Emotional Reasoning

By the way, the written word here is not the same content as that of the video, so I suggest you read the blog and watch the video.

Have you ever succumbed to your feelings and used emotional reasoning to do or not do something? Take a look at these statements and see if any relate to you:

  • I don’t feel like getting out of bed… I’ll go to the gym this afternoon instead.
  • I feel like eating ice-cream, even though I know I shouldn’t, oh, I am so naughty, said with a cheeky smile
  • I don’t feel like going to work today, the boss might be in a bad mood again! I’m sure she hates me.
  • I feel so guilty because I forgot to get Sally a present for her birthday, I really am a horrible person.

I’m pretty confident that as you read these statements you are able to appreciate that these statements reflect emotions and feelings. 

Emotional Reasoning from Emotional Thinking

In reality, I can choose to change my thoughts to a more positive attitude which might just allow me to feel better.  Take the test:  Say aloud: “I don’t feel like going to the gym, it’s too hot and it will be too hard.”  Notice how you felt and give it a rating out of 10, with 10 the highest score.  When I myself say it aloud I feel resistance and defeated and I can see myself melting in the heat, and I would rate this at 7 out of 10 for stress caused by this feeling and thought.

Positive Thought – Positive Feeling? 

On the other hand, if you think/say this instead, “I enjoy feeling like I’ve done all I can to get fitter and stronger at the gym, I think I’ll get ready and go now”, notice how you feel.  For myself, I felt more energetic and proud of myself and rate this thought at 9/10 for delighted anticipation. How did you go?

Let me ask you this:  which thought worked better to motivate you?

When I analyse the statements in the bullet points at the top, it can be seen that emotional reasoning is being used to make a decision or determine how I feel.  This emotional reasoning will take me away from my goals, such as being fitter and healthier, or losing weight, or meditating, or attending work regularly.

What I am doing is using my feelings to justify why I should or shouldn’t do something, or even to prove what a hopeless, worthless person I am.

“I didn’t buy Sally at the office a birthday present, and now I feel guilty, so I really am a horrible person.” Which means I just used my guilt to convince myself of how lousy I am, how terrible I am. Is this going to help me to feel any better? No, because guilt is a dreadful motivator and usually causes people to become paralysed and do nothing.

In the past, a long time ago, I used to motivate myself to do the housework with ANGER. Can you believe that? Well, it’s true, I hated the thought of doing the housework and spending time on such a useless job, so then when I didn’t feel like doing it, I would get angry at having to do it, and then spray that anger over everyone within distance.

Right now, I make this public apology to my family because that is a lousy way to behave, so I really am sorry.

I used to fly through the housework when I was very angry, instead of understanding that I had a choice and that choice was to enjoy the work and the RESULTS of the housework.  My home clean, shining, neat, welcoming and me happy, or choose to be miserable and make everyone else miserable with me. Looking back, it was depressing.

More Emotional Reasoning

We do have a choice, even though we might think we don’t.  Using your feelings to make a decision is different from listening to your intuition, as there is often the “I don’t feel like…” or “I feel like…” and we know full well that it is wrong and against our best interests to follow through on those feelings.

What can you do instead?

Positive Thinking Strategy

Catch that sneaky little thought and expose it to the light and expose those feelings and say, “I’m letting go of this thought and behaviour now, because I know I will feel better after I have…. (insert your own desired actions)”

Laugh at the thought and the feelings, “oh, that old thought again! Ha Ha, I’m doing things differently now”; so it loses power over you and you have power and authority over yourself.  This may reduce feelings of depression, stress or anxiety as you increase your feelings of being in control.

You are worth it.

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