What we think we inevitably become. We are self-fulfilling prophecies, by the thoughts we choose, which influence our feelings, and compel us to act in certain ways.
What we think influences how we feel which influences what we do.
If we can manage our thoughts and beliefs we can control a lot of what we do. Not only that, but we can feel better too.
When we feel good about ourselves and about the world around us, we tend to do good. And when we do good, we tend to think happy thoughts.
It may be an error of thinking to think we have little impact on our happiness. Besides the times, by life’s circumstances, that happiness proves elusive—particularly regarding grief, loss, and adjustment—we have the major part of control over our destiny regarding momentary happiness.
This happiness arrives in those moments when we have disciplined ourselves to enquire of our thinking, especially regarding thinking that is erroneous.
When our self-talk harbours in the negative, we begin to feel bad, and then we start insisting on our way, or seeing the worst in things, or jumping in prematurely. We begin to delude ourselves, that the world is a bad place. At these times, we are the ones making it bad.
Impacting happiness is about regulating our perceptions. When we see with true sight, by keeping our thoughts open to challenge, we can right our wrong thoughts.
With humility we can understand our fault before we start feeling bad enough to act in inappropriate or inexcusable ways.
Capturing Our Self-Talk
Picking up on our thinking errors is as simple as capturing our self-talk. When we discipline ourselves to ask, many times daily if necessary, ‘What am I saying to myself, in my mind, right now, this instant?’ we give ourselves vital control.
The moment we discover we are saying negative things that may not even be true we can change our thinking. In an instant we have halted the path of anger, resentment, and complaint, etc.
We have halted our unhappiness, too, because we can start to feel better when we think that thoughts.
In that instant we have short-circuited the processes that limit our happiness, and certainly limit the happiness of others who may be on the other end of our otherwise bad thinking.
Controlling our actions is about regulating our feelings by managing our thoughts. Challenging our momentary thinking is a skill enabling the eventual experience of peace, joy, and ultimately hope. The beginnings of happiness originate in what we think.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.
Acknowledgement: the idea for this article came from material produced by the School of Psychology, Murdoch University, Perth, Western Australia.