Distorted thoughts and reactionary feelings

Our belief system distorts the way we perceive things and ultimately the way we think. These distorted thoughts generate feelings. Say I have a distorted thought that my boss implemented a new policy to make my life miserable. If I think on this a while, I will perceive it as being real. It will then generate feelings such as anger, hurt, or betrayal. These reactionary feelings feel exactly the same as feelings based on a real experience.

So I may have pure feelings and reactionary feelings around the same experience. Say my girlfriend breaks up with me and I feel hurt and sad. These are the pure feelings. And then my distorted thoughts kick in. I start to make assumptions. It must be because she likes that guy that was at the party the other night (which generates jealousy and anger).  Or maybe it's because I didn't take her out for dinner enough (which generates guilt and feelings of inadequacy). Pretty soon I am lost in my distorted thoughts and the reactionary feelings that they generate. I have lost touch with the pure feelings of sadness and loss.

Then I figure I am going to express my feelings around this break-up. I journal, go to a support group, and talk to a friend. But all I'm able to access is my distorted thoughts and reactionary feelings. I talk about them and express them- which reinforces them even more. I never get in touch with the pure feelings. But I tell myself expressed my feelings. I just can't figure out why I still feel so bad.

So the moral of the story is to keep it real. Stick with the facts. Challenge your distorted thoughts- do not indulge them. Get back in touch with the pure feelings and let yourself feel them.

Otherwise, you will be kind of like my cat chasing her tail.

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