What if there is nothing wrong with you ?

For the most part emotions are a result of thoughts. There are of course exceptions such as instinctual responses like fear in a dangerous situation or anxiety due to a medical condition. However, for simplicity let’s just say that you cannot have an emotion without a thought. Sometimes it is hard to identify the thought that is creating a negative emotion. Even without knowing the particular thought, I will suggest that if you are experiencing a negative emotion that is not from an obvious external source, then it is coming from a thought that is not true.

Sometimes the source of negative emotions come from early childhood when particular beliefs about ourselves and the world around us are shaped and formed. At this young age we tend to believe whatever we are told. Negative self-beliefs can become so ingrained that it is hard to shift them. It can be helpful to remember that a belief is only a thought that we have had enough times that we believe it to be true. Many of the negative emotions we experience come from the beliefs that were formed at an age that we were unable to challenge or examine them for their validity. As adults we have the opportunity to evaluate those beliefs and to challenge them.

So, I am going to pose the question, what if the only thing wrong with you is the belief that there is something wrong with you? What if you decide to stop believing all the negative things about yourself that came from outside of you. Beliefs that were given to you before you were old enough to decide if they were true. I know it sounds simplistic, but it is certainly worth considering.

Wishing you all the best in your journey

Phil Miranda

Try to Honour the Ordinary

If the title didn’t give you a hint this post is about being grateful. Gratitude is often neglected as one of the more important virtues possibly because it is a calm, non-active emotion, lacking some of the intensity and drama of more passionate emotions. Many of us may perceive being grateful as something that is expected of us, particularly if someone has done something for us. Saying thank you is a social prerequisite in many cultures and an expectation from others to express gratitude so as not to be labelled an ingrate.

What I am thinking of is not gratitude for an individual event but as an overall attitude towards life. It has been said that emotion flows where focus goes. Cultivating an attitude of gratitude for everything in our lives can create a mindset that is looking for the positive in every situation. A close friend of mine plays the fortunately/unfortunately game with her primary school aged children. The focus is on the fortunately aspect, so the children learn to reframe negatives into positives. It is a fun game and often used as an icebreaker for groups or as an improv for drama clubs. When you break it down life is a series of fortunately/unfortunately. So, if you can find a “fortunately” in almost every situation you are practising gratitude and ultimately cultivating a more emotionally positive life.

Lets face it, with the exception of a small percentage of people most of us live fairly average, dare I say, ordinary lives. So, what does it mean to honour the ordinary? To honour something is to regard it with great respect and esteem. Try and appreciate all those small things that we may take for granted. To see the sun rise or a babies smile, to hear the sound of birds or the laughter of children, to have food to eat or clean water to drink. To be able to walk and talk and share time with friends and family. They seem like such basic things but for many they are not. I remember seeing a meme on social media that said “right now someone is praying for the things you already have “

So why not try and honour the ordinary things in life, try it for a week or a month and see how it can change the way you feel. Emotion flows where focus goes.

Wishing you all the best in your journey

Phil Miranda

Source: Solomon, R.C. (2004). Foreword, In R. A. Emmons & M.E. McCullough (Eds.), Psychology of Gratitude, (pp. v-x)