A Thought is Just a Thought

9 Jun 2020

Right at the beginning of this lockdown period, one of my directors set up a Saturday morning surgery to support us, the franchisees.

She has twenty-five years of experience in Personal Development and is a powerful coach. But this wasn’t about coaching us to take action in our businesses: this was about enabling us to emotionally thrive in this challenging period.

Some of us have cried in these sessions; some of us have been angry. Most of us have experienced frustration.

In each case, she has encouraged us to let that feeling be. “It’s a feeling,” she says. “It isn’t right, and it isn’t wrong; it’s just a feeling.”

She has asked us where in our bodies that feeling resides. “Just allow it to be,” she says. “Don’t fight it.”

Being with that feeling, without judgement, allows us to process it.

So often, we judge our feelings, and judge them negatively.

My second daughter is struggling with German. She doesn’t understand why some nouns are masculine, some feminine and some neuter; she doesn’t understand the cases; she doesn’t understand the pronunciation. She feels utterly frustrated and her judgement on herself is, “I’m stupid.”

Is that thought true?

Well, I’m her mother, so I’m going to say it’s not true!

There are reasons why she finds reading difficult and why concentration is a challenge for her. She needs to find a way of learning that will work. She will often experience frustration; we all do.

We have thoughts about our thoughts too.

“I hate him/her!” Then, “Oops – I am a bad person for having that thought. I mustn’t think like that!”

But it was just a thought. I have the choice to fight that thought and sit in judgement on myself; to nurture that thought and allow it to poison me; or I can think it, acknowledge it, and let it go.

Is that thought true? No – it is a reaction to the hurt I feel over the behaviour of another person. The thought is a reaction to emotion, and emotions just – are.

Emotions tend to be felt in our bodies. We speak of our hearts being filled with joy; of a bubble of happiness welling up inside. Equally, we talk of a heavy weight on our shoulders and a lump in our throat. This is the physicality of emotion.

And our brains are packed with a complete tangle of thoughts. Many of these thoughts are wild fantasies; some are contradictory; few of them make sense.

Our biggest power in life and one that nobody can ever take away, is our power to choose.

Even in the utter darkness of despair and depression, when our thoughts turn in a sickening maelstrom of negativity, we still have the power, should we choose to exert it, to step away and see our thoughts as – just thoughts, and our feelings as – just feelings.

As my director says, “Acknowledge what you feel but don’t believe everything you think.”


A Moodscope member.

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Moodscope members seek to support each other by sharing their experiences through this blog. Posts and comments on the blog are the personal views of Moodscope members, they are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice.

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