Replacement Thoughts

Why can't you see things my way?

Often this means, "You shouldn't be so stupid. You should see things my way." Once I realize that different views are inevitable, I'll become more accepting and less angry.

I must keep my kids in line at all times. I must not allow them to mess up—ever.

No parents ever had perfect kids, no matter how demanding they were. If I kindly and gently support, set limits, lead by example, and allow them to be fallible, they'll probably turn out to be decent human beings.

hopes. Remember, a powerful antidote for a should is a would or a could. Woulds and coulds preserve ideals but in a gentler, more flexible way that accepts the world as it is. For example:

• "It would be nice to be less distressed during a crisis and perform more coolly. I wonder how I could do this."

• "It would be nice to see eye to eye, but people have separate realities. In the meantime, I wonder what I could be trying."

• "It would be nice if things were better. But I accept that . . .

• people will always be fallible, never perfect."

• life will always be unfair and things will happen that we don't always deserve."

• no one can ever achieve total control of events."

• "I won't make myself crazy by insisting things be perfect right now. I'll just aim to do a very good job and expect I'll probably improve with experience."

Also ask, "Why should I? Where is this should written?" For example, is it written somewhere that humans should be perfect when they try a difficult task for the first time? Or the hundredth time?

A final antidote is to see what happens when you don't do the thing you think you must and realize that the world does not end (e.g., "If I allow myself to be vulnerable, I might learn that people like me better." "If I allow my children to make some mistakes they might learn some valuable lessons. This is not a combat zone, after all.").

Entitlement is a special form of should that says, "I am owed happiness, what I want, respect, wealth, etc." Nothing is promised. You might consider giving up entitlements, and replacing those expectations with hopes ("I would wish for . . .") and gratitude for what you do have.

6. Feelings passing as facts is thinking that your feelings represent reality. Often angry people feel so strongly that their anger is justified that they assume that it really is. Feelings of indignation then fan the flame of anger. Interestingly, criminals, gang members, spousal abusers, and aggressive road ragers also typically feel that their anger is justified—usually by past or present circumstances. The cooler outside observer would often disagree. So the antidote to this distortion is to become a cool "outside observer," realizing that when we are under stress our thoughts are not always reasonable or accurate. Other examples can be found in Table 4.6.

The goal is to treat feelings as a beloved, valued, trusted, but fallible friend. Pay attention to them and respect them, but allow that they can be wrong at times. Feelings can be colored by fatigue, pain, stress, or habitual attitudes. Ask yourself, "Is this reality or just a feeling?" If after calm analysis your anger does still seem justified, remember that you can be firm, resolute, and in control of your reactions—without hatred or bitterness. We think of the allied troops in the Gulf War. As a rule, they felt their cause was just, and they pursued it in a professional manner—capably, efficiently, and without bloodthirst or hatred.

7. Overgeneralizing is deciding that your negative experience applies to all situations. For example:

• "People always let you down. They always take advantage of you."

Letting Go, Moving On

Letting Go, Moving On

Learning About Letting Go, Moving On Can Have Amazing Benefits For Your Life And Success! Don't be held back by the past - face your guilt and fears and move on! Letting go is merely arriving at a decision, no more allowing something from the past tense to influence your life today or to cut down your inner sense of peace and welfare.

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