Will changing my thinking and feeling or my actions help me more? I know this sounds like a case of which came first, the chicken or the egg. We know that thoughts create feelings, which in turn create actions. We can allow our feelings or intuition to be a guide. We can act out based on our feelings. However, we can also choose to act or not act regardless of our feelings. In other words, sometime we might need to do what's "best" or "right" for us, even if we don't feel like it and we override those feelings.
Just take food or sex. I want to eat the entire chocolate cake because I love chocolate cake but on some level, I know it's bad for my diet, so I don't give in, even though I'm salivating like Pavlov's dog. I am thinking about having sex with the hot blonde in the office and my brain chemicals, which are triggered, are telling me go for it, so I really am feeling it. Following your heart or feelings in this way could lead you into trouble or at least into temptation. I wasn't thinking about cake or a blonde, I was thinking about my goals on the challenge and just wanting in general. Is it OK to want? Are there certain things that are good to want and other things that are bad for us?
We can put our head and heart together in order to be in alignment with our deeper desires and values and choose to act accordingly. By changing our actions this way are we leading our heart towards our truth and our authentic hearts desire like being healthy, staying married, being a person of integrity and honesty, living our purpose or even achieving a goal?.
What happens if we give in or act impulsively? What if we rationalize and change our thinking to convince ourselves it's OK? We only live once. This will be my last time. No one will find out. I'll keep it a secret. On some level it was meant to be. Everything happens for a reason. Can that bring us shame, guilt, loss, self-sabatoge or perhaps a true desire not realized.
Is it even always possible to change our thinking? I'm not Buddha and I can't seem to turn off my thoughts or feelings with a click of a button, even if I want to sometimes. Can we instantly rationalize our feelings into a beneficial state of acceptance, as well? Even with affirmations (auto suggestion) and practice it can take years. So, should we "act as if" our feelings or thoughts are allready changed in order to get what we want? Can that bring us fulfillment, happiness, love or our heart's desire?
Is there a time or place to change our thinking versus our actions? Does our decision have more to do with instant gratification or long term values and desires? Is it about acceptance of where we are or wanting what we don't yet have?
Dr. Ed Diener, a leading researcher on happiness, says both action and attitude are important factors in happiness and that our values influence our happiness. In general people who care about other people, are connected, have goals and cultivate virtues for a higher purpose other than just personal fulfillment are happier than those who value money, power, looks or fame.
But what about chocolate cake?