Our beliefs shape how we think, how we treat ourselves, and how we feel. Which is why it is essential to free ourselves from all untrue assumptions.
What we believe about ourselves, others, the world and life in general is very important. From what we believe comes our way of thinking and from how we think comes our feelings. These lies that we believe easily become emotional impairments that keep us from living and thriving well. Bottom line: if you believe lies, your feelings and your thinking will then lie to you. But, by replacing the lies with truth one can find a whole new way of thinking and feeling. (Please note, when I am talking about feelings, I’m not talking about mood. There’s a difference between the two.)
Put very simply: Lies we believe cause thinking that isn’t true and ends up causing feelings we should not trust. We need to be very aware of our feelings, but, cautious of them. They easily can be coming from thinking that is based on a lie we believe.
By believing what is true, our thinking ends up being detoxed and we can begin to trust our feelings. I’ve found that in my life, if I will but believe the truth, usually my “stinkin’ thinkin’” goes away and my feelings improve. However, there are times when the truth was painful and I had to work through the pain. But, once I accepted those truths and worked through the pain, my whole emotional life, feelings and all improved.
Here’s an example: For years prior to being diagnosed I believed a lie. I believed that I had some kind of flaw, I didn’t know exactly what, but a flaw that if others came to see it in its’ fullness that they would reject me. So, this lie held me in it’s grips and actually was the cause of a manic episode that would bring my world crashing down around myself and everyone else in it.
This “flaw” was the cause to my rage, my almost constant agitation with those who could not keep up with all my creative thoughts and ideas. So, I attempted to hide my flaw. I didn’t want to discuss with anyone around me what was going on inside of me. I was certain that no one would understand me. I feared being judged. I had a flaw that caused a lot of my actions and acting out. It felt as though it was a secret that I had to do everything and anything possible to keep others from not discovering. I called it my “monster”. I so feared rejection and judgment, not being understood, that I attempted to not feel my feelings, nor talk about them with someone else that I simply got sicker and sicker.
A very simple lie: no one will understand, I will be judged therefore I must not talk about what is going on inside of me. Instead I must hide it from everyone. If I had but just realized that the truth was that there were those would understand and there were those who would not judge me, it could have changed the course of my discovery about the flaw, the monster of bipolar disorder. This simple lie that I believed but accepted as truth held me in emotional bondage and contributed to my demise.
So, how do you discover if you believe lies or truth? One way is to work “backwards” from your feelings. In other words, ask yourself why you are feeling the feelings. This question leads you to what you are thinking. Which will lead you back to what you believe. This is where a therapist is so important. A good therapist can help us unravel our balls of lies, stinkin’ thinkin’ and feelings. A really good mental health peer support group can also make a big difference.
Today I attempt at all cost to know that the truth is and believe the truth. My thinking then flows from that truth which brings about my feelings. My feelings serve as my thinking indicator, which leads right back to what I believe.
What you believe, leads to what you think and how you feel. What you think causes how you feel. Sometimes the truth brings about pain. But, pain not dealt with will end up dealing with us. I’d rather work through the pain.
What lies are you believing?
(By the way, I recognize that this post may seem like it is all a bunch of nonsense and my end up being one of the my worst posts ever! And this truth, might bring me a little pain. But, I hope I am believing a lie….:))
Brad Hoefs is the founder of Fresh Hope, a national network of faith-based peer support groups for those who have mental health challenges and also for their loved ones, with resources such as his podcast, "Fresh Hope for Mental Health." He is a certified Intentional Peer Specialist, and also serves on the State of Nebraska Advisory Committee on Mental Health. Brad was diagnosed with bipolar I disorder in 1995. One of Brad’s passions is to empower peers to live a full and rich life in spite of a mental health challenge. Brad’s blog is “Living Well!” He is the author of Fresh Hope: Living Well in Spite of a Mental Health Diagnosis. He has a BA in communications and a master of divinity degree. Brad has been married to his wife, Donna, since 1979. They have two adult married children and love being grandparents to the grandkids! He is the pastor of Community of Grace in Elkhorn, Nebraska. He also helped start a website called What I Did to Recover that encourages and empowers those who have a mental health diagnosis to live well in spite of their mental health struggles.
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