Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Helping our patients to shift their way of thinking for more empowerment


When we have an uncomfortable feeling as a reaction to an external event, let’s say someone did something that affects us, we can frame it in two ways.

1. They made us feel this way.

Or

2. We feel this way because of a particular value or belief that we hold deeply. So we can ask ourselves, “What is the belief that we have that made us feel or react in this way?” Once we have clarity around that, we have the opportunity to change that to influence how we feel and react.

Both are correct. However, one is more empowering than the other.

In counseling, we may try to shift the first way of thinking, into the second way of thinking for more empowerment.

Common beliefs that tend to be “triggering” for people are..

I am not good enough. 

Things should be fair. 

Things should be done properly or not at all. 

People should be nice and sensitive. 

People should be competent. 

People don’t value me. 

My child is so naughty.  

People are dishonest. 

People are bad. 

People don’t have common sense. 

Bad things ALWAYs happen to me. 

The world is against me. 

If someone does something wrong, they must be punished.

If I do something wrong, I must be punished too.

I am weird. 

No nobody likes me. 

There’s something wrong with me. 

Everyone leaves me in the end. 

You can’t trust people. 

I am significant when I achieve. 

I am insignificant if I fail.  

And so on......

We also appreciate that beliefs are neither “right or wrong”. Is it helpful or not, or is it adaptable or not to our life and context, are probably better questions.

Furthermore, if one can change the external event, change it. It’s when we can’t change the external, then the internal is an option.

For example... We can’t make the world fair, so having the belief of “life should be fair” is going to create ongoing excessive stress for us and our families.

Changing to the belief of “It would be nice if life is fair”, will help us accept that to some extent, and at the same time, we still thrive for fairness.

An alternative to “changing our beliefs” is to defuse and unhook from that belief, in differing contexts.

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