Just as my thoughts determine my feelings, what I dwell on (focus on; keep thinking; ponder) also determines my feelings. Thoughts and focus are the same ideas and I control the feelings of each. Here’s the formula:
- Think a thought –> Dwell on it (focus) –> Feel
Here are two examples:
- It’s not fair –> Dwell on how much it sucks (sadness) –> Feel sad
- It’s not fair –> Pep talk: It’s out of my control so let it go –> Dwell on good things –> Feel good
Thoughts randomly pop into my mind. When King Benjamin said watch your thoughts I think he meant, “Watch what you dwell on because it determines your feelings.” When my thoughts aren’t good I can stop and give myself a pep talk, or tell myself the truth, and shift my thinking to dwell on what makes me feel good.
Currently MS makes me super tired and my bed is uncomfortable so I sleep in the living room in my recliner. Today, I went into my bedroom and while walking by my bed the following random thought popped into my mind, “If the situation were different I would love sleeping in my bed.”
My mind’s eye saw me dwelling on thoughts of wishing for sleeping in my bed and how happy I’d feel and then feeling sad because I don’t sleep there. Then I saw myself giving me a pep talk: “It’s not reality so why think about what will make me feel sad?” and refocusing on good thoughts: “It’s okay, at least I sleep in a comfy chair and feel good every morning”; “If the Lord wants me to do it then I’ll do it and prove to myself that I’m strong!”; “The important thing is enduring”; “I can do it!”
I pumped myself up with good thoughts and as I sit here in my chair (which I do for many hours every day) I feel good.
I have the choice of what to dwell on and my resulting feelings are because of my choices. No one makes me feel anything. (They might say what causes feelings in me but I’m the one who decides to dwell on it and keep feeling that way or let it go and refocus.) I’m in charge of me, not my feelings.