“If you keep examining your mind, you’ll come to see that thoughts of who you are and how it all is are creating the reality you’re experiencing.” Ram Dass
Most of the time when our marriages are struggling, we want to focus on the actions that are causing the struggle; specifically, our spouse’s actions…
But changing our own (or anyone else’s) behavior doesn’t just happen. There’s a whole series of thoughts and emotions occurring beneath the surface that no one is even talking about, but they’re what’s driving the very behaviors that we so desperately want changed in our partners.
I study a lot of great teachers, but I genuinely appreciate the structure that Brooke Castillo applied to how our thoughts create the results we experience in our lives and our marriages.
Our thoughts create our emotions.
Our emotions drive our actions, choices and behaviors.
Our actions, choices and behaviors are what drive the results we create in our lives and in our marriages.
So, if we’re willing to trace back the pain and heartache that has occurred in our marriages, we will find our thoughts that are creating the exact experience we don’t want.
Let me give you a couple examples so that you can see how this works…
If you have the thoughts that, This is never going to change…I’ve tried everything…I’ve talked until I’m blue in the face…, that is going to create emotions of hopelessness, defeat, despair and even powerlessness. Feeling that way may likely drive you to shut down to our husband, to stop trying and even not really acknowledge the efforts he makes……and the result is greater and greater disconnection
- Thought: Nothing’s ever going to change.
- Emotions: Hopelessness, defeat, despair and powerlessness
- Actions / Choices / Behaviors: Shut down and give-up
- Result: Greater and greater disconnection
Now let’s take the example of my client, Cynthia. The thoughts she’s now having are…Even if the marriage ends, I’m going to know that I did everything I could. And I’m feeling stronger and emotionally healthier than I ever have before. I’m also feeling hopeful about my marriage…I’m curious about him again and I’m feeling a shift between us. Those thoughts create emotions of hopefulness and optimism. And now when she sees her husband (because they’re currently separated), she’s open and loving; she’s communicative and appreciative. That has the potential to create the result of a new type of relationship that can be formed between Cynthia and her husband.
- Thought: I’m feeling better and I’m feeling things shift between my husband and I
- Emotion: Hopeful and optimistic
- Actions / Choices / Behaviors: She’s open and loving, communicating and appreciating him more.
- Result: Possibility for a new type of relationship to be formed
No wonder things are getting better….
There are many things in our lives that we cannot change; but we can change our thoughts and when we do….it’s a waterfall effect….impacting our emotions, our actions and of course, our results.