Here's something you may want to consider: People who know that their thinking creates their feelings are prone to reconsider their viewpoints or opinions about things. People who believe that their circumstances create their feelings tend to be narrow-minded and set in their ways.
Where in the spectrum do you fall?
In my experience, all of us would be better off, achieve more, and the world would be a better place if we lived closer to the open-minded side. To do so, however, we must understand the illogic in looking to outside circumstances in order to explain, excuse, or justify how we feel or act.
Here's a personal example: While online the other night, I wandered onto one of my 16-year-old daughter's social media accounts -- and I did not like what I saw. I became angry, I mean, really angry. I yelled upstairs to my daughter, "Come down here immediately!" My intention, at first, was to give her a piece of my mind and demand that she remove some of her posts. Yet, somewhere between my outburst and her arrival at my study's door, it occurred to me: "Now hold on, knucklehead -- you see the posts as wrong, but this is clearly not how your daughter sees them."
In other words, I reconsidered my point of view. I took a second look at my own perceptions. Why? Because I have a fairly good idea that my thinking forms the basis for my feelings -- not my daughter's social media posts. I also know that my volatile feelings were a vivid reminder that my thinking in the moment was not to be trusted and holding my daughter responsible for my own anger was clearly a step in the wrong direction.
So what happened when my daughter arrived downstairs? First, I apologized for screaming, and then we had an enjoyable conversation about our different perspectives regarding social media. We both learned something from the experience. And while I still don't agree with her completely, and vice versa for sure, I do know that my daughter was buoyed by my respect and trust in her. In fact, the next morning I noticed she had made some adjustments to her accounts, including this tweet on Father's Day:
Happy Father's Day to my main man @GarretKramer I love you, Daddy!
What more can I say?
The next time you feel angry, uptight, or anxious, please, don't blame it on your circumstances. Your feelings come from the inside (from your thinking) only. Simply grab hold of this principle and see how easy it becomes to override your judgmental dispositions, find loving and inspiring feelings, and uncover a fresh outlook about anything.
Now that's something for all of us to consider.
For more by Garret Kramer, click here.
For more GPS for the Soul, click here.