Use ‘THINK’ instead of ‘Feel’ (Part 2)


PREVIOUS: Think or feel #1

POSTS: “Emotions….” – there are 27 of them (in 2011 + Jan 2012) – in case anyone mistakenly thinks Emotions are being minimized 😱



The human brain is built for language – mainly on the Left side – the mental tool that allows us to formulate ideas, & the cognitive rules for linking them together. Being able to think clearly & accurately needs a healthy, well developed top part of the brain. The frontal lobe, particularly the area furthest forward – the prefrontal cortex – is involved in sophisticated inter-personal thinking skills. Both left & right sides of it are used for interactive social competence, & the mental skills needed for our emotional well-being.

For those of us in 12-Step Programs or faithful practitioners of a spiritual path,  Spiritual Principles tell us to be honorable in all our ways – as much as humanly possible. One of those ideals is to be Trustworthy, & one way to do that is to be sure we “say what we mean & mean what we say.”

This allows others to depend on us, without being co-dependent, as long as we’re speaking from our Truth. To be able to do that implies:
— we have internal permission to find out who we are, a day at a time
— we’re capable of & willing to be honest with ourselves about what we truly think & feel, AND can tell them apart
— have the right kind of language to figure out those out, & then express them

Mental vagueness makes knowing that impossible, & inaccurate speech creates misunderstanding, so we stay isolated & hurt others.
Instead, we need the right kind of info about such things as :
— how to talk to ourselves with kindness & patience
— having healthy boundaries, to know when to talk or not
— how to say things from the Adult ego state instead of from the WIC or PP

— who we’re talking to (sick family, loving mate, dumb boss….)
— what’s appropriate to say in various situations, like when it’s ok to get personal, & when we’re over-sharing
— how to deal with disagreements & conflict
— how to communicate emotions
— the difference between rescuing & helping
— what level of communication we’re dealing with ↗

Consciously, consistently practice saying “I THINK…..” instead of “I feel…”, will greatly help to figure who WE are, contributing to our ‘sanity’ & improving our connection with others – unless deliberately meaning to refer to body sensations or emotions.

The easiest way to know the difference:

❇  Sensations & Emotions are ONE WORD each, as many as we are experiencing at the time: “I feel tired & achy, but relieved & happy / I feel hungry but I’m too excited to eat / I’m so jumpy – I can’t relax…..”

✳ Thoughts are always MORE than one word (any sentence). “I think it’s time to ask for a raise / How long do you think it’ll take? / I think you’re a pain-in-the–!”…..

NOTE: Thoughts —-> lead to —-> emotions (Es), but we rarely actually say the Es in conversation. “I feel like you don’t like me” does not indicate any emotion.
More accurate possibilities would be: “I’m angry / sad / frustrated / lonely / afraid…. when I worry (think/believe) that you might not like me”

And we don’t have to be limited to the word ‘think / thought’. Here are others that fall into the M category of PMES, (Mental), which is the same as ‘cognitive’.

• “I assume you know what you’re doing”
• “I believe it’s time to end this affair”
• “I concluded she was angry at me”
• “They didn’t consider that a legitimate option”
• “I’m convinced my neighbor is spying on me!”
• “I figure they’re going to be half an hour late as usual”
• “I gathered this is your favorite restaurant”
• “I can’t imagine anyone being willing to help me”
• “I know now that I can trust you”

• “Did you notice the way she were looking at you?”
• “I observe that he never finishes anything”
• “I can’t stop obsessing about that mistake I made”
• “I’m projecting that no one at the party will like me”
• “Don’t even speculate about that!”
• “He suspected them of lying to the cops”
• “Did you think I was insulting you?”
• “I keep wondering how soon I can leave – politely!”
• “Did you understand that lecture?”

EXERCISE: As a contrast, figure out (Ts) how you’d (incorrectly) say these sentences using “I feel that…. / I feel like….” EXP: “I feel like I can trust you now”

Regularly including one of these THINKING words ⬆ in our sentences – instead of FEEL –  is a hard habit to break, but very worth the effort!

PS: This Chart identifies a wide range of Es, in 4 groupings. See how many you are aware of throughout your day. Stay aware for how they’re not thoughts.


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