Taking responsibility for your thoughts and emotions

Today I saw one of those ‘suggested posts’ on Facebook from a bunch called Corlight Programmes, dealing with the idea of thoughts and emotions. Let me quote it to you:

You are in charge! Yes, that’s right – YOU are in charge of your emotions. And in charge of your thoughts. If you are not happy with the bulk of thoughts and emotions that are swirling around in your head and your body (about 60,000 a day by some estimates!) then it is UP TO YOU to change that. Even Anxiety – an emotion driven by our number one driver – the Fear Response – can be changed, reduced or generally removed. Emotions are not something that ‘happens to us’; they are our own body reacting to stimuli in a particular way. That stimuli is often our thoughts.

But where do we start? It’s easy to say “I want to feel different”, or “be different”, but how do we DO that?

It has to begin with YOU deciding that you are willing to take responsibility for your thoughts, emotions and actions – from this moment on you are WILLING to learn – learn where they come from, learn which ones you actually want to keep, and learn which ones no longer serve you and you are willing to let go.

ll that’s left then is to learn the techniques and specific skills that allow you to do just that. But it all has to begin with the choice to be different, AND accepting responsibility for your life moving forward. This may sound like a no-brainer but many people are actually not willing to accept responsibility and will forever continue to blame something ‘outside’ for their current inner turmoil. However we feel we may have been hurt / damaged in the past; waiting for THOSE people to ‘fix’ us or ‘heal’ us …. well, I think you can see you’ll be waiting a long time.

So take responsibility for your own thoughts and emotions as a path of healing for yourself. Are you willing to take this first step?

This is a wonderful mix of great advice and utter tripe, depending on who the audience is. It is true that much of what we feel originates in our own heads, in the thoughts and reactions we have to the things that happen around us. We can even learn to change some of these thinking patterns and emotional responses through learning different techniques to deal with them. It can be life-changing.

Say this stuff to a mentally ill person and you can crush the hope out of them. To think that you are responsible for the horrors going on in your mind, for the anxiety and depression, even the hallucinations, is soul-destroying. The truth of the matter is, there are some illnesses that will not respond to any kind of positive thinking. Some people are actually too unwell to work with programmes like these, and telling those people that their illnesses can be “generally removed” if they are “willing to learn” is doing them a great disservice. It’s saying to them that they’re unwell because they’re not trying hard enough/the right way to get better. It’s another condemnation.

I hate these kind of ads. Passionately. They’re designed for people that have some issues, not people who are truly suffering with serious illnesses, yet they disproportionately affect the people with serious illnesses that see them. It’s another confirmation that your illness is your own fault, and that’s crushing.

Mental illness is not about responsibility for your own feelings and thoughts. It’s about acknowledging that actually, you’re not in control of them, and you need some combination of therapy (real therapy, not this bullshit) and medication to try and live a normal, fulfilling life. This responsibility tripe is not helping.

People like this don’t get mental illness, and they think they’re helping. They may be helping some people, but others are being dragged deeper into their mental prison by things like this.

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