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Are you living the life you dreamed?
At least one time during our childhood we have utter these words:
When I grow up, I want to be….. or When I grow up, I am going to do this…
These affirmations could have been in the form of an essay we read to our classmates in elementary school or an essay for a college application.
With excitement, we imagined that we would have a rewarding job, perhaps become the president of a company or a business owner which would have afforded us the big house with the fancy clothes in the walk-in closet along with the two shiny new cars in the 3-car garage and the adventurous vacations for our perfect family and pet.
We fantasized that we would be extremely happy and fulfilled as we help solve the world’s problems with the Nobel Prize for Peace sitting prominently on our shelf along with all the other awards we attained for being so great.
That’s not what happened?
Or it did happen that way, but you don’t feel like you are living an intentional or purposefully life.
Hey, I feel you.
I know how it feels to have a relative good life, but don’t feel as if you are living purposefully or that your dreams have been deferred.
You may feel stuck on a carousel on that horse, although very pretty, that doesn’t go up or down, just around and around seeing the same things, doing the same things.
It’s a Life that lacks excitement, challenges, fulfillment.
Soo, what happened?
Some may simply say, “Life Happened!”
That’s true, but if we really evaluated our life’s journey whether we have enjoyed it or not or whether we have accomplished our dreams or not, we probably will discover that there was some major event or situation or a series of them that changed the way we thought which affected our feelings which dictated our actions and now, here we are.
Would you believe that the way you approach life, view the world, feel about yourself and others depend largely, if not exclusively, on your thoughts.
Your thoughts have super powers. They determine how you feel, your decisions and your actions. Simply, they determine every part of your life that is in your control.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
According to the Cognitive Behavioral Theory (CBT), how you think determines how you feel and how you behave. Furthermore, the CBT is based on the idea that our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are constantly interacting and influencing one another. How we interpret or think about a situation determines how we feel about it, which then determines how we will react.
Take a look at the visual of the Cognitive Behavioral Model below.
So in a nutshell, there is a circumstance or a situation. You have a thought about the situation which is influenced by your core values and beliefs and sometimes irrational thinking. That thought will create a certain emotion/feeling. That feeling will create a behavior which can come in the form of an action, an inaction, or a reaction. That behavior will create a result. It may be an outcome you like or do not like, and it can cause a vicious cycle in your thought pattern which is called cognitive distortions.
Core Values and Beliefs
Every person alive has a set of core values and beliefs about life that influences the vision they have of the future and even sometimes the past. These core values and beliefs are often developed in childhood and can be strongly tilted toward success or failure.
Your core values and beliefs represent what’s important to you in life. Knowing your values and beliefs helps you understand what drives you, what you enjoy, what inspires you, and what you’d like more of.
You get a lot of these ideas from your parents, but they also come from general society. The TV shows you watched growing up, the friends you had, their parents, your teachers, and whatever was happening in the world as you grew affected your values and beliefs.
Many of these ideas you don’t realize you have. Therefore, you often act unconsciously to things that strike at those values and beliefs. Sometimes those actions lead you down the wrong path. And unfortunately, these same core beliefs and values may prevent you from moving forward in life.
So, if you want to embark on a journey to personal development, be willing to challenge your core values, beliefs, ideas, and even the vision you have created for your life.
Through working on your personal development, you will become much more self-aware about your core values and beliefs and why you react to certain situations the way that you do or why you are getting certain results. This will help you to adjust your values and beliefs in order to build a satisfying and meaningful life and lifestyle.
Cognitive Behavioral Model
Now let us look at the Cognitive Behavioral Model using a scenario where two people encounter the same situation.
Because Mary realized that there was a realistic possibility attendance of her party could be low during the holidays, she focused on the positive: the guests who came to her party.
On the other hand, Beth did not fathom that her invitees may have had something else to do. Hence, Beth was shocked and angry at the low attendance of her party.
Needless to say, the above scenario shows that our core beliefs and values, whether they are true or not, play a major role in how we ultimately think about circumstances/situations which creates a behavior that usually reflects our feelings.
Follow along with me using a personal situation of your own.
First write down something that recently happened-a situation/event. It may have been something good or something bad. For example, for me a situation would be my husband was told he would need radiation treatment for prostate cancer.
Next, write your Thoughts about the Situation: My thoughts were “I thought the surgery he had last year removed all of the cancer cells. However, during check-up following the surgery, the doctor did say he may have to have radiation treatments.”
Next write your Emotions associated with those Thoughts: My emotions were Disappointed yet Hopeful.
Lastly, write the Behavior that resulted based on your emotions: I researched radiation treatments. I wanted to know everything about it regarding its effect on the type of cancer my husband had. I said encouraging things to my husband.
The Outcome: I felt hopeful based on the research I did, and blessed because the situation could be worse. We vowed not to let this put a damper on our lives.
Now place your scenario in a diagram like this one:
Do you see a correlation between your thoughts, emotions, and actions?
Additionally, this diagram shows how your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors interact and influence one another which can easily become a cycle of positive or negative thoughts about a situation.
It is so important to be mindful of this when it comes to figuring out your thought patterns. If they are mostly negative, it could be the reason why you are not making sufficient progress toward the life you desire.
But we can fix that. However, before we can make any changes to our life, we must first understand our thoughts.
Are they mostly negative? Or are they mostly positive?
To find out, use my free thought pattern analysis model over the next week to gain insight of your thought patterns and the core beliefs that influence your emotions and behaviors.
I would love to know your thoughts on the CBT Model and whether it was helpful in your quest of a purposeful, fulfilled, happier, and content life.
Also, if you would like more lessons to help you create the life you want, sign-up for the 52 Weeks of Success E-course using the form located on the right.
Until next time….