Thoughts and Feelings

First, ask yourself if there is the difference between thoughts and feelings. Well, there is a distinction between feelings and thoughts. These are not the same. Thoughts and feelings happen in different parts of the brain. The thinking portion is activated when we perceive something or receive information from the environment. This could be seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, or touching something. Then, depending on our thought or interpretation of what we sensed, about a 1/100 of a second later, the feeling portion of the brain is activated. Our feeling is based on what we think or how we interpret what we perceived. 1/100 is not a lot of time, but it can make a vast difference in what we do with our feeling. If we misinterpret what is being sent to us, what we sensed, our feeling will not match the intended message.

Our thought is the interpretation of anything we perceive. This is when we add meaning to our perceptions. If we see something long and slender on the ground, it could be a stick or a snake. We don’t know what our feeling will be until our brain tells us what he have seen. If we interpret the input as a stick, not much happens in the feeling department. If we interpret the input as a snake, we will likely have some kind of fear or startle response. To keep this simple, our thoughts will trigger our feelings which are emotions. We have four basic feelings: mad, sad, glad, and scared. You can usually cram what you are feeling into one of those categories.

Some people will argue that thoughts and feelings are the same. These people will glue together thoughts and feelings to become one thing. They say things like: “I feel that you’re wrong.” “I feel that you’re a jerk.” When people say this, they are really talking about a thought or an evaluation/interpretation of something, not a feeling. But still some insist it is a feeling. “I feel that he cheated on me” and they emphasize the word ‘feel’ trying to make their statement truer. When this happens there is less of a chance of changing their conclusion.

The definition of the word is important. A thought is a thought and a feeling is a feeling. This is important because when you put thoughts and feelings together, they become one strongly held belief. This belief is almost impossible to change and you are locked into only that one credence. You become 100% convinced in your ‘truth’ that someone cheated on you. This perception/belief about the person who you believe was unfaithful will forever remain negative. You will forever evaluate that person in a negative manner no matter what they do in the future. The only thing you will see is their flaws. And we all have many flaws.

When you believe 100% that your spouse has cheated, no change in your perception is possible. This becomes a real problem if you ever enter counseling because talking therapy is about making a change you want to make. Thus, your spouse must admit to something they did not do and have to forever try to make up for it. They will always be one-down.

Of course, because all humans are flawed and make errors in judgment and do bad things, all of us will do something that will be similar to the behavior you interpreted as cheating, like talking too long to a waitress at a restaurant. Then that becomes more evidence of cheating and your belief about the cheating will become stronger. You will only see evidence to support what you already believe. You will not notice any positives, like acts of love and the relationship will become worse. At least for therapy the distinction between thoughts and feelings needs to made. You can change a thought or interpretation with evidence.

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