I Think, Therefore I Am…I Think…Can You Control Your Thoughts? W/Bonus Analysis Paralysis

Have you ever heard that you can somewhat easily choose to be happy by simply switching all your thoughts from unhappy, to happy? Sure, that sounds fantastic, but unfortunately, it’s not that simple, and there’s plenty of data that shows that for some, it can make matters worse! Within the day, or the hour, or even the minute, chances are your thoughts have been all over the map. Happy, sad, angry, funny, scary, manipulative, inappropriate, these are just a few of the many thoughts that somewhat magically appear in the theater of the brain. For some reason, we let our thoughts often dictate our moods, as well as our actions, when in reality all they are are thoughts…just images, and words, that can bring a slew of emotions along with them. Plus Tony discusses “analysis paralysis” from the article “Analysis Paralysis: When Thinking Too Much Blocks You” by Jennifer Delgado https://psychology-spot.com/analysis-paralysis/

This episode of The Virtual Couch is sponsored by http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch With the continuing “sheltering” rules that are spreading across the country PLEASE do not think that you can’t continue or begin therapy now. http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch can put you quickly in touch with licensed mental health professionals who can meet through text, email, or videoconference often as soon as 24-48 hours. And if you use the link http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch you will receive 10% off your first month of services. Please make your own mental health a priority, http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch offers affordable counseling, and they even have sliding scale options if your budget is tight.

Tony also mentioned his appearances this week on two podcasts, The Betrayed, The Addicted and The Expert with hosts Ashlyn and Coby, and Virtual Couch former guest Brannon Patrick where we discuss narcissism in detail and the challenges people face in relationships with narcissistic individuals https://www.betrayedaddictedexpert.com/podcast/episode/25d19bf1/is-narcissism-nature-or-nurture and The Millennial Member Podcast hosted by Emily Ensign where we discuss the topic of pornography, what helps with recovery, and what doesn’t https://www.buzzsprout.com/1072564/6209683-tony-overbay-pornography-and-recovery

Tony mentioned a product that he used to take out all of the “uh’s” and “um’s” that, in his words, “must be created by wizards and magic!” because it’s that good! To learn more about Descript click here https://descript.com?lmref=v95myQ

Please subscribe to The Virtual Couch YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/c/TheVirtualCouchPodcast/ and sign up at http://tonyoverbay.comto learn more about Tony’s upcoming “Magnetic Marriage” program!

Tony’s FREE parenting course, “Tips For Parenting Positively Even In the Not So Positive Times” is available NOW. Just go to https://www.tonyoverbay.com/courses-2/ and sign up today. This course will help you understand why it can be so difficult to communicate with and understand your children. You’ll learn how to keep your buttons hidden, how to genuinely give praise that will truly build inner wealth in your child, teen, or even in your adult children, and you’ll learn how to move from being “the punisher” to being someone your children will want to go to when they need help.

Tony’s new best-selling book “He’s a Porn Addict…Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions” is now available on Kindle. https://amzn.to/38mauBo

Tony Overbay, is the co-author of “He’s a Porn Addict…Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions” now available on Amazon https://amzn.to/33fk0U4. The book debuted in the number 1 spot in the Sexual Health Recovery category and remains there as the time of this record. The book has received numerous positive reviews from professionals in the mental health and recovery fields.

You can learn more about Tony’s pornography recovery program The Path Back by visiting http://pathbackrecovery.com And visit http://tonyoverbay.com and sign up to receive updates on upcoming programs, and podcasts.

TRANSCRIPT:


[00:00:00] Coming up on today’s episode of The Virtual Couch, we’re going to be talking about thoughts, positive, negative.

[00:00:06] We all have them. Can we control them? Does it help to try to control them? And what about all those posts you see on social media from people who say that they can control their thoughts? So why can’t you? So what do you think? And right now, finally, somebody that knows my struggle or this guy just needs to think happier thoughts. We’re going to cover all of that coming up on this episode of The Virtual Couch.

[00:00:40] Come on, take a seat.

[00:00:47] Hey, everybody, welcome to Episode 232 of The Virtual Couch. I am your host, Tony Overbay. I’m a licensed marriage and family therapist, certified mindful habit coach, writer, speaker, husband, father of four, ultramarathon runner and creator of the Path Back 2.0, a online pornography recovery program that is helping people reclaim their lives from the harmful effects of pornography. If you are anybody that you know is struggling to put pornography behind them once and for all, and trust me, it can be done in a strength based hold the shame, become the person you’ve always wanted to be kind of way, then head over to Path Bakary to recovery. It’s actually recovery path back recovery dotcom. There you can download a copy of the book Five Myths People Fall For When Trying to overcome pornography and the Pat Back 2.0. It’s big. It’s now complete with a forum where people can share success stories, the latest research and data, and find accountability partners, as well as participate in a weekly group call hosted by Yours Truly, which has been so much fun, though the community that we’re building there where I answer any and all questions about how to put turning to pornography as a coping mechanism once and for all behind you. Again, that’s path back recovery dotcom. And you’ll find me on Instagram, a virtual couch, and there’s videos on YouTube and my free parenting course and how to sign up and learn more about my upcoming magnetic marriage course. All that can be found at Tony Overbay dot com. So head there and sign up and click and do all the things and I will be forever grateful for you doing that.

[00:02:09] OK, so this is not an exaggeration, but I am I’m very excited to talk about today’s topic and I think we’re going to get through this quick. I’ll make this I’ll make this short and sweet, but I think it’s going to be powerful. One of the most asked questions I get or one of the things that people bring up in my office is truly the concept of positive thoughts, thinking positive and what to do with negative thoughts and more specifically, people saying what is wrong with me for having negative thoughts or how about those emotions? Am I right? So I had someone just a couple of days ago describe what I believe is so typical and it’s so normal, but they were so distraught. So this person had been feeling down really, really down to the point of where. And a lot of times people don’t necessarily come in and say that they are having those suicidal thoughts or suicidal ideations. But I call it the getting hit by a meteor theory where at times they just think, you know, if I walk out of your office and a meteor hits me, I’d be all right with that. And it breaks my heart, of course, to hear somebody that has gotten to that point. So they they were that distraught and feeling that far down. And so as we started talking, we laid out what’s going on in their life. And just want to start by saying, covid anybody, worldwide lockdown’s quarantine.

[00:03:23] This is somebody who had not only was a people person, but who had to be a people person to survive based on all their experiences growing up. That was what they did. That was who they were. They are who they are. So somebody who’s exercise routine was not something that was done solo. It was done around people or their job was talking to people face to face their faith, which is something incredibly important to them. So worshipping in person was how they recharge their batteries. And yet they came to my office feeling down and depressed and anxious and frozen and wondering what is wrong with them? Why can’t they just rally? Why can’t they simply pull that energy that they had that they had pre pandemic and get out there and zoom the heck out of people? And why wasn’t doing some burping and jumping jacks and writing an old stationary bike in the garage, not doing it for him? And why couldn’t they just be grateful? What the heck was wrong with them? And so I therapy and I empathy. And I validated and I listened and I expressed concern and I sighed in the right places and during the appropriate times and on the inside I was just dying to just grab them and shake them after applying hand sanitizer. Good. I’m not a complete barbarian and just say, you know what you just laid out in front of me. Of course, you are going to feel the way you do because you’re you and you just laid that out.

[00:04:44] You laid out that because of everything that you’ve been through in your life, if you didn’t feel that way, that would be odd. So when you pull up Instagram or Facebook or when you have a friend who sends you a motivational talk or a phrase or a quote, of course you’re going to want to hit reply. And, you know, if you’re having one of these moments where you’re feeling all these things and feelings and emotions and you may want to share with them exactly where you feel that quote would best be placed for the time being granted, you don’t actually do that. You might type it out, but then delete, which actually reminds me of a very quick, funny story. Back in my software days, somebody in the company I worked for had their office upstairs. I was downstairs and one time we all heard the hard pounding of footsteps across the floor upstairs and the door was thrown open and this person just made a beeline down the metal stairs outside. You could just hear the clanging and the downstairs door open and slammed and then a guttural yell of “agghhhhh”. And later we learned that. This particular person, and I’ll give them credit, this is back in the 90s, so seriously, email was kind of a new thing. We had one company email account and then we will get pretty jazzed when Someone would email us so the email would get copied then from there to me and I think an engineer and a couple of other people in management.

[00:05:53] So one of the people in management had hit reply thinking that he was emailing the rest of us in the company and he was cracking wise on the email that we just received from our largest customer. And while what he meant to say to us, which I found out later, would have been pretty funny, it was not going to be taken funny by the customer. So after this person had then realized that they didn’t it didn’t go to the people within the company, he ran down to it guy and wanted him to pull the plug on the entire building and hopes that this email that literally had traveled instantly to this customer might have decided to take a pit stop in the network somewhere before heading out of the building. So we never quite had as good of a relationship with that customer moving forward. But go figure. But back to todays topic that truly was a tool. I took you on a train of thought there, but it’s those those pesky negative thoughts and those feelings and those emotions. So the question that I get asked constantly is, can you choose your feelings? Can you control your thoughts? And can you simply think positive, happy thoughts and live happily ever after? And let me go back to the story that I laid out of this individual. What happened with that individual? Well, we again, we acknowledged he owned up to these thoughts and these feelings and emotions.

[00:07:02] We, again, acknowledge that based on all the things that were going on in this person’s life, in the way that they lived their best life and their values that they had, that they lived by their senses of being and doing, of being a people person, of being connected with others, of of getting themselves out there in the wild and talking to people that based on all of those things that, again, of course, it made sense why they were struggling the way that they were. But then they still had these value based goals of providing for family or connection with other people. And so we plugged that into the acceptance and commitment therapy framework, which then said if they are truly going to follow and go and strive for these value based goals, that they have just connection with other people, then the the story that their brain was trying to hook them on of the fact that they just didn’t feel like doing it became somewhat irrelevant. I mean, we acknowledged it, but but it’s of course, you’re going to feel like you don’t want to do it based on all those things that you just laid out. And so we’re not even arguing if you want to do it or if you don’t want to do it. But is that a productive or a workable thought toward your value goal of connection? No. So then we learn some diffusion skills and learned how to invite those feelings of not wanting to go connect with somebody the way that he has to connect right now.

[00:08:14] He invited those feelings and emotions to come along with him while he went and connected with somebody the way that he could connect with somebody now. So and we’ll see how that goes. But I mean, that is the way to work that scenario, not the what’s wrong with me? Why am I thinking this? I’m so broken. So I am going to sound a tiny bit condescending and I don’t want to because I am being one hundred percent sincere, that honestly, if you if you can if you can wake up and choose to be happy and think happy, positive thoughts and it works all day and you don’t get down or frustrated or ever wonder what’s wrong with me or why can’t I be more grateful for what I have or why can’t I pull off what I did yesterday or last week or last year? You know, why do I feel stuck or why can everybody else figure life out but not me? Or why do people that are showing up in my feed or why did the people that I watch in their stories seem to have a challenge? But then by the end of the story or in a later picture, in that same post, they resolve everything and they live happily ever after again. If you haven’t thought any of these things or don’t know what I’m talking about, then I’m being 100 percent honestly absolutely sincere.

[00:09:19] That that is awesome. And I’m grateful that you found tools in your bag of life that work. And I want you to keep it up. I really do. But if you’ve had those moments where you decide that today is the day and I’m going to be happy and I’m choosing happiness over misery and my glass is going to be half full, is perfect. It’s full, it’s spilling over. And you give me a mental napkin so I can clean this table of life from all of this goodness that’s making a puddle. And then within a few minutes or a few hours or even a few seconds, your your dog pees on the couch. And I wish I was saying that hypothetically, man, I love my fourteen year old Yorkie to death, but I think it’s time to maybe invest in a dog diaper, again a digression, but something happens to frustrate you or maybe you don’t even know what just happened. But all of a sudden you’re feeling down or you’re feeling the blaws or the blues. Then let’s talk because I have data, tons of data and I have a few thousand people that I’ve sat across from who tell me that exact same story. It’s Tuesday of this week when I’m recording and I’ve already had this conversation with a couple of clients.

[00:10:22] And nothing is wrong with you. You’re human, but you can learn to change the relationship that you have with your thoughts and your feelings. You can learn to acknowledge them, accept them, study them, see them, and you can learn to make room, expand, expansion. You can bring them. Along with you, while you do something of value for you, while you do something of importance that will help you move the ball forward, and sometimes just moving that ball a little bit forward is what can get you out of that funk that can descend upon you like something that quickly descends upon you. OK, so I have a quiz for you. But first, a quick break to talk about. Betterhelp.com.

[00:11:03] Recently, I received a funny email. This is a true story. I said, Hey, Tony, I love the podcast, especially the free therapy. But your podcast has led me to want to seek out my own therapy. And in this time of worldwide chaos and pandemic, I thought it only made sense to go through betterhelp.com. But I no longer hear your betterhelp.com ads. Did you guys break up? OK, so this is a funny one. No, we did not break up. We aren’t seeing other people right now, although admittedly, whenever I do hear a betterhelp.com ad on another podcast, I do think weight doesn’t betterhelp.com still care about me. And yes, they do. You can still go to better help dotcom virtual couch and get 10 percent off of your first month’s worth of services. And yes, doing so will help take care of some behind the scenes cost to produce and host the Virtual Couch podcast. So why haven’t I been running better help that virtual couch ads you may ask. And here’s why I love being an honest, raw, vulnerable therapist. Key the dramatic music can’t we don’t actually have that worked into the budget, but I get giddy recording and getting these podcasts out the door and sometimes I forget to pop an ad in for betterhelp.com less virtual couch. Forget as in it has been many, many episodes, but they are still offering real one on one therapy with a licensed therapist and betterhelp.com’s

[00:12:13] network of therapists continues to grow and you can find help for everything from anxiety, depression, OCD, as well as grief and loss, help with parenting challenges. And while it can honestly be darn near impossible to get in with an in-person therapist right now because, a, the stigma behind therapy is finally softening. So people are running to therapy as well as be there’s a lot going on in the world and people need help but betterhelp.coms, virtual couch can have you speaking or texting or emailing with a therapist, sometimes within 24 to 48 hours. So what are you waiting for? They make it easy to change therapist if you don’t like the fit. So go to betterhelp.com/virtualcouch today and join now the over one million others who have decided that they need to be their best selves in order to deal with all that life is throwing their way. Trust me, life is throwing us a lot. So you owe it to yourself, your family, your kids, your spouse, your pets, you name it. To be at the very least, take a look at what you can do to put you in a position to succeed in life. So go to betterhelp.com/virtualcouch today and receive ten percent off your first month services. OK, lets virtual couch, shall we?

[00:13:18] Let me give you a quiz. And I really I think I did this in an episode long, long ago. This is from the Russ Harris book, The Confidence Gap. And I am going to read a little bit here. True or false, he says, ready for a little quiz, please answer True or false to each of the following statements. Number one, Albert Einstein was a below average school student. Number two, you use only ten percent of your brain in. These are true or false. Number three, positive self statements such as I will succeed or I am lovable are a good way to boost low self-esteem. So Rustler’s goes on to say, most people answer true for most or all of these statements. And this is only to be expected. After all, countless books and TV programs and articles on self-improvement tell you these things as if they were hard facts. They tell you that Einstein did poorly at school because the message would be if Einstein could go on to such greatness despite his early failures, then so can you or they tell you that you use just ten percent of your brain. So the message here that imagine what you could achieve if you used all of your brain, or they tell you that positive self statements will give you high self-esteem and the message that it’s easy to eliminate negative self talk. And so, as you may have already guessed from my tone, all of these widely known, frequently quoted air quotes, facts are actually false. So, yes, Einstein did do poorly in French in his early teens, but overall, he was a good student, excelling in math and physics and his marks in all subjects averaged more than 80 percent in his final year at school.

[00:14:41] And as we’re only using 10 percent of your brain, Russ Harris says this idea started in the early nineteen hundreds, but has been popularized in the past 50 years. Yet despite the fact that thousands of self development programs quote this fact, you will never see one shred of hard scientific evidence that supports it. And that’s because it’s Russ’s words. It is complete and utter nonsense. Scientists have studied the brain extensively in a myriad of different ways, from MRI and PET scans to examination under a microscope. And guess what? They have never located one single part of the brain that is redundant. Every part of it serves a function and you use one hundred percent of your brain every day. If a stroke or tumor or disease or injury destroys even a tiny percentage of the brain, then this usually results in a significant disability. And so what about those positive affirmations? Chances are that you’ve read are you’ve been told that you’re experiencing self-doubt or low self-esteem, Or generally lacking confidence in yourself, then the solution is to think positive things about yourself over and over until you believe them. So have you tried doing this? And again, if it has worked for you, then that is amazing and fantastic.

[00:15:53] And I do use positive self talk. There are certain times where I think it works well. I’ve done that with ultramarathons. I’ve envisioned courses. I’ve done that when I’m at mile 75 and I’m tired and it’s, you know, the middle of the night or I’m like you, you’ve got this, you can do this now my brain will still say, no, you don’t and no you can’t. But there are times where I can get in a little flow or rhythm where that is working. So again, back to Russ Harris’s. Have you ever tried doing this? And if so, did it work for you or did you find that it just caused your mind to get into an argument with yourself? And remember, this is me jumping in here, psychological reactance, the instant negative reaction of being told what to do. It’s innate. It’s born within us and it works even in our own brain. So when we tell ourselves, do not think of a white polar bear, we our brain says, I will think of whatever I want. Here is the white polar bear.

[00:16:42] So while motivational speakers and self-help gurus love to espouse the benefits of positive affirmations and and I love how Ross says this and the concept certainly appeals to common sense, but there isn’t scientific evidence to show that it works. In fact, he says, science suggests the very opposite. In 2009, a team of Canadian psychologist Joanne Wood and John Lee from the University of Waterloo and WQ Elaine Perovic from the University of New Brunswick, published a groundbreaking study in Psychological Science magazine, which is rated among the top 10 psychology journals in the world, and their study entitled “Positive Self Statements Power for Some, Peril for Others” made world headlines. Why? Because it showed that people with low self-esteem actually feel worse after repeating positive self statements such as I am lovable or I will succeed. Now, when I’ve talked about this in the past, I think that I went right over that part that says people with low self-esteem so people with low self-esteem actually feel worse after repeating these positive self statements. So there is room there that if someone is overly confident and they are saying these positive self talk, self messages and motivational quotes, then that works and it works consistently, then go with it. Do I have some positive things on my mirror at home? Absolutely. I’m not saying that I feel like, oh, you should not have anything positive around you. You it’s a great idea, but it’s when those things don’t work or when those things cause you to feel less than, that

[00:18:07] We really need to take a look at it. So going back to the study in Psychological Science magazine said, rather than being helpful, these positive thoughts typically triggered a strong negative reaction and a resultant low mood. For example, if a participant with low self-esteem said to herself, excuse me, I am a lovable person, her mind would answer back, No, you’re not. And then run through all the lists of ways in which she was not lovable. Not surprisingly, this would make her feel even worse than before. Now, on the other hand, when these participants were told it was OK to have negative thoughts about themselves, their moods lifted. So excuse me, what does this all have to do with confidence? Well, the connection can be a bit oblique, but it does demonstrate the fact that he says we’re all full of it. So he says hopefully you’re starting to see that we all walk around with their heads full of inaccurate and misleading information. And he says confession. I, too, once believed all of the above myths, as did I, the 10 percent of the brain. I had an incredible conversation with somebody once an old business partner, about what are we going to do with the other 90 percent of our brain, you know, must be saved for the next life or those kind of things, or the Albert Einstein part or especially the positive affirmations.

[00:19:14] So he said we are all too ready to believe all sorts of seemingly common sense ideas without stopping to question their origin or their validity. And this is especially so in the realm of pop psychology. It’s important to keep this in mind because if we hold on tightly to these ideas, they can create all sorts of problems for us. And as Mark Twain put it best, “it ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so”. So with that in mind, Russ Harris says, you know, quickly review for widely held beliefs. Fear is a sign of weakness. Fear impairs performance, fear hold you back, and confidence is the absence of fear. All of those are debunked that I even have an episode later called the earlier called The Fear Trap, where I talk about that. So I feel like that that quiz, the debunking those pop psychology myths is so important. And if we if we kind of move on here, I want to talk about one more thing. While I’m on the topic of fear, I don’t let me throw in a little bit of a bonus content, and it is the fear of making decisions. I wanted to do an episode on this for quite some time, its Analysis Paralysis.

[00:20:20] And if you’re not familiar with the term, it’s not making a decision. I mean, analysis and analysis paralysis is it’s when we have too many thoughts. I found an amazing article on a site called PsychologyDashSpot.com, where they talk about analysis paralysis. And I really like this as our society exults, thought and reason, but in some cases, thinking too much can be counterproductive. Leading to what is known in psychology is analysis paralysis. The concept is not new. And I didn’t know this because I’ve talked about this before, but it’s even inspired by one of Aesop’s famous fables. And I won’t read that for you now, but it’s essentially about a cat and a fox traveling together, both thinking that they are very clever and wise. When some hounds eventually come to get them, the cat immediately runs up the tree. And the fox, who had all kinds of things in his bag of tricks, didn’t really know what to do first, and that got him in trouble. In essence, the fable shows that sometimes it’s better to know something useful than to consider a thousand options that don’t serve us well and also shows us that when time is short, that often thinking too much can be harmful, leading to analysis paralysis. The problem is that analysis paralysis can lead to a situation where the cost of that reflection exceeds the benefits that we could have obtained if we simply chose a path.

[00:21:39] So in other words, we lose more by getting stuck or ruminating or overthinking things than we would have lost in making the decision, even if it wasn’t the best decision. So in life, this article says analysis paralysis can lead us to lose great opportunities and can represent high emotional or economic costs. Now, why does analysis paralysis occur? It’s that fear of making mistakes, because every single day we have a lot of decisions to make and some of them are more important than others. And at times we’re not even quite sure how important something is. So we tend to overthink it. And all decisions, in essence, generate some type of anxiety. So depending on the impact they have on our lives, that anxiety might be great and might be small. And so that fear of making mistakes, of not being able to go back once we’ve made the decision is one of the main causes, if not the main cause of analysis paralysis, because we want to be sure. But but here’s the key. We will never be absolutely sure or we will never be absolutely certain. And our brain just wants to gather all the data that we can. And that puts us that makes us paralyzed in this analysis phase. And so at times, we may even have too much information. And I loved it in the article.

[00:22:55] And Psychology Spot says, in modern society, the capacity to choose has been over over estimated to the point where the amount of options available will overwhelm us. And so, in fact, it’s been shown that the more options the consumer has, the less likely he or she will be to buy and the longer it will take to make the decision if he or she takes it. In these cases, the problems that we lose ourselves by valuing more and more details, trying to differentiate one option from another, and in the end we end up mentally exhausted, frustrated, and it’s really hard to make a decision or many of us might have this tendency toward perfectionism. We get stuck in these circles because we pursue perfection. We want everything to make sense. We want to have that aha moment, that clarity, because we want the result to be perfect or we may have an aversion to the opportunity cost. Opportunity cost is a concept from economics which is there to designate the value of the not chosen option. Think about that one. So we’re trying to analyze this opportunity cost with human behavior and human emotion and that that one is just can just again cause us to freeze. And this article says the worst of all is that in many cases we make excuses to explain that that that analysis paralysis, for example, we say that we need more information to make the decision when in reality what stops us is the fear of making mistakes.

[00:24:12] So in those cases, it’s important for you to be aware of what causes that decision paralysis so as to not run around in circles and worrying and wasting our psychological energy, as they call it. So how do you overcome analysis or decision paralysis? And I’ll just skip through these quickly, but establishing deadlines and that can be hard because sometimes your brain will say, I don’t really have a deadline or I love this concept. Restraining your curiosity. details can be one of the main culprits of analysis paralysis, the desire to dig more and more. And that sounds counterintuitive to restrain your curiosity, but you are the only one who ultimately knows is my curiosity causing me more harm than good. And I love this one. One of the things of how to avoid decision or analysis paralysis assume that the planets will never line up, conditions will never be optimal. Therefore, you must assume that you have to make a decision with the knowledge and data that you already have. Don’t wait to know everything and reach the perfect moment because delaying the decision by waiting for the planets to align can be just an excuse for not taking the right step. And don’t don’t look for perfection. Perfection is the enemy of the good, wrote Voltaire.

[00:25:22] If you insist on everything to be perfect, you’ll end up being a victim of decision paralysis, analysis, paralysis, because it is practically impossible to control the details. Take one step at a time, limit the number of options. This is a hard one. Add or eliminate the emotion in certain cases. You have to add a bit of rationality to the decision making and others need to add a bit of intuition, and I love that the best decisions are those thought with objectivity, but validated by intuition. Therefore, if you are paralyzed because you think that you’re being too rational or on the contrary, too emotional, that can cause this analysis paralysis as well and then do all that you can to try to prioritize the decisions that are more important. But let me kind of wrap this up. So I mean, and business this analysis paralysis term is a game changer. You get some data, you make the decision, you move on. You’ll always miss something, I was talking with a friend this morning, he said you’ll always miss something. There will always be something in hindsight that you’ll realize you may not have thought of or that you would have done differently next time. And that is how you learn. And this is one of the things I remember learning that I brought over from the business world as I became a therapist, was working with this business consultant at one point who said you’re going to have other opportunities to make other decisions, that, you know, that is one of the most important things to know, make the decision because you’re going to have lots of other decisions you get to make as well.

[00:26:43] So then we wonder, well, what if I haven’t done enough to have the data and I can’t answer that fast? Or, you know, sometimes you truly do have to trust your gut. We can make it sound fancier in psychology and talk about your intuition that once you know, you know, and try that out. And here’s the part where I don’t have a clinical study to back this next statement up, but I believe it. I have the anecdotal data. I’ve talked to clients who have over analyze things for days, for weeks, even months, and eventually worked themselves back to their initial decision. So whether it’s having a rule, things out, whatever that is, as one friend told me, there is never a perfect pair of pants just buy the pants. So there is definitely a benefit. What did we learn today? A benefit to learning how to recognize your feelings? My wife, my wife, my wife talked to a neighbor recently who was going through some particularly difficult situations in life, and she said that this neighbor talked about needing to, quote, “sit in the fire”. And I love that expression. Now, it doesn’t sound great, right? But I just ran with that analogy. So let me see if this works honestly. And I’m not I’m not the best at analogies, because in couples therapy, sometimes analogies are used to weaponize their weaponized and used against each other. And whoever has the best analogy thinks that they’ve made the better point. But let me let me try to run with this one.

[00:27:57] So the problems in your life, it’s almost like they’re this bonfire and it’s blazing over there in the corner and the flames are hot and you just want to stay away from them. You’ll deal with them later. And as a matter of fact, you might even find yourself constantly thinking and researching ways around having to go deal with the fire. You don’t want to go anywhere near those flames. And as you pull up a post on social media, it may say that, hey, you are in charge of your feelings and you need to choose not to feel those flames. But you do feel them because you’re human and you have the skin and nerve endings. And that might be easy for somebody to say who hasn’t had to tend to your fire or maybe their fire honestly wasn’t very hot at all, or they haven’t even had to tend to a fire of their own.

[00:28:40] But they read about them and they’ve studied them and they know that if they were in front of your fire, they would just push away those thoughts and choose not to feel the flames. So you’re going to feel them and they are going to be hot. And until you go get close to those flames and here’s where the analogy runs a little bit out of steam, I’ll acknowledge. So think of it as a choose your own adventure type of analogy, but you have to go pour water on it or however else you have put out the flames. And if any of you guys were twelve years old and in the Boy Scouts, don’t put the fire out that way, but you have to deal with your fire at some point.

[00:29:11] If you don’t, it will actually get larger and hotter. So the key is to changing your relationship with the flames. And even with the heat, it’s hot. If you don’t feel the heat, you’d kind of be crazy. So but you may not want to go close to the flame and try to put it out. Absolutely. I get it. That makes sense. And you can bring those thoughts of not wanting to go close right along with you while you walk up close to the flame and put it out. A client of mine recently wrote a letter to help a friend of theirs, and they put in there something that I just thought was beautiful. They were referring to some of the sessions that we’ve had, the client who wrote the letter, her husband and myself.

[00:29:47] And in writing to comfort this other friend of hers, she answered a question about what to do when conversations are hard or when emotions are hard. And my client said that I had shared with her that sometimes you just have to sit with those feelings and emotions and know that sometimes it’s going to be hard, but you’re going to keep moving forward and you’re going to heal. And I think that that is so powerful that sometimes you’re going to feel the flames and they’re going to be hot. And that’s just what’s happening. They’re hot. Those are flames. But running away from the flame or blaming somebody else or overthinking the flames, well, that doesn’t work for you either. So here’s the part where I start to ramble. So I’m going to stop here. You are OK. You are not broken. You’re you you’re human. You’re the only version of you that’s ever lived. Even if you’re a twin, you’re still you. And you have all the thoughts and the feelings and emotions you have because thank goodness you’re you you’re the only one that’s experienced all of the things that you’ve experienced in life. So start with the story that. Nothing is wrong with you, and if you decide to acknowledge the thoughts, even the negative ones, the sad ones, and and just say, there you are, I see you thoughts. I appreciate you. You’re part of my my existence. You’re part of my story. And you’re welcome to come along with me while I do something a little more productive. Again, I didn’t say that you need to do something extraordinary right this moment, but just something a little more productive. And if you aren’t able to OK, noted, but don’t get down on yourself. Don’t beat yourself up. Just lather and rinse and repeat something that this baldhead hasn’t done in over 20 years. But I still like the sentiment. All right. Have an amazing day. Bring those thoughts along with you. And I will see you next time on the virtual couch.

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