Feelings come from somewhere but where? It seems they come from our thoughts. I actually had no idea about this until I had a pretty cool therapist who I visited to help me make sure I was dealing with some heavy emotions after losing my husband to brain cancer. So when I announced to her that I didn’t want to feel sad or bitter after such a loss, she simply told me if I didn’t like the feeling I should just change the thought. I sat back in the corner of the couch with my mouth open saying nothing –just looking at her sitting across from me in that WAY more comfortable chair…..I wanted the couch to swallow me up—it was big enough. I had heard from others that widows can end up being really sad and bitter so I had it in my head that this could very likely happen to me. I didn’t want that at all! Now, sad I was, oh so sad for my husband for how he spent the last six and a half months of his life, sad for our children who would no longer have their dad in their life, sad for his brother and sister-in-law, sad for his local friends he had made, and extremely sad for me—losing my best buddy, the person I had loved for over 20 years and created a life with, the one who was witnessing my life and whose life I was witnessing—yep, that’s what my sad feelings were. I still have the feelings of sadness from time to time but the intensity on a daily basis is much lower.
This could quickly become a piece on grief and perhaps I will write one someday soon as a spinoff of that previous paragraph but for now I think we should get back to feelings. What are some other feelings and then back to what was going on with me.
Fear, Anger, Sad, Joy, Disgust, Trust, Anticipation, Surprise
So, as I took in the words from the therapist “if you don’t like the feeling-change the thought,” I found myself hitting a bump in the road of life and saying to myself-“I don’t like this-what was I just thinking?” and then I would reframe my thoughts. My way of dealing with any negative emotion like fear, anger, sadness, or disgust was to try and find a few things that I could immediately focus on that I was grateful for or thankful that I had in my life. Surprisingly, it worked and still does. An interesting thing though occurs if one really adopts the idea of gratitude is that there are less feelings of anger and disgust and sadness in that order which may be unique to me or just a side effect of becoming more mindful because dealing in the NOW=acknowledging, accepting and not judging, I am not sure since I don’t have loads of friends to whom I discuss this—hence, I write for my own blog.
The other feelings like trust, anticipation, surprise and joy are more positive feelings so changing the thoughts consciously seems silly to me. Something in life will come along and change those for us so why tempt fate?
What I know for sure is this works for me and I do rather wish I would have had this concept in my bag of tricks for the many years before I lost my husband, I might have been a more joyful person to be around, who knows, but I have it now due to seeking help after such a large loss so for that I can be thankful-ALL in the way I frame my Mindset!
I do wonder if others have tried this and had success and if anyone reads this and has any comments or thoughts I would be absolutely overjoyed to read them.
I wait in anticipation and trust that someone or many will surprise me.