me a hug, but he didn’t make any move in that direction. That kind of eased my fears.”

“Have you replace that heart belief?”

“I think so,” she said looking very pensive. “I’m not going to jump quickly, but viewing it as my mother’s bitterness, the heaviness seems to be lifting. I’ve heard her bitter voice a few times, but I did as you told me and said the opposite to what that critical voice said. ”

“Awesome. Keep doing it,” Gary said. “I also have some questions for you to answer. Write as much as you can for each question. I think they will help you see things differently, also. You have the God-given power within to change your heart beliefs for a happier, more satisfying life.”

 

Power Within

Unless a person has a very serious mental or emotional issue, self-coaching is really better than counseling and some life coaching because you have to take responsibility for change. Some psychologist like Joseph Luciani, Ph.D., assist with self-coaching rather than therapy because it has proven to be more effective.

Why is self-coaching more effective? Counselors and therapist often are just listeners. The client, then, expects the therapist to tell them what to do, to take the responsibility for change. But it doesn’t usually work. Many clients go into the therapist’s office unload what was on their mind but make no commitment to change. They feel somewhat better just because they could talk about it, but there is no change. The therapist may make suggestions, but they rarely do what they were told.

Like Ben Franklin said, “A man convinced against his will, is of the same opinion still.” Most people are stubborn and resist change, especially, if someone else is trying to get them to change. 

In Self-Coaching you do the studying, you find the heart beliefs you need to change, and you choose to take the steps to change them. Then, if you need help you seek out someone to help you through a difficult part. But for the most part, you can make the changes yourself.

Actually, each one of us has the inner power to make the necessary changes. Each one of us has the inner power to stop feeling victimized by our critical inner voice that keeps repeating the heart (core) beliefs that were planted in our minds years ago. 

You have the power to change those negative heart (core) beliefs, replace them with positive heart (core) beliefs so your inner voice can feed them to you in a continuous stream.

You have a choice. You can change. You don’t have to be stuck any longer. It’s your choice to no longer feel victimized by circumstances, self-doubt, insecurity. It’s your choice to be who God created you to be. It’s your choice to tap into the power within you.

The power within is God-given, you were created with it. You don’t have to create it or develop it, just learn how to tap into it and use it. 

Many times people will try to change their behavior or monitor their words for change, but that is not real change. It is “will power.” When a person uses “will power” to control their feelings, words, and behavior it doesn’t work because it’s not real change, it’s just a temporary fix. 

 

Step by Step Process

The following exercise is provided as an aid to assist you in identifying and becoming aware of your Negative Heart (core) Beliefs. Make sure that you allow adequate time to be still and quiet any distracting thoughts.  

The examples above may give you some ideas about the thoughts and voices you hear.  

The thoughts may come in keywords or phrases or feelings instead of complete sentences.  If so, write down what you hear and turn them into complete sentences later.   

It also may take several settings before you complete all the questions.  It’s better to take your time and do a thorough evaluating instead of rushing through.  Your Negative Heart Beliefs did not develop overnight.  They aren’t going to disappear overnight.

You may want to journal your thoughts on a daily basis.  There are several online apps such as Thought Diary for Android. Etc.  I keep Thought Diary on my phone and when I become aware of a negative thought or feeling I make an entry in my Diary.  

You can enter as much or as little as you want.  Make sure it’s enough for later evaluation. It’s best if you can write down the whole thought, like, “I’m not wanted”, “I’m not good enough”, “You’re right, I’m wrong”, “I can’t do anything right” then expound on it later.

The full set of questions click here.

QUESTIONS

  1. When I evaluate my thoughts, I realize that I need the most attention with the following Negative Heart Belief, as listed above…
  2. When I evaluate my Negative Heart Belief, I see that they have caused me to believe these things about myself…
  3. When I evaluate what I believe about myself, I see that these Negative Heart Beliefs cause me to behave in this way…
  4. When I listen to the language I use in conversations, I see that my language is affected by my Negative Heart Beliefs in this way…
  5. I realize my Negative Heart Beliefs are negatively affecting how I treat myself in these ways…

Access the rest of the questions here.

 Make a list of your negative thoughts.  Find the opposite for each negative thought. 

For example:

  • People need to change for me to be happy.  
    • My happiness doesn’t depend on anyone else.
  • I worry about everything.
    • I going to change my worry into the peace that God gives.
  • I’m always wrong.
    • I made a mistake. It’s okay.  I forgive myself.

 

Conclusion – Power For Change

During each day take some time to relax and allow yourself to believe that you have the God-given power within you to make the necessary changes. You have the power within to exchange your Negative Heart Beliefs for Positive Heart Beliefs. 

You have the power within to exchange the Critical Inner Voice for a Positive-Encouraging Inner Voice. Your Critical Inner Voice does not need to hold you hostage. 

You can’t make the necessary change by executing “will power.” You have to exchange the Negative Heart Beliefs for Positive Heart Beliefs.

At first, take just a few seconds to imagine your new life. Accept it as true. Don’t fight it. Begin to feel it. The important thing is to begin feeling what it’s like to be empowered and not victimized. It will get easier.

Also, as I have recommended before when you have a negative thought or feelings or behavior, DO THE OPPOSITE. So, when negative belief’s and feelings pop into your mind, you change it to the opposite thought which will begin to allow you to feel the opposite feeling, and thereby, facilitate the opposite behavior. For example:

“No, I am not thinking that I am thinking about my spouse and how much I love them and about God’s grace to me.”

“No, I am not thinking that I am thinking about how God is my supply. We have more than enough.

“No, I am not thinking that I am so blessed to have this job.”

“No, I am not thinking that I know, with God’s help, that I can make this business successful.”

“No, I am not thinking that I am so blessed to have the family I have.”

Get the point!!! You can do this.

It’s A Choice

We Will Change Our Feelings, Our Beliefs, Our Life, etc.,
When We Make The Choice To Do So

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Introduction 

Remember the old saying by Ben Franklin, “A man convinced against his will, is of the same opinion still.” Most people are stubborn and resist change, especially, if someone else is trying to get them to change. 

We all tend to believe that our ideals and philosophies are entirely true and correct. We all seem to have that stubborn sense that says, “Who are you to tell me what to do,” “Who are you to tell me I’m wrong,” “Who said you were right,” “Who died and made you God?” I’m sure most of you remember at least one or two of those phrases playing in your mind.

In my posts, I’ve been talking about how “we feel what we believe.” Many of us are unhappy with our life. We want a change, but, as in many cases, we can’t see the forest for the trees. We fail to see the obvious truth – what we are doing isn’t working. We fail to realize that what we believe about ourself or our world is not the truth. We tend to be blind to the truth that is right in front of us.

 

We Feel What We Believe

For example, you may be a very creative artist, but you tell yourself that it’s not good enough, so you redo and redo and redo. You can’t seem to get to the place where you feel it’s good enough to put it out for others to see, hear, or experience. Why? Because you believe what someone said back in your childhood – you’ll never be good enough. Even though others have told you time and time again that it is good enough. 

Nobody is going to be able to change your mind. You could ask 100 or 1000 people if they thought your work was good enough and if 1 person wasn’t a fan, you’d go back to the drawing board and make some kind of change.

What comes to mind when you think about the project that you never seem to finish?

 

Connie Prepares To Meet James

Remember in the last post, Connie called James, who was sitting at Tupelo Honeys just a couple of blocks away, wondering how he could get in touch with her. 

Several posts back, she revealed to her coach, Gary, that she had been asked out by James, but couldn’t make herself go, even though she wanted to. Instead, she moved away from Cincinnati to Knoxville because of a lie-based belief that she harbored inside.

After Connie hung up the phone, she sat quietly. Gary could see her body begin to tense up.

“You told him you would definitely be there,” Gary said. “Are you going to go?”

She sat for a while longer, “I want to…but.”

 

What Does “It’s A Choice” Mean?

Because of what we believe, we do what we do. It’s that simple. Because we believe something that causes us to feel something, we choose to act according to how we feel. 

For example, our artist above in the introduction believes she is not a good enough artist, she feels like her work is not good enough for people to see, consequently, she keeps reworking the piece and it is never ready to show anyone.

The diagram below shows that every person is driven by their thoughts and beliefs, which create feelings and emotions, which result in behavior. There is always a reason why we do what we do. We never behave or take action without a cause. We believe therefore we feel, thereby, we act.

We Feel What We Believe

We Feel What We Believe

Our core beliefs, also known as heart beliefs, began to form before we were born due to our life experiences. They reside in the “seat of our emotions.” These beliefs continue to influence our feelings and our behavior moment-by-moment, which dictate our choices and decisions. 

Our heart beliefs have much more influence over us than our intellectual beliefs or what we have learned, which do not produce any emotions or feelings. 

Where’s The Choice?

We each make choices based on our thoughts and beliefs, even if our beliefs are lie-based. Because of what we believe we feel what we feel and we do what we do. It is that simple.

But, you have a choice to change what you believe. When you truly want to change your lie-based belief you can change it. It is a choice. When you are aware of the source of your lie-based beliefs and can identify them clearly, you can replace them with the truth, by choice, every time they pop up – SAY THE OPPOSITE, DO THE OPPOSITE.

When your lie-based belief is changed your choices change accordingly. Everything is related to what you believe, feel, and consequently, choose. 

Because you believe _______________, you feel __________, and you choose __________.

For example, The artist above says to herself:

“I am not good enough (belief), I’m ashamed to put my work out, it’s not good enough (feeling), I can’t put my art out for others to see (choice).”

Connie:

“James doesn’t really care about me (belief), He just wants to use me, then, throw me away (feeling), my mother told me about men so I have to protect myself (choice).

Also, if you have a relationship with God and you ask for the truth He will lead you to the truth. It’s a choice.

Connie’s Choice

Gary listened while Connie continued to talk, “I really want to meet him, but look at me. I’m not dressed for it. I’m too fat.”

“I have to stop you right there,” Gary said. “Too fat, are you kidding. If you got any skinnier you’d blow away. Let’s look at your heart belief, the one your mother planted in your heart years ago. Tell me what she said again.”

“She said that men were just users.”

“Take a minute and look at this. James said he’d been coming down to Knoxville to try to find you. Why would he do that if he just wanted to use you? Why would he go to all the effort? There are plenty of women in Cincinnati that he could use if that was his motive. Correct?”

Connie nodded, “You’re right.”

“So, can we change that belief? James has been looking for you for months. Let’s change that belief to it’s really romantic of James to pursue me so purposefully. Getting to know him is worth a try”

Connie gave a slight nod.

“It says on your paperwork that you are a Christian and go to church. Is that right?”

Connie nodded.

“Can we ask God to tell you the truth so you can replace that lie-based belief?”

Connie nodded again.

“The words need to come from you, so I say it and you repeat after me. Dear Heavenly Father, I really need your help. I need you to show me the truth. I am so scared of being rejected, used, and unloved. I need your help and strength, right now. Thank you. Amen.”

Gary sat quietly after Connie finished praying. She dabbed at her eyes again then her eyes met Gary’s. Gary pulled out his Bible and read two passages.

Romans 8:31 “If God be for me, who can be against me?” 

Psalms 28:7 “The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song, I give thanks to him.

“Connie, I also want you to do The Power Drill and Do The Opposite when you have negative thoughts. Here are the instructions.”

“Do The Power Drill. Every day take some time to relax and allow yourself to believe that everything you need to have a happy, successful life is already within you and that God is giving you the strength. Take a few seconds to imagine your new life. Say the verses I’ve given you and others several times. Accept it as true. Don’t fight it. Begin to feel it. The important thing is to begin feeling what it’s like to be empowered and not victimized. It will get easier.”

“Every time you have a negative thought or feelings or behavior, DO THE OPPOSITE. So, when negative beliefs and feelings pop into your mind, you change it to the opposite thought which will begin to allow you to feel the opposite feeling. For example:”

“No, I am not thinking that! I am loved. I am trusting in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.”

“No, I am not thinking that! I am thinking about how God is my supply. I have more than enough.

“No, I am not thinking that! I am so blessed.”

“No, I am not thinking that! I know, with God’s help, I can…”

Connie read through the instructions, “I think I can do this. But, what about meeting James?”

“You tell me,” Gary said.

“With God’s help. I can do it. Do I look okay? I didn’t dress for a date.”

“It’s just a meet-up, not a date. You can decide on a date or any future meetings at the time. Ask God to direct what happens.”

“Okay. With God’s help I can do this,” she said as she got up and slowly moved toward the door. “Can I call you later?”

“Absolutely.”

Connie walked toward Tupelo Honeys about three blocks away saying, “The Lord is my strength and my shield. The Lord is my strength and my shield. The Lord is my strength and my shield.”

James sat reading a book facing the square. He didn’t see her walk across the square. He looked up as she approached the table area. His face lit up with a big smile as he saw her. He got up and walked toward her.

“You look fabulous,” he said as he ushered her to a chair at his table.

Connie gave a sigh of relief. He didn’t try to hug her. She wasn’t ready for that yet.

 

Conclusion 

Step #1. If you feel emotionally blocked, stuck, shut down or anything else that makes you feel bad, your first step is to make the choice to find out why, if you don’t already know. 

Step #2. Your second choice is to identify what it is that you believe that causes you to feel, do, and be where you are at the moment. The reason you are feeling bad or feeling something negative or not able to move forward or unable to change your behavior is because of what you believe. You will choose to do something different, to make a change, when your belief is resolved.

Step #3. Set Your Will. There is a difference between what you “desire” and what you “will.” Your desire is something you want to do, whereas, you will is what you do. You can want to move forward, to change (desire) and at the same time refuse to change (will) or refuse to take the steps necessary to change your belief so you can move forward.

If you believe that you are worthless and unlovable you will process everything in life through that heart (core) belief and the feelings associated with that belief. In turn, it becomes very difficult to accept love from others and from God. The bottom line, we create the reality we live in, whether true or a lie, based on our heart belief. 

Many people try different methods to distract themselves from their negative feelings such as food, sex, entertainment, religion, relationships, alcohol, drugs, obsessive behaviors. Addiction or other destructive behavior may mask the feelings or the effects, but it does not change the heart belief.

Step #4. Determine the truth. Take some quiet time. Still your mind. Write down your heart (core) belief that is lie-based or is causing you a problem – “I’m not good enough,” “I can’t do it,” “Nobody will want me,” “I’m not pretty enough,” “I’m too fat,” “I’m too skinny,” etc.  

Step #5. Ask God to reveal the truth to you. Write down everything that comes to your mind. 

Ephesians 1:17-18 ESV “… that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation… having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know…” 

Romans 12:2 “…but be transformed by the renewal of your mind…

We often have a “Just Do It” mentality, which depends on will power to make things happen. It probably won’t work in identifying and changing your heart (core) beliefs. 

Step #6. Identify the opposite of the lie-based belief, write the truth that God reveals to you. “I’m not good enough,” – “God gave me this talent, I’m going to share it.” Find a Bible verse that addresses your situation and says everything you now think about the lie-based belief. 

Romans 8:31 “If God be for me, who can be against me?”

“I’m not good enough” – “I am good enough. If God be for me, who can be against me?”

Temporary Fix Or Real Change?

Photo by Ken Treloar on Unsplash

Photo by Ken Treloar on Unsplash

“You find peace not by rearranging the circumstances of your life, but by realizing who you are at the deepest level.” —Eckhart Tolle

 

Introduction 

We have all been taught that negative emotions or feelings such as stress, worry, fear, despair, feelings of abandonment, feeling overwhelmed, helpless, etc. are bad. But are they? Do they have a God given purpose?

Connie in Coach Gary’s Office

We first saw Connie in We Feel What We Believe and then again in Just A High Priced Listener?.

Connie sat in Gary’s waiting room. She had religiously done the assignments he had given her. She felt better for awhile but it didn’t seem to last. 

She was still very unhappy. Her life hadn’t changed any. She was still alone, working this little boutique and watching people from the window. As she watched the couple’s on the Square her loneliness came back with even more force.

Yes, she realized that she had accepted her mother’s belief that all men were users, but why does that matter?

 

Why Does It Matter?

As with physical pain, if we don’t have any discomfort or pain, how would we know there is a problem?

Now, living for an extended amount of time with emotional pain would be like living with a broken arm that was never set or any attempts made to allow the arm to heal properly. If your arm heals without being set it will always cause you pain. 

Your emotional pain is like that broken arm. The pain will always be present.

When I broke my arm, the pain was excuciating. It told me there was a problem with my arm. Every time I would move my arm I would get shooting pain. I was, also, unable to move my arm without the use of my other hand. I had a problem.

Our emotional pain is much the same. Connie, for example, recognized that something was wrong. She was feeling afraid, isolated, lonely, and helpless. Over all, she didn’t feel her life was worth living, if she had to go on the way she was. 

Connie learned that she had accepted, as truth, her mother’s belief that all men were users. Intellectually, she had come to realize that what she believed was a lie, but just acknowledging it did not change her feelings because, in her heart, it was truth to her. Years before she had accepted her mother’s belief as truth. 

Connie, like many of us, felt better for a few days after the realization, but then relapsed back into her negative, depressed feelings.

For most of us, if we set our mind to it we can control our feelings and behavior, for a short time using sheer will power, but it doesn’t last. It isn’t real change, lasting change.

 

How do you make a lasting change?

Most of us can perform long enough to feel a change, but if it’s not a true transformation the old feeling will come back. So, to have lasting change we need to truly be transformed. 

One of the first steps to tranformation is choice. You do have a choice in how you feel about what you are doing. Invest yourself in whatever you are doing and allow yourself to delight in it. In Connie’s case she feels like she is in a dead-end job, a dead-end life. She can choose to find some good in her life, now.                      

 

Connie

Connie sat in the waiting room while Gary finished up a phone call. She sat with her head down feeling worse than she had when she first came to see him. A magazine lay on the seat beside her opened to a picture of people playing on the beach with the words, “Explore the World.” 

Once again, when Gary came out Connie was dabbing at the tears that had started running down her cheeks.

“Connie, come on back,” Gary said.

She slowly got up, closing the magazine and putting it back on the stack on the table.

“Bring the magazine with you,” Gary said.

Connie grabbed it as she walked into the office and took a seat in front of Gary’s desk.

“I see you’re crying again. Please tell me why?”

Connie dabbed at her eyes again before looking up, “Well, I felt good for a few days, but then the same old feeling started to settle in around me.”

“What feeling?”

“That this is a dead-end life,” she said looking down and dabbing at her eyes again.

“Why?”

“Nothing ever changes,” she said.

“What did you expect would change, with the realization that what your mother said was a lie?”

“I expect to feel different, to feel better, but instead I actually feel worse.”

“Why?” Gary asked.

“Well, I guess I expected some kind of change. Nothing has changed. I’m still in a dead-end job with a dead-end life.”

“So, you expected the world to suddenly change. Let me see what you were looking at in the magazine.”

Connied opened the magazine to the travel ad that read, “Explore the World.”

“Tell me what you want.”

Connie sat for a few minutes. Tears began to stream down her checks. She didn’t make any effort to stop them.

“Well….” she paused.

“I want to be happy. I want to have some fun. I want someone in my life that I can have fun with. I don’t want to be alone. I don’t want to be shut-up in that little store or little room upstairs.”

She paused again wiping her face. She looked up at Gary.

“I keep having this thought,” she said pausing again as Gary sat quietly listening. “I’ve thought about calling James. I have his number. But, women don’t call men. What would he think of me? He can’t call me. I changed my number to unlisted when I moved here.”

“You have his number?” Gary asked.

Connie nodded.

“Call him. Now,” he said.

“Now?” she asked.

“Yes, now.”

“What do I say?”

“Tell him who you are then play it by ear.”

She sat for a few minutes looking off into space then picked up her phone and dialed. James answered. Connie sat frozen for a few seconds.

“James, this is Connie.”

“Connie. I’ve been looking all over for you. I even looked up your mother. She told me you were in Knoxville, but wouldn’t give me you phone number or address. I really want to talk to you, to see you. I’m sitting in Market Square right now nursing a cup of coffee trying to decide what to do, how to find you. Where are you?”

“I’m in a life coach’s office down on Gay street. He told me to call you. He said you might want to talk to me.”

“Are you kidding? I’ve come down here on my days off for months trying to find you. When will you be finished? Can you come to the Square?”

“I’ll be there in about a half our. Where are you?” she asked.

“I’m at a table outside of Tupelo Honey’s. I’ll be right here,” he said. “Please don’t leave me hanging again.”

“No, I’ll be there. I promise,” she said as she hung up the phone.

“I could hear Jame’s side of the conversation. I see the look in your eyes has changed,” Gary said. “Even though you have identified a ‘lie-based belief’ and you replace it with the truth, you have to do something different if you want a change. You can’t sit in the same shop and looking out the same window and expect the world to change. You have to do something different.”

 

Conclusion

“As long as we believe that our pain is because of something outside ourselves, freedom can only come to us if our world changes. This freedom lasts only as long as the world decides to accommodate us. The truth is, there is no place of freedom for us as long as we choose to remain a victim.” – Ed and Joshua Smith

It’s a choice. We can choose to remain a victim or take responsibility for what we feel by changing our belief. Our beliefs can be changed, which in turn will change our feelings and our behavior.

There are changes we can make by changing our words and our beliefs. We can change our brain from negative to positive by the words we choose, which affects our whole world. 

 

Transformation

But there is a change that even’s better, a transformation, which cannot be made by ourselves. Only God can bring full transformation as we allow Him to renew our minds. 

Rom. 12:2…but be transformed by the renewal of your mind…

Once again, we have a choice to cooperate with God as He renews our mind or resist

His work in our mind and in our life, which hinders the transformation. 

Phil. 2:13 “for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure”.

For example, Connie, felt that life wasn’t worth living. She was a failure. Consequently, she felt disappointed, discouraged, beat-down, and depressed with herself and life in general. As a result she made excuses about why she was in a dead-end job, she would watch life go on below her in Market Square, she’d eat junk food and drink to numb the pain. This was her “solution” to numb the pain and protect and defend herself from the core belief that made her feel like life wasn’t worth living. 

If I know the truth of who I am in Christ (my core belief), I will view the negative things that happen to me as an opportunity for growth. I will learn how to not just be happy, but have lasting joy and peace, which are Fruit of the Spirit.