What were things humans realized about the physical world that effected their lives the most?
- Finding out that rolling things move easier helped us to invent the wheel. That changed everything for sure.
- Discovering that the sun doesn’t revolve around us. Another biggie.
- Understanding that for every action there is a reaction. Huge impact.
When it comes to our emotional and mental lives there are also a few truths that can be life-altering.
Here is my list of 14 truth bombs that will change the way you view yourself and the world.
Your thoughts create your feelings
You can choose what you are feeling.
How is that even possible?
You can never have a feeling unless you first have a thought about something.
Children can still be overpowered emotionally.
Adults? Not so much.
They can choose what they will and won’t believe.
They get to decide how they will interpret events, words, actions.
Even your past is just memories about your memories. It exists only in your mind.
If you are feeling shame this very moment, it’s because of what you are thinking NOW about what happened THEN.
The cause of all your suffering is always found in your current thinking.
And here is the best news ever: you get to decide what you want to think.
Your brain sometimes causes you problems
Your brain is a born pessimist.
Imagine this: You go out into your garden and there is your friendly neighbor waving at you.
But there is also a snake.
Try to see one of the deadliest snakes in the world in your mind’s eye.
Like a cobra, from the part of the world where I grew up, South Africa.
The reptile is staring you in the face.
Its head is reared upwards.
Its hood is out.
It’s spitting at you.
For you to live another day, on which one should you focus? The snake or the neighbor?
Your brain is always looking for deadly snakes and ignoring friendly neighbors.
Problem is there are not so many deadly snakes around as in the day, and if we talked to friendly neighbors more often our lives would improve.
Deliberately manage your negativity. Most of the time it is not serving you any longer.
You can learn to override your human brain
Robert B Cialdini, in his book The Psychology of Persuasion, tells the chilling story of American prisoners of war who became so brainwashed in Korea that they eventually turned completely against their homeland.
The guards just asked the POW’s to write down this sentence: “The United States is not perfect.”
After a while they would ask the prisoners to write WHY America was not perfect.
They then read these essays over the radio for other POW’s to hear.
Step by step the POW’s wrote themselves into new beliefs.
In the end, some of them thought nothing of betraying fellow Americans trying to escape.
Writing something down enough times can completely change your convictions
Use this knowledge to your advantage.
If, for instance, you wrote this sentence every day for a whole year:
“I am 100% worthy as a human being.”
you will have trained your brain to believe it.
Find such a sentence and start writing today.
A relationship are just thoughts about someone
All a relationship really is, are the thoughts you have of another person and the thoughts they have of you.
We want to make it complicated and add things like the history we have with them, how they act, or how we feel towards them, but really it comes down to what our thoughts are about this person.
There are basically 3 types of these thoughts that will define a relationship.
- What I think they think of me
- What I think of them
- What I think of me in relationship to them
Feelings are pretty harmless in and of themselves
If you’d google the word “harmless”, pictures of ducklings will appear. Carry that image around in your head from now on.
Why can’t feelings harm you? Because they are just vibrations you experience in your body.
Take a scary emotion such as shame for instance.
If you were to describe “shame” to a Martian who has never experienced emotion, how would you do it?
- My face feels hot.
- There is a sinking sensation in my belly.
- I feel like I just have to hide.
The Martian would probably ask: what’s the big deal? That doesn’t sound very dangerous.
For us, who have had mothers that didn’t love us the way we should have been loved, getting to a point to think of our feelings, even our most negative ones, as little round-headed fluffy ducks, is a vital step in our recovery.
It is the ability to process negative emotions that is keeping so many of us unloved daughters from taking risks, from daring to be our best selves. We are so afraid that people won’t like us or would laugh at us.
Once we understand feelings are pretty harmless, we would be willing to experience them more.
It’s okay to feel bad 50% of the time
The first time I heard the Pharrell Williams song Happy was just after our plane from Johannesburg had touched down in Amsterdam. My family and I were on route to America, for a 6-week-visit to see if it would be possible for us to live there.
The 11-hour flight over the length of Africa is grueling, and while our pilot taxied us to our parking spot I felt to serenade with Pharrell: clap along if you feel that happiness is the truth.
I still like that song very much, but is happiness really the truth?
- Not if your child has just been diagnosed with cancer.
- Not if a family member took her own life.
- Not if it feels as if your mother will never love you.
Suffering and pain are realities of the human condition.
Therefore, it’s more useful to expect to feel bad, mad and sad half of the time and glad the other half.
Expecting to feel happy all of the time can make you feel bad that you are feeling bad. Then you compound the negative emotions in your life, making you feel bad for even more than half of the time.
Just accept the bad, the sad and the mad in your life. And enjoy and be thankful for the glad.
You can manage your feelings, so they never overwhelm you
The first step you have to do with regards to feelings, is to become aware of what you’re feeling. What your body typically does when it feels an emotion, is to tighten up against it. This could be a good clue for you that a feeling is skulking around somewhere.
It is also usually the time you would want to avoid, resist or react to your emotional pain. When you feel this happening, tell yourself: “That won’t help.”
Just acknowledge that the painful emotion is there.
Just allow your feelings
You just have to allow the feeling and tell yourself you can still function even though it is hurting so much.
Allowing an emotion usually means just sit and experience it ravaging your body.
Give the feeling a name. Use a single word to describe it if you can. For instance, is it shame, anger, inadequacy, failure, fear, rejection you are feeling?
Also, try to find exactly where in your body you are experiencing this vibration.
The wonderful thing that will happen when you allow yourself to feel pain all the way through, is that you will be able to see that feelings are manageable and can do you no long-term harm.
Emotions are as harmless as ducklings.
You can feel them.
And then let them go.
You can harness your feelings to motivate and inspire you
Ultimately, we do things or don’t do them, because how we think we will feel when we do them.
For instance, getting an education.
- Why do I take the trouble to study hard?
- Because I want to have a good job.
- Why do I want to have a good job?
- Because I want to be able to afford a nice house.
- Why do I want to be able to afford a nice house?
- Because I want my friends to come visit me.
- Why do I want my friends to come visit me?
- Because that makes me feel connected
Once you start questioning yourself you always come back to a feeling.
Now that you know wanting to experience a feeling is the reason you do things you can use its power to help motivate you. Your life could change when you realize you can use your thoughts to deliberately generate an inspiring feeling for yourself.
Feelings are non-transferable
Just like an airplane ticket is always issued in the name of one person only, an emotion is also non-transferable.
You do not catch a feeling like you catch a cold. It doesn’t magically jump from someone else to you. It is the story you tell yourself about the fact or the incident that is causing you to feel in a certain way.
But it is just as true that other people’s emotions, including your mother’s, are also not caused by something you’re saying or doing but what they are making your deeds or words mean.
Which brings us to the next truth bomb.
You are not responsible for other people’s feelings
Often children will take responsibility for other people’s emotions because they underestimate the complexity of a situation. And daughters of unloved mothers are often stuck in emotional childhood, because they never learned that they are not responsible for other people’s emotions.
If emotions are there to get us to act in a certain way, can you see why it is so important that you understand that you are not responsible for other people’s emotions?
Each one of us on this beautiful earth has our own journey. Part of that journey is that we process our emotions, because they play a vital role in shaping us into the people we are supposed to be. They are also getting us to do the things we need to do.
Author Manuel J Smith explains this idea very well. Ultimately, he says, each of us has to take care of our own psychological well-being, happiness and success in life.
Yes, we might wish others well, but none of us can create happiness for another human being.
Having expectations of other adults makes you miserable
Adults have the ability and freedom to behave however they choose.
This includes you. It also includes your mother.
If you think about it, there is nothing you ever have to do, and there is nothing anyone else has to do for you.
It can be hard to let go of the idea that your mother was supposed to take care of you.
You don’t need your mother’s love any longer
Although it is true that a young child, especially a baby, will die if it is not taken care of, it is no longer true that you will be harmed if your mother doesn’t care for you.
She did her part to make sure you survived till adulthood, because here you are reading this.
It could bring you so much relief and freedom if you accepted full responsibility for your own emotional life and dropped all the rules you have of how your mother should behave towards you.
When you release the rules and expectations you have, your relationship with your mother can change for the better. You can start understanding her from a different perspective that isn’t clouded by your own thinking and expectations.
Although it is by no means a given, often the intimacy and honesty in a relationship increase once you let go of your rules for how other people should behave.
By not trying to control other people, they feel safer to be their true selves. That could even be true of you and your mother. When you don’t make her actions mean something negative about you, you can understand her better and connect to her with more authenticity.
Resentment is the one emotion you should get rid of
If you feel guilty about your mom, allow it as you would any other emotion. Do not try to push it away, ignore it or blunt it with other activities. But let it pass and do not act on it.
Acting from a negative emotion will seldom give you a positive result.
Doing things for your mom because you feel guilty, will build resentment in you. In the long run that is worse for the relationship.
If you don’t feel up to it to spend time with your mom, that’s okay.
You can still love her and NOT take her along on vacation.
Love her unconditionally.
Why tell an unloved daughter to love her mother even if she has done horrible things to the daughter?
Love always feels better
Because love feels better. For you.
Your mother doesn’t benefit from your emotion. She can’t feel your emotions. Only you feel them.
When we dislike someone, who is feeling the dislike? We are.
When we hate someone, who is suffering from the hate? We are.
When we resent someone, who is experiencing the resentment? We are.
There is an old saying when you resent someone, you are drinking the poison yourself, hoping it will harm the other person.
It doesn’t work.
Don’t do things for your mom out of guilt. Work on your mind and the way you are thinking till you can do those things out of love.
Say no, so when you say yes you mean it
Learning to say no without feeling guilty is one of the best skills you can have.
No is a very powerful word.
- It is more honest
- It makes your relationships more authentic
- It down-dials resentment in your life
Learn to say no, because then when you say yes, you can mean it.
You can still love your mother, and tell her no.
The benefits of being able to be more assertive are enormous and it is well worth your while to work on this skill.
What are some of the benefits?
- You will feel better about yourself
- You will get what you really want more often
- Your relationship with your mother will become more genuine
- You will experience less resentment towards her
- You will experience more love for her
To get the life you want, take 100% responsibility for it
It can be hard to always take 100% responsibility for your own life and the results you are creating, but this attitude gives you so much power and agency.
Once you understand that you are the one creating whatever results in your life, you can learn to uncreate them if you don’t like them. Or to recreate them if you do.