Where do thoughts come from?
If I asked you where do the thoughts you have about yourself and the world around you come from, most would agree that in some way their thoughts come from their experiences. For some, this experience is based in religion or from a caregiver, and for many of us, it is from the events we have experienced.
So thoughts come from our experiences. They are a reflection of self, that becomes our expression. I like to remember that thoughts tend to come in states of having:
I want to have.
I need to have
I have had
We need to want in order to have.
How to describe a thought?
Below is an example of thought distillation - we distill our thoughts into specific components and qualities with the goal of being able to identify the underlying emotional element.
A Thought forms the backdrop of our experience. Thoughts are in the moment, statements we make about ourselves. Thoughts begin with the word "I".
A thought can be further distilled into three components:
The prevailing thought
What you are thinking/ wondering about
What you are feeling about that thought
All creation begins with a thought, sparked by discovery and fueled by wonder.
A thought can be described using three qualities:
Directional thoughts lead us to states of having: I want money (the future we want), I have had enough (the past we have had), I need control (the past we need), I have respect (the present we have).
Negating thoughts lead us to disconnecting emotions: I can’t do this, I don’t care, I won’t do that.
Positive thoughts move us toward connecting emotions: I can try, I do care I will be open.
The most true, or accurate of thoughts align with our values.
Thought distillation is a useful way to identify where you are in the emotional cycle and what emotion is being expressed. This becomes a more accurate, appropriate, and authentic expressions of our experiences.
Thought distillation is when we distill our thoughts into specific components while identifying the underlying qualities. You are searching for the prevailing thought about yourself.
Start with what you are thinking about, whatever it is. This is usually a specific event that occurred.
This allows you to distill what you are thinking, from what your thought is, and the feeling it becomes. Knowing what feelings lead to what emotion allows you to examine if what you are expressing is the experience you intend. When there is an intention expression mismatch, then there is an inaccuracy in thought or feeling.
Do not judge this thought as good or bad, just ask yourself is that thought accurate or true. If it is not then create a new, true thought: I can try, I will figure it out, I am safe. This will allow the feelings that extend to be more accurate as well. I like to tell people If your thought is not something that you would say in a job interview or a date, do not say it to yourself.
Thoughts of "I am deficient, I am not enough", extend to the feelings that lead to the emotion of shame. Shame is a disconnecting emotion that I need value, in other words it expresses I do not have value. If you express shame in a circumstance that does not warrant it, then choose a more accurate thought.
From thoughts feelings emanate - use the energy of your mind to guide you toward a specific emotion.
By organizing and correctly identifying your thoughts, feelings, and emotions, you will feel more in control. If your thought is not accurate (not true), your emotions are not appropriate (shame), and your experience not authentic (not real), you will feel anxiety - the incongruency between your heart and your mind.
Identify your thoughts, feelings, and emotions, and then ask yourself if they are accurate (true).
What you are thinking about:
"My business partner suggested I get some training in corporate dynamics."
The thought you have about yourself :
" I am not doing a good job "
(then ask yourself - is that true?)
"I feel embarrassed, not good enough."
The emotion that pairs with those feelings:
Shame - you feel that you have less value. You are choosing to experience the event of someone taking an interest in your professional development as shameful. That would not be authentic to what was intended or expressed.
So you would choose to change your thought to be more accurate to who you want to be :
“I can expand my skills”
I feel curious, open, accepting
The emotion that pairs with those feelings:
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Cover photo by Jon parlangeli