Your Feelings Are Stupid...
Also Your Thoughts, So Stupid
This is not to say that YOU are stupid, you’re probably amazing, but all of those thoughts and feelings you’re probably consumed by are largely useless… and of course stupid. At least when it comes to making changes in your life — and isn’t that all you think about anyway? Isn’t that what all your shitty feelings are about? How things aren’t changing? How you wish things were one way instead of another? Well I have news for you, if anything is ever going to change, you’re gonna need to quit your worrying, obsessing, wallowing, etc. and take some fucking action.
Maybe you feel insulted right now and are thinking all about how important your emotions and ideas are to things like inner guidance, manifestation and attraction, but you would be missing the point. Mostly because your entire argument is happening within your own head and affecting nothing. You should probably stop right now and write me an email or long comment detailing your very important and different point of view. But wait! That would mean you would be taking action! And also proving my point… See, even when thoughts and feelings relate to change, it is only because they have been transformed by action — in order to access any guidance or vibration raising, or effective visualization, one must be active in focusing said feelings and thoughts. Being mindful, meditating — hello! Those are actions! Taking action is and always will be the only thing that will ever effect any change in your life or mine.
Now, I have not always been this font of wisdom when it comes to important stuff like taking action and changing your life. In fact, I wasted years and years of my own existence thinking and feeling, spending valuable time consumed by introspection and reflection, all to not much end. I was finally woken up to reality as a psychotherapy patient about seven years ago. I was deep in the throes of substance abuse, dissatisfaction with my job and a rocky relationship in which I frequently lost my temper and threw my partner’s keys in the street; feeling sufficiently shitty, I decided to seek some help. All right all right, the truth is the rocky relationship partner gave me an ultimatum and demanded I go to therapy if I wanted to stay partnered up. I did indeed want to keep dating because God forbid I became single! Anyway, I started seeing a woman who practiced CBT and had been recommended to me by a friend. CBT is Cognitive Behavior Therapy and is centered around action; a CBT therapist is not the person you want to go see if all you’re looking for is someone to listen while you whine about your life without doing anything about it. Her name was Jean and she was exactly what I was I needed even though I didn’t know it yet. Jean gave me homework each week and was always asking about what I was going to do. Over the course of about a year and a half, she managed to instill the importance of taking responsibility for the circumstances of my life instead of blaming others. It was unpleasant, but effective.
Jean also introduced me to the idea of the ‘psychic house’. The psychic house is a philosophy. It has nothing to do with clairvoyance and everything to do with behavior. I’ve tried internet researching this before and haven’t come up with much that uses the same language Jean did, but the major tenets of CBT are built off the same ideas. Basically it’s the theory that our core beliefs inform every other part of our psyche (hence psychic house) — the other parts being our thoughts, feelings and actions. Specifically, it dictates that our core beliefs function as the foundation of our house, and in doing so are fairly immutable which is why it is so difficult to enact real change in one’s life. In order to make changes, the shift has to occur within our core beliefs, and those core beliefs are unaffected by our feelings and thoughts. They are, however, affected by our actions. So when I say feelings and thoughts are stupid and useless, this is why.
Our thoughts and feelings, things like fear, insecurity, paranoia, are all essentially clutter getting in the way of progress. But action, well action literally shakes the foundation and makes things happen. This truth explains the existence of sentiments such as “Act as if” and “Fake it till you make it”. The acting and faking in those two slogans are disguised actions. When we put on a brave face and step out into the very thing that scares us to death, that is taking action! We’re not only acting as though we are confident, we’re doing the thing that scares us, whatever it may be. And no matter how badly we may be doing it, we’re at least doing something! When you fake the know-how to do something new, you are giving it a shot, you are taking action. Which brings me to possibly the most famous sentiment, courtesy of the all-knowing character Yoda: “Do or do not, there is no try” — there is no try because even if you are trying, you are doing. If I try to pick up something really heavy and I fail, I still attempted to pick it up, I took action. If I had just looked at the really heavy something and didn’t actually put my hands on it and lift, then I did not actually try. I probably spent my time thinking and feeling that I won’t be able to pick up the really heavy something because geez, it looks impossible.
Look, putting these ideas to good use is tough, it takes commitment and work but it’s worth it. Having the perspective that your thoughts and feelings have the lowest return on investment allows you to direct your efforts where they’ll have the most impact: taking action. Instead of wasting anymore of your precious time and energy feeling sorry for yourself or thinking about what could be different, you could just take a single step; do just one little thing. And give yourself a break! This shit doesn’t happen overnight — don’t forget it took me 12 years at a job I hated and 6 years of sobriety to make a real change. But getting up and managing to accomplish a single task in a day in support of my goals is what keeps the momentum going, it’s what keeps my life worth living.
I also rely on the formula of ‘the three As [awareness, acceptance and action]’, as my preferred method for motivating change, but that’s another post.