Here’s an argument that’s accurate but one that will be lost on just about anyone you present it to – You are the cause of your feelngs.
The counter-argument is: You did X, therefore I feel Y. In other words, without your stimulus, I wouldn’t have had that response.
If the stimulus is the cause of your feelings, you would have to have that response every time the stimulus was presented.
Pretend you are in a bar and you see some creepy looking person giving you the “once over.” As a response, you get, as we used to say, “the skeeves.” Same bar, 15 minutes later and you get the same look from someone who looks rather inviting. Are you reviled?
You set it up that the same stimulus can generate a different response depending on whom it’s coming from. By setting up a selective response, you cause your feelings – both the good and bad.
No where is this more apparent than in language. Some words delivered in a certain tone of voice may have you chew the other person’s head off for using them in your presence. How dare they cause that response in you! Same words in the same tone of voice delivered by someone near and dear often delivers a different response.
That’s because you have set up in advance how you are going to feel in a certain set of circumstances. Thus, you are the cause of your feelings.
Reminds me of a story . . .
I was conducting a corporate, stop smoking seminar in Virginia about 5 years ago. When describing tobacco fields, I describe that there are a lot of flies in the field that land on the leaves. I rhetorically ask, “Do you know what they leave on the leaves?” I then answer my own question – “Fly shit.” The room laughs.
But I saw this one woman recoil at the phrase. After the class, she came up to me an told me she enjoyed the seminar but that I had made her feel uncomfortable using the phrase I did to describe fly droppings. I explained that to underscore the point of all the chemicals and foreign matter contained in tobacco that this phrase seemed to drive the point home best with the hundreds of thousands of people the seminar has been presented to. She repeated that I made her feel uncomfortable.
I knew my explanation was going nowhere so I borrowed a story from NLP Guru, Richard Bandler and asked the woman if I pushed her buttons. She said, “Yes.” I then asked her if her buttons were on the inside or outside, but cautioned her that before she answered, if she said they were on the outside, I would have to call men in white coats to come and get her. She laughed. I then asked, “If they’re on the inside, how could I have access to them?”
I then said, “You’re pushing your own buttons.” She set it up that she would be upset in the presence of certain words. She caused her own feelings.
We all cause our own feelings. it’s usually a conditioned response to a given stimulus. If you want to change your automatic feelings to a given stimulus, you have to change your response to the stimulus.
If you want to continue to give people power over you, stay addicted to your response to their stimulus. They’re just using your conditioning to hook you time after time. But remember, you set up how you were going to feel in the first place. If you set it up, you can dismantle it.
It takes some practice but it’s quite possible to change your response to a given stimulus. Here’s one way to do it: Put a wedge between the stimulus and response. That means to catch yourself about to respond in the way you normally do, then allow that response to pass by and wait for another one. If you wait, another response will surface. This new response will get you out of robotic answering mode and it will have different feelings attached to it.
We can spend the rest of our lives blaming circumstances and other people for causing the way we feel, or we can discover that we cause our own feelings.
When you discover you are the cause, you cause new feelings to happen.
All the best,
JOHN MORGAN COACHING
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