For a really long time I didn’t realize this. It’s not that I didn’t believe it – I couldn’t believe it -I hadn’t learned that concept yet. Which might sound silly but really, I didn’t. I didn’t know that I’m responsible for my own feelings and that I could keep my positive feelings REGARDLESS of how it’s received.
I always just thought that feelings come and go. I felt helpless when I was sad or I felt guilty that I felt upset – when I say guilty, my thoughts were generally something like this, “What do you have to be upset about?! Heavenly Father has blessed you so much!” “You live in America with clean water!” and the list would go on and on (as if those things really are connected with what I was upset about) – But every time I’d just feel guilty that I was having “ungrateful” thoughts or feelings. Like, because I have clean drinking water I therefore shouldn’t be upset that my friend let me down. What?! -more on that in a later post.
Then, a few years ago I stumbled upon Life Coaching with Jody Moore and Brooke Castillo and these remarkable ladies CHANGED MY LIFE FOREVER.
They taught me that it’s my THOUGHTS that create my FEELINGS. Whaaaaat?! No way. When someone says something offensive to me and I in turn get offended – I’M not offending myself – THEY are. It’s THEIR fault I’m upset. They’re wrong. They shouldn’t do that….right?
My mind wanted to argue with this concept because WHY would I do that or create those feelings for myself? They feel terrible! I wouldn’t do that! But the more I sat with that concept the more I realized that yes…I AM THE CAUSE OF ALL MY EMOTIONS.
Why is it that some people get offended and some don’t? Do they just have some superpower that majority of the population doesn’t? Why did they get it and I didn’t? I know that sounds silly but for a LONG time I genuinely thought that for some people it was just who they were and it bothered me that I didn’t possess that trait. After all, who really wants to believe that they themselves are causing those negative feelings?
They teach that your thoughts KEY to directing your life and they encourage everyone to do something called a thought download – write down ALL your thoughts – don’t judge, don’t edit – just write. Get it ALL down on paper. Afterwards you can take a look at the climate of your thoughts and sure enough… every. single. time I can see that I am 100% the cause of my feelings.
This was LIBERATING for me. I didn’t HAVE to feel those negative feelings anymore – UNLESS I CHOSE to…which, sometimes I choose…still human here…But this truth really set me free. It meant that others didn’t dictate how I was going to feel. If I set out to be happy for the day – I could choose to retain happy thoughts – despite what circumstances happened on the way.
Back to the LOVE quote…”No love is ever wasted. It’s worth does not lie in reciprocity.” – Neal A. Maxwell – This was more challenging.
Many years ago I had a friend that I just loved. She was incredibly talented, when we got together it was just so fun to be around her and she was constantly working to better herself. So, my personality type is a giver- I like to give. That’s one way I show my love. Not necessarily in monetary things but service, time, and yes, those fun little things here and there too.
After a long while I realized that she didn’t reciprocate…any of those things…this became especially hard when tough times came and I needed a friend to also give. I needed help, time, someone who would show love back and I realized she was more of a fair weathered friend. She was no where to be found when I was struggling…and it started to eat away at me.
Then, as we humans tend to do, I started over thinking and overanalyzing the situation.
I would think, “Maybe we’re not as good of friends as I thought.” or “why isn’t she helping?”, or the “tally” would start… “Why did I go out of my way to do __________ and _________ for her when she can’t even help me with _________???” and I’d mentally add all the things that I did for her that she didn’t for me…”She’s not a good friend”, “she just told me that she did _____________ for so and so, why will she do that for them and not for me?”, “well, next time I’m just not going to ________.” – My mind had all kinds of things happening.
Not super positive or happy generating thoughts which I’m sure you know amounted in not so positive or happy feelings. I was hurt, betrayed, sad, disappointed, confused. Then I saw this quote by the incredible Elder Neal A Maxwell and it helped me REMEMBER and put into play what Jody and Brooke had taught me.
I give because that’s how I SHOW LOVE. I didn’t do it so she’d “owe” me – she doesn’t have to reciprocate. When I share or give I FEEL GOOD and LOVING and nothing this person did or didn’t do changes that. THEY aren’t making me feel sad, disappointed, confused…My THOUGHTS were generating those feelings and the BEST NEWS EVER…I could KEEP my LOVING thoughts about her if I wanted to and I do…now that I know how.
The value is in the giving, it’s in my intentions to show friendship, gratitude, and love. Just because she maybe didn’t appreciate it or respond in kind, or how I thought at the time she “should” have- doesn’t make the offering any less valuable or special or genuine.
So I continue to give and love this friend unconditionally – without a tally – because that’s NOT why I give. I don’t make her actions mean that my gestures of love aren’t of value or worth and I GET TO KEEP FEELING LOVING and generous and kind…which are THE BEST feeling ever!
Try it this week…share your love in your own unique way to others and enjoy how it feels to love WHETHER OR NOT they reciprocate. It’s amazing, my friends.
Brooke Castillo – Thelifecoachschool.com
Jody Moore- Boldnewmom.com
photo by jonoma.cl and gfx9.com