To discover the prime cause of our emotions, all we have to do is acknowledge that when different people before a single event—for example, a movie—do not feel the same emotions, it is inevitably because they do not interpret the movie in the same way or, in other words, they do not think about the movie in like manner.
For example, while the hero of the movie presses his burning lips on those of the heroine—and that the soundtrack plays full blast—Mary thinks, “Bravo! He finally did it!” And she feels joyful. At the same time, Esther thinks, “What a bastard! He has bamboozled her so well!” And she is filled with anger and contempt. Meanwhile, Cheryl thinks, “That’s too bad! I would have loved so much to be in her shoes!” And she feels sad.
Needless to say we cannot logically affirm that this single movie scene makes one happy, another angry, and the other sad. In other words, the movie scene in itself doesn’t have the power to cause any emotion to any of the viewers. On the other hand, the movie scene provides Mary, Esther, and Cheryl with an opportunity to think and it is the thoughts they have in mind about that movie scene that cause them to feel joyful, angry, or sad.
So here is the prime cause of all our emotions—enjoyable or unenjoyable: the thoughts, ideas, and beliefs that arise in our mind about the various events of our lives.
That explains the reason why everyone does not feel the same emotions before a single event. In short, everyone simply does not think about that single event in the same way. And the reason why our own emotions change with time is also plain and simple: our thoughts, ideas, and beliefs about that single event change as well.
Nearly 2,000 years ago, the Greek Stoic philosopher, Epictetus, stated it that way: “Men are disturbed not by things that happen, but by their opinions of the things that happen.”
Now this finding leads to serious consequences with regard to our self-destructive procrastinating behavior. In fact, as we have already seen together, procrastination is first and foremost the result of the presence of various emotions in ourselves. And, as we now know, our emotions are caused by the thoughts, ideas, and beliefs that we have in mind and that we adhere to.
Consequently, it logically follows that if we want to get rid of our self-defeating habit of putting things off, we will necessarily have to change the emotions that lead us to procrastinate. And the way for us to achieve that is by changing the thoughts, ideas, and beliefs that cause us to feel these same emotions.
We already know that it is possible for us human beings to change our thoughts, ideas, and beliefs—at least, on certain topics. As a matter of fact, we have done so since our early childhood. For example, nobody thinks in the same way at 40 years old than he did at six or ten years old—at least, not in all areas.
But if, on top of that, we came to realize that some of the ideas that hamper our action are false or overdone, wouldn’t it be easier for us to work at breaking these thinking habits in order to change the emotions that lead us to procrastinate?
© Chantal Beaupre 2011
The Master Code to Happiness and Emotional Wellness: Discover your emotions and everything you need to know to raise your level of happiness and improve the quality of your life with this comprehensive audio program by Chantal Beaupre.
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