Think About This, Feel About That !
I have heard it said, ” You are who you are when no one is looking.” That always made sense to me since many of us spend so much of our time adapting or molding into what we think others expect us to be. At least, many of my clients suffering from anxiety, panic attacks or obsessive-compulsive thoughts and rituals would find this to be true.
In fact, I have found that a predominant issue that triggers many of their anxiety symptoms is, in fact, their gradual realization that the need for approval and acceptance, their want to fit in and belong, and their fear of failure and rejection by others all to often effect or restrict what they do with their lives, or what they do not do.
We are, so to speak, what we think, feel and do !
But how easily are your thoughts influenced by what you think you ” should ” think ? Do you actually say what you think, or express your thoughts in terms that are more in line with others around you at the moment ? How often do you truly share your thoughts and risk disapproval or disagreement ?
Since what you FEEL is often significantly molded by what you think, if your thoughts
are not clearly your own, or are influenced by your fears of rejection or ridicule, what do you truly feel ? Are you being honest with yourself ? Like, what do you really feel about gay marriage, gun control, or abortion ? Look in the mirror and ask yourself !
In the end, it is what you DO with your life as a result of what you think and feel that brings you a sense of purpose, of meaning, of worth and value. So the more conflict there is about what you truly think and feel, the more likely you might be to avoid or be otherwise distracted from really doing what you could with your life !
Many a good and well-meaning person will waste so much emotional and psychological energy seeking approval, acceptance and validation from others that they often do not realize that they are giving up any potential momentum they could be devoting to their real personal growth.
When I focus with clients on having them truly define what they think and feel, and when they actually express their wants and opinions, they realize how much they have held themselves back. It takes time to learn to challenge their fears that have held them back, but they do, step by step, and as a result, they begin to TRUST their thoughts and opinions, to EMBRACE their feelings and to DO things in their life that bring more worth and value to their days.
They still care what others think and feel, but they learn to set boundaries as to how far they go to please. They are respectful of others thoughts and feelings but require respect in return.
Gene Benedetto, Psychologist
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