THE THREE COMPONENTS
Event --> Interpretation --> Thought/belief --> Emotion --> Decision --> Behavior
Not these sequences:
Animal: Event --> Action
Just non-thinking: Event --> Emotion --> Action [Emotions are not caused by events.]
We get the inputs and learn from
- Parents, friends, culture + Own conclusions, thinking + Other inputs = Total learned
- We cannot know more than the sum of the inputs that we actually receive. It is impossible to do that. We also do not know what we do not know - and we can't be expected to, nor fault ourselves for not doing an impossibility (i.e. to know more than we know at that one instant in time). Nor do we need to fault others for that. The solution always lies in getting more (correct) inputs in order to increase our knowing.
Viewing point 1: No one can do better than the level of what he/she knows to do.
Viewing point 2: What he she knows at any moment is limited, so he/she will not know
certain things --> Make errors, fail, etc., if not know sufficient info
Viewing point 3: The person is not at fault. The lack of knowledge is the cause of not
doing what is right (what works)
Results are the test (aka "workability")
Learn some wrong things --> Wrong results
Learn some right things --> Right results
Sufficient knowing/knowledge will get the right results (usually)
Insufficient knowing/knowledge is indicated by having gotten wrong result. (Duh!)
Get wrong result = must have insufficient knowing
"I know I should lose weight and I know I have to eat less calories than I expend. If I don't do this, then there is something I don't know about motivation or facts - I have insufficient knowing of all of what it takes to actually lose weight. Therefore, I must learn more."
Your beliefs are the vital connector and causer of how you feel and what you do. If you feel bad, then your belief is erroneous and must be corrected to a "workable" belief that leads to the better results - one that is actually true.
Correct your "knowing", then you'll change your emotion and your behavior, for then you'll have correct beliefs/thoughts that are healthy - and then your emotions will be healthy and positive. ["Affirming" is insufficient!] All healthy beliefs are true and workable to get the desired results.
#4. Fear and fear-derived emotions --> Cause most unhappiness, prevent happiness
95+% of all fears are needless, useless, and based on false beliefs and can be eliminated. (See
DISCUSSION FOR THOSE WHO WISH FURTHER CLARIFICATION
THOUGHTS CAUSE EMOTIONS - ESSENTIAL KNOWLEDGE
In The Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People, by Stephen Covey, it is pointed out that without this understanding you cannot be effective in life. The ignorant view is that people and/or events are what causes one's reactions and emotions - that people and/or events essentially control our lives - and if we believe the falsehood that cause is outside of us, we will tend to become passive and see ourselves as mere victims of people/events, tossed around by the seas and storms in life with no ability to steer the ship and go to the desired destinations.
Indeed, the proof that "what happens" does not cause our emotions (and behaviors) lies simply in the fact that different people will react differently to the exact same situation. Therefore, it must be something in those people that is different and that different something is what creates a different reaction. (Now, for this illustration, I will eliminate all people who have physicality that is out of the norm, so that we will not have to argue about the effects of that.) That something that is different is their thoughts/perceptions. For instance, I see no threat in any social situation, yet others 'see' a threat, so they feel fear and then create symptoms in their body and may even impair their ability to perform.
If we used the process of learning to learn one thought/belief that causes a bad reaction, certainly we can use the same process to learn a new thought/belief that causes a good reaction! (You must understand this one key point in order to proceed to have a good life, for all your psychology pivots on this understanding.)
Once you thoroughly understand and accept this, you'll no longer be tritely repeating "surface knowledge" that most of us will repeat: "our lives are determined by what's inside us." That statement is true, but the understanding of why and how is essential to the process that will lead us to a much better life.
We are not animals, with an instinctual "stimulus --> response" process. We are humans, with thought and intelligence and the ability to determine our thoughts/beliefs and thereby master our lives. We do "stimulus-->belief --> response". Or in the most successful psychological method of all time, it is "abc" - which is A. Activating event --> B. Belief --> C. Consequence or A. Perception --> B. Evaluating thought --> C. Emotion. You would use those in the Rational Analysis form. See also the piece The Causal Chain For Behaviors.
NO BLAME, NO FAULT, NO CRITICISM
One of the most preposterous beliefs, from a higher perspective, is that blame, fault, and/or criticism (the "make wrong" type) is a practice to engage in at all. But humans do it lots and lots. With much damage to themselves and others.
You should be able to, though sometimes slipping and catching yourself, operate in life with no self-criticism, without making yourself wrong for having simply done what you do not know better how to do (or not to do).
Imagine the emotional energy that would be freed up if you did not criticize, fault, or blame yourself and others! That one thing would "up" the quality of your life enormously!
Imagine if your world had no "assholes" in it, no incompetents, no jerks, no "others should be different or better." Believe it or not, assholism is in the eyes of the beholder (actually in the ignorant thoughts of the beholder), where we somehow think that having those thoughts will cause a desirable result in our world or get us something - this is an unexamined and untrue belief. This is naive at best and very, very damaging at worst, not just on others but on yourself.
This is one of the most fundamental lessons you can learn in life toward 'living in' healthy personal psychology and eliminating suffering in your life.
CHANGE YOUR BELIEFS, CHANGE YOUR LIFE
The above assertion (in the title above) should be self-evident if you accept #1 above, since your emotions will be better as will be your behavior if you have better thoughts!
Kinda simple, but quite a few people deny that, attributing their reactions to something "out there", some body reaction, some unconscious thinking, or some thing that they are the victim of.
(Here I use victim as "one who holds oneself as not being at cause in situations and attributing their situation, emotions, and actions to others having caused them, rather than taking responsibility for doing what one can to bring about the results one wants". A victim of others or of circumstances blames those for one's situation, emotions and actions. See piece on Victimhood.) Not recognizing this is the equivalent of "magical thinking", which we believe in normally until age 8, where we think something magically happens to us. But sound thinking suggests that everything has a cause and a sequence and there is no effect without a cause. You MUST understand the basic Law Of Cause And Effect - and the reverse of it: if there is an effect, there must be a cause - and those causes are almost always identifiable. When you solve the cause, you no longer have to keep dealing with the effects (symptoms) - and life gets easier. IT IS ALWAYS "CONTEXT", NOT "CONTENT" - "GROK" THIS
We seem to perpetually return to the idea that it is the "content" of our lives that determines our happiness and what we do. We are often reminded that "happiness comes from inside us", but we forget that or we don't quite believe it. But it is scientifically proven that we can be happy above a rather low "contents" threshold and that it is "context" (viewingpoint, perspective) that creates our happiness.
When we move from a context of "I'll not be happy until I am good enough" (which is BS) to "I'll be happy trying to have a good life" The first is an "unwinnable game" and the latter is very, very attainable (i.e. winnable!).
OK..., WHAT DO I DO NOW?
Read the citations above, and any links to deeper understanding, until you grok the subject.
For what to read and do, follow the links in the box at the upper right. I would recommend that you spend no less than an average of 1/2 hour a day, but preferably 1 hour a day. This is your life and the above are the essentials of what it takes to live a good, happy life.
You haven't "finished" until you have a set of beliefs (viewing points) that are effective, workable, correct, and true, as indicated by your being very happy and free in life. Wherever you are playing the victim role, stop and replace that with beliefs that are at the 100% responsibility level, where you are living as The Rational Nurturing Adult.
Remember that all learning happens in "levels", where the first time around you learn "101", then you learn "201" as you come back around to learn the same thing at a higher level, then "301". As you go up the levels, life and results get better - you don't need to wait for "enlightenment" to experience life at a higher level. It occurs at each level, where each level more than pays for itself in benefits. And then you reach a point of mastery, at which you can live a happy life.
A funny thing happens after you have gained mastery: you tend to keep learning more, and life, though already very good, just gets better and better - where we are living life as it was intended!
Just "do the work", and even before you've even gotten to the implementation stage you increased understanding levels will make life better, naturally and gradually. A great life is easily attainable (and you'll decide anew what a great life actually is).