Nov. 2020: Relationships
Starting September 2020, I will be writing a series about a different monthly theme. The goal is to walk you through a weekly process to help alleviate concerns surrounding the topic of the month. November’s theme is relationships, and this week you will discover how your thoughts impact relationships in your life.
Thoughts Fuel your Actions
In Part II, you learned that people do not exist to satisfy your wants and needs. You learned that life includes not getting what you always want. And most importantly, you learned that when you want others to change, it changes you, not them.
What does that really mean? Imagine a professor who tends to be conservative when grading. This professor, in your opinion, could have given you more points for your efforts on an exam. You clearly see where you could have, and should have, received additional points. In fact, you think this professor needs to adjust their grading habits altogether.
In this example, you believe a certain thought: “This professor grades too harshly and should give students more credit.” You convince yourself this is true to the point where you don’t realize it’s a thought anymore; you believe it is an undeniable truth.
Based on this undeniable truth, you decide you’d rather not visit this professor during office hours. You decide this professor is not worth your time, and you don’t email for help. In addition, due to your belief that this professor grades too harshly, you are going to avoid future courses with him/her.
Consequences of Thoughts
What is happening to your relationship due to these actions? It is as though you are cutting communications off with this professor. You avoid contact while feeling the frustration of their grading method. Why? It started with the belief that the professor grades too harshly. Your thoughts impact relationships. In the above example, you can see how your thought in this case caused negative consequences.
Thoughts and beliefs fuel your actions. Behaviors and actions you take are directly due to what is going on inside your head. You don’t randomly do things (or not do things) just because; the reason we do all things in life starts with the way we are thinking.
Since your thoughts and beliefs lead to your actions, it is important to know what you are thinking! It is a great habit to be in touch with what you are thinking and why. It could start as a slow process if you are not used to stopping to think about “What am I thinking, and why?”
But, this is one of the most important self-help exercises you can do, especially if you want better relationships. You will always act in ways that are based on your thoughts, and your acts will determine the quality of your relationships. Your thoughts impact relationships, which leads to Helpful Hint #3.
Helpful Hint #3 Your relationship with others starts with your thoughts about them.