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Hope Forward: Surviving and Thriving through Emotional Pain: January 2015

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Tea With Your Thoughts

I know, sounds odd.  But learning how to work with our minds can go such a long way toward bringing us a peaceful and meaningful inner world - which often translates to a feeling of health and satisfaction in our outer worlds.

Traditional CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) has long been teaching us how to hear our thoughts, understand how they cause and effect our feelings, our urges, and result in actions and then, of course, consequences.  CBT in it's many useful forms has helped many tune in to their thoughts, sort them through and refute the ones that are based on faulty beliefs, old destructive thought patterns or self-attacking inner voices.  Talking back is often an effective and powerful tool.

But here's another take on the back talk because talking back, getting so involved with all the negative thoughts, trying to refute them, argue with them, tell them they are wrong (especially when we are not so sure we disbelieve them or we have not yet understood their usefulness to us or their origins) sometimes just does not work as well as we might like it to:

Invite them in for tea.  Let them keep talking.  Tell them you hear them.  Tell them to come on in, sit down, have a cup of tea.  And while they are talking and having their tea, do what you know is the right thing to do anyway.

Folks often ask me about how to really sort out the healthy thoughts from the unhealthy ones, and the truth is, it's not so hard once you tune in to doing it.  The unhealthy ones are the ones that have you by the throat.  They are the ones that command you, harangue you, tease you, urge you, guilt you, condemn you, condemn others, spook you, demean you, egg you on toward harming yourself or someone else, with words or actions.

And the healthy ones come from a quieter place.  A place inside that is calm and willing to feel feelings, even sad ones, slower ones, frustrating ones, and just be.  The place that knows that difficult feelings can motivate not debilitate, can inspire and not extinguish your sense of creativity and self. The better thoughts are more reasonable, more poignant, more in line with your overall value system and belief system.

It does take some tending to, for sure, to figure them out, but we don't have to be ruled by them without paying attention to them.  We can tune in, invite all our thoughts to have a cup of tea while
we keep on going from our hearts.