These last few weeks have been about being able to see and examine your thoughts in a meaningful way. With each step you have been learning to use the ABCD model of thought analysis. You can remember how to do this going forward by seeing each letter below for each step:
A. Activating Event
Being Able to Modify the Feedback Loop
Knowing that most beliefs become self-fulfilling is a huge understanding for most people to realize. When you think, "Success is all about self-sacrifice and hard work," that base belief ensures that you will indeed need to sacrifice things and work extra hard to achieve success. It's also equally true that if you hold the contradictory belief that, "Success is all about doing the minimum to get the greatest gains," that this will also be true for you. Your mind will find a way to ensure your belief is validated. In both of these cases, you are determining the experience around success that you want to have based on what you believe to be the truth.
You can also see this in the area of romance. When you have a bad date and add, "Ugh. I will never meet anyone I'm compatible with," into your beliefs, then your mind filters the world in a way to ensure that this belief will be validated. If you have the opposite response of, "Ugh. This was one bad experience. The world is full of men/women I'm compatible with," then your own mental filter stays open and your experience stays open to finding, meeting, and going out with people who are good matches for you.
Knowing this, it's important to work through those ABCD steps outlined above. When you see things that, when you put them into that self-fulfilling feedback loop, would actually begin to work against you, it's important to modify them in some way.
Choosing your next experience
Understanding how the feedback loop works means that you have the ability to choose your experiences and how you relate to the world. The next step after disputing your beliefs is then deciding how to frame your experience in a way that ensures a better long-term outcome.
In the romance example above, the healthy response didn't lay all the blame on the other person or on yourself. In fact, there was no need to make yourself good and the other person bad in the healthy/helpful example. The response was more about the acceptance that some things "just are."
It also didn't take the specific bad date experience and say that it applies to all future dates. Importantly, as well, the healthy and helpful belief created was seen as a temporary blip in the road and not part of a long term experience. There was no talk of always or never.
Go back and look again
If it's helpful, you may want to go back and redo your analysis from the previous Sundays with the understanding you now have about the process. For each belief, work through the process of determining a healthier and more helpful way to encode your response based on the consequences of putting it into the feedback loop. Determine what new belief (or way of phrasing your experience) in each area, when put into that self-fulfilling feedback loop, would be the most helpful in creating the future you most want.
Remember to ask yourself these key questions as you create a statement that is both healthy and helpful:
1. If the situation is negative, am I being too global with this belief? Can I see how this might just be specific to this situation?
2. If the situation is negative, how can I see it as only temporary and if it's positive, how can I see it as longer lasting? Have I used always or never when looking at a negative experience?
3. Am I making someone else wrong or bad in order for me to feel justified in my belief? How can I rephrase this in a way where I'm not making someone not okay for me to be okay?
4. Knowing that I may be creating a self-fulfilling cycle based on this belief, what would I like to create in these situations in the future? How can I phrase that?
This is just enough to start down the road. We will return to this in the future. For now, begin looking at this process to see how you can interpret the world in a way that brings you greater happiness in the long run. See your interpretations as choices and begin consciously phrasing and seeing things in a way that can bring you what you want in the future rather than shut down the possibilities of greater positive events.
Learn to consciously choose what you put into your feedback loop.
Sundays – Practice Skills and Activities
Daily skill practices and further information to help you grow in your meditation practice or increase your emotional intelligence skills.
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