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October 7, 2013
When you change the way you think, you change the way you feel, however change can be for better or for worse. This is because the thought process that leads to practicing change can be either a strength or a weakness. It can be a strength because if you change your thinking to be closely aligned with reality as possible, you will experience more feelings of optimism. You will experience more feelings of optimism because when your thoughts closely match the reality of any situation, you will experience more success in coming up with effective solutions to address your experience, even if the effective solution simply calls for acceptance.

On the other hand, if your thinking isn’t aligned with reality, then you will experience more failures in coming up with effective solutions to address things not going your way. Even worse, since our thinking directly influences our habits, flawed thought processes lead to bad habits, and bad habits create more problems. As a result, if your thinking is not closely aligned to reality, you are likely to experience episodes of despair, frustration and hopelessness, due to the double jeopardy of your habits creating problems for you, and your poor success rate with thinking up solutions that work.

So how do you make sure that the change in thinking you are making is healthier? The answer is a straight forward one, if you are buying into a new idea, or rather, a new way of thinking then there are two rules of thumb to abide by;

The first should be a new way of thinking that calls for regarding others the same way you want you be regarded.

Take for example, someone who struggles with co dependency; in other for a habitual co dependent person to influence the nature of his or her relationships with others, he or she would have to become more assertive in interacting with others. It is not unusual for assertiveness to become confused with overt aggression towards others. I have witnessed people, once they came to the realization that they had allowed others to take advantage of them, they became retaliatory, and began trying to take advantage of others.

With proper guidance, these people can learn to practice assertiveness and compassion for others at the same time. This is done by coming to unconditionally accept and regard others as human, the same way you should regard yourself. So if you want to be forgiven for past transgressions towards someone, then you should be willing to forgive others who have wronged you.

The second role of thumb, should be buying into a new way of thinking devoid of entitlement ideology.

For example, people sometimes buy into a new way of thinking regarding how they believe others should treat and regard them. This is simply a recipe for hate towards others that you feel mistreated by. In truth, we are not entitled to be liked or receive good favors from others. People get their needs for social acceptance met by interacting with others whose beliefs and values closely match theirs. This process involves, willing to forgive rejection from others and focusing on others with shared beliefs and values.

When we focus on how others should not treat us, most of what we begin seeing are those we disagree with and resent.

When we focus on how much we resent or hate anyone it leads to increased feelings of anger and anger leads to feelings of false empowerment.

In summary, a healthy way of thinking should encourage you to practice regarding others the way you want to be regarded, and let go of expectations on how others should regard you.

Ugo is a psychotherapist and owner of Road 2 Resolutions PLLC, a professional counseling and life coaching practice.


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