In this Episode, Lorissa highlights the difference between legitimate pain that we experience in this life versus the unnecessary suffering we often inflict upon ourselves when we aren’t managing our minds well. Once we understand how our thoughts impact our emotions, we can be much more intentional about the thoughts we choose to think even during painful situations. 

LISTEN TO THE SHOW

RESOURCES MENTIONED ON THE SHOW

TRANSCRIPT OF THE SHOW

Click Here for a full transcript of the show.

Hello, Mamas. Welcome to episode 80 of Made for Greatness. I am your host today, Lorissa Horn. And as always, I am so excited to be with you. Now, I cannot wait to dive into this episode today where I’m gonna be just talking about some of the ways that these life coaching tools have really impacted my life. Um, and particularly in dealing with negative situations and difficult situations. And I hope that this is life giving for you, and that you’ll be able to take some of these concepts that I’m teaching in today’s episode and directly apply them to your life. Now in a very fundamental way, I just wanna start off this episode by sharing one of the most simple, yet powerful concepts I learned when I first started getting into life coaching and learning about life coaching and mindset coaching and all of that.

And this is it. And I know it sounds simple and it sounds so basic. You’ve heard us talk about it many times, but I was probably 37 years old when I first came across life coaching and, and across these concepts and tools. And one of the biggest epiphanies I had at the age of 37 was that our thoughts cause our emotions. Now I know if you’ve been listening to us for a while, like O that’s like so incredibly obvious, and it makes me actually laugh to think about that. Like, I really did not understand that for most of my life. I mean, legitimately I knew that I had thoughts, many thoughts a day, and I also knew that I had many emotions every day, but I didn’t understand the direct correlation between them. I didn’t understand that every single time I had an emotion, it was a result of a thought that I was thinking, and now it’s, it’s crazy because it’s, it’s so obvious to me, but I’m think to myself, like, gosh, if only I could go back to my teenage self or my young adult self and, and fundamentally understand that every time I have an emotion, it’s because of a thought that I’m thinking, like, just having that basic understanding, truly it changed my life.

It gave me this sense of empowerment in my life, because up until that point up until I was like 37 and I had all of these emotions. And especially when we have intense emotions. So often we believe that those emotions are a result of a circumstance or something that happens. And so we feel these intense emotions without even beginning to realize all the thoughts that are playing out in our brain. And so for me, once I started to understand this and have a concept of the model and to be able to really see how my thoughts affect my emotions and how my emotions affect my actions and to actually see it on a piece of paper or to be able to, to break it down in that way, just provided so much clarity and so much self-awareness that it has helped me significantly be able to feel empowered over my emotions, to know that I have some sense of control over my emotions, even, even if I can’t necessarily control the circumstances around me.

And I think that’s one of the most beautiful things about this work that we’re doing in life coaching is having that deeper self awareness and bringing the awareness to our clients of what’s actually going on in their brains and in their thoughts, which then helps them to understand why they’re feeling the way that they feel. It’s really so incredibly powerful. And so once I started to understand how, how directly correlated our thoughts are to our emotions, it kind of opened up this whole new world for me. And it helped me so much in my life, particularly in really processing through negative emotions and pain and addressing suffering in a completely new way. And I’m gonna just share some thoughts with you. None of this is like sci. I don’t have scientific data or, you know, studies that pinpoint exact statistics on this, but I’m just speaking for my own personal experience here that I have become a lot more aware of a concept that I just wanna talk about as being legitimate pain that we go through in our lives versus unnecessary, additional suffering that we bring to situations or scenarios because of thoughts that we choose to entertain.

Now you might be going okay, where are you going with this Lorissa? But I just want you to follow me for a moment. I’m gonna throw out kind of a percentage here. And it may or may not be completely accurate, but just for the sake of this example, what I’ve come to discover in my own life is that I believe that we have all of us in our lives. We have suffering, we have pain and there is legitimate pain, legitimate suffering in our lives due to legitimate circumstances that happen. And then we have additional pain and suffering that is simply caused by the thoughts that we entertain. And in my opinion, I think it’s about 80-20 percent. And what I mean by that is I kind of believe that so much of the pain and suffering that we go through is 20% legitimate.

Like it’s, it’s real, it’s caused by a real circumstance, but then there’s probably close to 80% of the suffering that we go through is simply caused by our unmanaged mind or unmanaged thoughts that we allow to completely take over our emotional state, oftentimes only compounding or multiplying or extending the legitimate pain that we’re already in. So I’m gonna share some examples with you of what I’m talking about here. Now, this first example happened to me years ago, I was in my early twenties and I was in a pretty serious relationship. And it was in a, I was in this relationship for several years. I was pretty convinced that I, I thought I was gonna marry this guy that I was dating. And, um, of course, one day he broke up with me and it was devastating. I mean, I was absolutely heartbroken. I could hardly function and it just rocked me to my core and that’s normal, right?

I mean, that is a situation where, of course, if you feel like you’re in love with someone, you think you’re gonna marry them. You believe this is the person that you’re gonna be with for your whole life. And then all of a sudden they break up with you. Of course that’s gonna cause some pain. I would consider that to be legitimate pain. And that is something that you kind of have to go through. You have to process through that pain, you have to work through it. Like it’s very legitimate to feel sadness and to feel, you know, to feel like your heart has been, has been broken to some degree. All of that is legitimate. But what I did after he broke up with me was not, I didn’t just go through the sadness or, you know, like at the feeling of grieving that relationship, like, you know, you would normally expect what I did on top of that pain and suffering was I added so many more elements of unnecessary suffering to myself because of my thoughts.

So after he broke up with me, I started having all of these thoughts about myself. Like, why am I not good enough? Am I not pretty enough? Am I not skinny enough? Am I not? You know, funny enough, like all of these things, I just like swam and swam and all of this mind drama of trying to figure out all of the reasons why he didn’t wanna be with me anymore, why he didn’t like me anymore, why he broke up with me, all of these things. And so when you start having thoughts, like I must not be good enough for him, or I must not be pretty enough or talented enough or whatever the enough happens to be. Then you start to feel even more and more terrible about yourself. So my legitimate pain was the fact that he broke up with me and of course there’s gonna be sadness with that.

But then I added all of this additional pain with the mind drama that I was in because I was constantly scrutinizing myself and analyzing myself and beating myself up for not being good enough. And when I actually look back at that scenario, I can see that so much of the pain that I was going through was all a result of these in like self-induced negative thoughts that actually ended up lasting for months and, and even actually probably a good year that only prolonged the suffering of the breakup and, and magnified it and made it so much worse at that time in my life. I had no idea that the thoughts that I had were causing my emotions, but my goodness, if I could go back and, and change that or teach myself that it would’ve been so helpful because what I was actually doing was I was, I was the one that was causing myself to experience so many more negative emotions, all related to that breakup.

At that time in my life, I didn’t have the tools to know really how to process through the pain of having someone break up with me. I wish I would have, but nevertheless, all of the additional stuff that I was adding to it was what was really causing me so much more suffering that I really didn’t need to go through that I didn’t need to put myself through. And so that’s just one example. And then there’s another one that I wanna share. It’s actually kind of similar. This happened many years later, I was already married and had kids, but there was a job position that opened up that I really wanted. I applied for it. I felt like I was really qualified. I thought that for sure that I would, you know, I was really hopeful that I would get this job. And, um, and then I didn’t, I didn’t get offered it.

And again, I felt devastated. I was sad. Now that’s a legitimate feeling, right? To feel let down or disappointed, um, or even a little bit sad. All of those emotions are very normal. When you put yourself out there, you apply for a job that you really, really want, and then you don’t get it. Of course, there’s gonna be some disappointment with that. And to be honest with you, like if, if I would’ve just allowed myself to experience that disappointment and process through it, I probably would’ve been able to process through that fairly quickly and move on with it. But again, I didn’t know the tools. I didn’t know how to do that. And instead I just added weeks worth of a lot of negative emotions, because again, I started to have those thoughts, like, why am, why am I not good enough?

And if only I had more talents or more qualifications, or, you know, then I started having thoughts like, oh gosh, this wasn’t fair. They hired somebody else. And it should have been me and maybe there was a justice issue or something wasn’t fair. And then I started getting angry and all sorts of other negative emotions that I brought to it that only caused me more pain. And in all reality like that, that went on for several weeks, all of these negative thoughts about myself and about the situation that really only intensified the suffering and it didn’t serve me in any capacity, it didn’t help me to feel better. It made me think about it. I started talking to people about it and I just prolonged the pain. It’s crazy. Now in these two scenarios, what’s really powerful is the gift of being able to look back in time, right?

We gained so much wisdom when we’re able to, to look back and to see what God was doing and how he was working. So when it comes to the scenario of the boyfriend that broke up with me, now I can look back at that situation and I am so incredibly grateful for it. I’m so thankful that he did break up with me that he broke it off because he definitely was not the man that I was supposed to marry. God brought my husband into my life a number of years later. And I’m so incredibly thankful that I married the man that I did. And now I can look back and just, I think to myself, oh my goodness, I have so much wisdom around it. Not only am I thankful, but I can look at this situation from a different perspective. And I can say to myself, and I can see that it wasn’t, that there was anything wrong with me.

It wasn’t that I wasn’t good enough or pretty enough, or skinny enough or any of the enoughs that I dwelled upon for months and months and months. The fact of the matter was that my boyfriend at the time, for whatever reason, he didn’t want to be with me anymore. Maybe he wanted to date somebody else. Maybe he wanted to hang out with his friends more. Maybe he realized that at that point that I wasn’t the person for him. And it’s very similar to the job scenario shortly after I didn’t get that job. I met the person that did get the job, and it’s very profound how God works. But shortly after that, a couple months later, we actually became good friends with him and his family. They moved here to Boise and, uh, we got really close with them and their friendship and their relationship that we had with them was incredibly special.

And I found myself months later, just thanking God for how he orchestrates things and thanking God that I didn’t get the job. And, and didn’t get that position. And that this other person did because it meant now that I was blessed with these new friendships in our lives. Shortly after that, I was also able to see that God had me right, where he wanted me. The job that I was in was really where I needed, needed to be for some other very specific reasons. And so I can look back at that scenario now and think to myself, gosh, it’s so sad that I spent weeks dwelling on, gosh, like maybe I wasn’t good enough, or I wasn’t smart enough, or I wasn’t capable enough or qualified enough. Like I was dwelling on those thoughts and having those thoughts constantly running on and on and on in my head.

And those were the thoughts that were actually causing me to feel so terrible about myself, even more so than the actual reality of not getting the job. And so these are just like scenarios and all of us can look back at things like this and, and really find wisdom and, and learn from these types of situations. But we have scenarios. I mean, these might be kind of bigger scenarios, but we have scenarios in our day to day life where we might find ourselves in a painful situation. It might be a much smaller circumstance. For example, let’s say our husband comes home from work and maybe he’s had a long day. And he says something to us that’s maybe not very nice or it’s, it’s snappy or, you know, somewhat hurtful. And instead of just objectively looking at the situation, our brain can have all sorts of thoughts.

Like, oh my, maybe he does. Why doesn’t he love me? Or why does he treat me like that? Or my husband doesn’t respect me, or am I not good enough? Or all of these things like our brain, if we don’t pay close attention to what we’re thinking, it’s amazing how it can just go out of control and start adding so many other negative thoughts to, to a situation that maybe doesn’t need to be blown out of proportion in such a way. And so for me now in my life, I try to pay attention to this. I’m not perfect at it. And I make mistakes all the time. But since learning these tools and learning how powerful our thoughts are like, this is where we can take captive our thoughts. This is where we can take control of our thoughts and look at things in a more objective way.

And this is what I try to do in my life. Because a lot of times when people do or say things that maybe we are offended by, or we find hurtful, or we think, gosh, that wasn’t very nice. We can kind of take a, take a moment instead of making it mean some major story about us or that we’re not good enough, or that they don’t care about us or all of these other thoughts that actually lead to more unnecessary suffering. We can kind of take a pause and just look at the situation and say, oh, maybe my husband has had a long day at work, or maybe he’s tired, or maybe he’s stressed. Maybe he didn’t mean to say that, or maybe I can just ask him why he said that without creating a major story in my mind, that’s gonna cause me even more suffering.

This is the power of this work. And this is what we do a lot within our master’s program with our clients, um, in group coaching or even one-on-one coaching. Because a lot of times what we’re trying to do is, is pull apart the story and, and look at the legitimate pain and look at what’s actually happening. And then we kind of look at all of the other thoughts and all of the other stories and what we’re making it mean and what we’re telling ourselves and all of the other negative thoughts that we’re adding to it that only makes it so much worse when you do this, when you’re able to pause and step back and actually look at situations and pull out the different emotions and then pinpoint the thoughts that correlate to those emotions, it’s incredibly powerful. And you’re able to all of a sudden look at it in a much more objective way with a lot greater sense of self-awareness and actually determine what is legitimate pain versus what is possibly just a story that I’m telling myself that’s contributing and adding so much more suffering that isn’t in any way, serving me or helping me to actually process through the pain and move forward with it.

One of the ways that I can tell if I’m really experiencing legitimate pain versus unnecessary pain, is by what I bring to our Lord in prayer. If I’m really going through something that feels legitimate, that’s usually something that I will bring to God. That’s usually something that I will either go to him in prayer and ask for his grace or his healing or his help with, or I’ll even find myself offering it up. Because I recognize the value of my suffering in that moment and know that I can unite it to Christ, um, suffering. It feels very, you know, real in that way, but oftentimes the unnecessary suffering, the suffering that I’m just causing myself because of an, like my mismanaged mind, I rarely ever take those things to God. I rarely ever offer those things up.

And so for me, that’s a good way to kind of gauge really what’s going on because so many times all of the mind drama, all of the things, the negative thoughts, the extra pain that I’m adding to it, it doesn’t feel like it’s something that I can really go to God with, or I really feel like I can offer up. The other thing that I wanna mention when it comes to unnecessary, additional pain that we cause ourselves is that it may or may not be. In addition to legitimate pain. And what I mean by this is that sometimes we can just have mind drama. 

That causes us pain and suffering, and it’s just happening as just a result of our thoughts and nothing else negative has really happened. So we’re just having negative thoughts that are causing us to have negative emotions. And we feel those emotions very intensely, but we’re just like, we’re actually just causing ourselves to feel this way. I can look back at periods in my life like long extended periods, where I oftentimes felt a lot of negative emotions and there weren’t even really any legitimate circumstances around that. Like I wasn’t going through anything major in my life. I was just having a lot of negative emotions, particularly about myself that was just causing me to feel pretty bad about myself day in and day out. So what can we do about this? First of all, it’s helpful to figure out what emotions we are feeling. So most of the time we will identify an emotion before we even recognize the thoughts that we’re thinking. So when we feel an emotion, we should pay attention to that. And particularly if it’s an intense emotion or negative emotion, we wanna get clear with it. Am I feeling sad, hurt, disappointed, frustrated, angry. What is the emotion that I’m feeling?

And just kind of sit with that for a few minutes and, and recognize what it is. And then we wanna kind of get clear with what is the thought that’s causing that emotion. And, then we can kind of have some self awareness around it. Now, a lot of times when we’re experiencing legitimate pain, we want to be feeling those particular emotions. I mean, for example, if we lose a loved one that we care about, it’s only natural that we should feel sad or that we should be grieving the loss of that person. And so that would be kind of a normal response to that. If we really want a job and we don’t get chosen for that, it’s okay. We want to feel disappointed. That’s a normal response to feel. And so that’s where we can say, okay, that I’m feeling this. And it’s how I wanna feel at the moment.

But if we do an assessment of our emotions and we find ourselves just feeling terrible about ourselves, and we start to recognize that we’re having these self defeating thoughts or we’re spiraling in shame or tearing ourselves down, or maybe we find ourselves thinking that other people are having bad thoughts about us. And we kind of spiral into shame or guilt or terrible thoughts about ourselves or about other people. We can kind of pause and just look at those thoughts and look at the emotions that those are causing us. And we can ask ourselves, are these thoughts serving me? Do I really want to be feeling like this? Do these thoughts and emotions benefit me in any way? Are they helping to make this situation any better? And a lot of times, just by pausing, slowing down our thoughts, analyzing them a little bit, gives us a far more objective perspective of what we’re going through.

Now. This is the deal most people rarely ever even get to this point. They feel a lot of emotions. They think a lot of thoughts, but they never take the time to, to pause, to slow it down and to reflect on it and to actually ask themselves if they want to intentionally continue thinking those thoughts. The moment you realize that you actually have power over your thoughts, that you can be intentional about what you choose to think about, what you choose to focus on, how you choose to show up in your day to day life. That’s the moment when you realize how much power you have in your life. This is where you discover that you are no longer a victim of the emotions that you are having, but that you are the active participant in creating the experiences and the emotions that you want to feel.

Even when you are faced with suffering in your life. Now, I don’t know about you, but I want to be more aware and attentive of the unnecessary suffering that I’m adding to my life, because I don’t want to live my life with a lot of unnecessary suffering when it comes to the legitimate suffering that I’m experiencing. I wanna enter into that fully, and I want to handle it to the best of my ability, and I wanna be able to unite it to Christ and to do all of those things and to learn from it and process through it and gain wisdom from it. But then I also want to really enjoy my life and I wanna have more good moments and be more intentional about how I’m showing up on a day to day basis. I don’t want to just be adding more pain to my life.

I don’t wanna be adding unnecessary burdens and negative thoughts and negative emotions about myself that are pointless. I mean, really like, can you imagine, like I can think of how much time I’ve spent doing that. And it makes me so sad. Like I don’t wanna keep doing it. That’s why it’s so important for us to be aware of our thoughts and to be aware of our emotions. And what’s actually happening in our brain and being a lot more intentional about what we’re wanting to think about, what we’re spending time thinking about and what we’re choosing to focus on. My sisters in Christ, this is the powerful work that I believe we’re called to do in our path to sainthood that, um, God has tasked us with a mission in our lives. And so much of that mission is, you know, giving our lives and service to others.

It’s sharing our gifts and talents. It’s going out into the world and making a difference and loving our families and showing up, being present to the people that God has entrusted to us. And so when we spend a lot of time with thoughts that are so painful and negative that are unnecessary, I think it oftentimes keeps us from really stepping in to the work that he’s calling us to do in our service to others and in our service to billing his kingdom. And so really the biggest part of all of this is just becoming more self aware. And we always talk about this. We always talk about how the saints lived their lives. They spent time in prayer and in reflection and taking time to really clean up their thoughts, right? Like there’s no point in us spinning in thoughts that don’t actually help us to become better, or don’t actually bring a benefit to our lives when we spin in thoughts about our past.

And we think about things from our past and relive it and feel guilt or shame, or are burdened by those thoughts, or also when we worry about the future or we spin in anxiety. And when we worry about all of the possibilities or the what ifs of what might happen, how much unnecessary pain are we adding to our lives, that just gets in the way of us really being able to focus on what God’s calling us to focus on, particularly in the present moment. This is why so often our Lord tells us in scripture, do not worry, do not be afraid, have no anxiety at all in all things trust in the Lord, all of that over and over. Why? Because ultimately God wants us to have peace. He wants us to have hope. He wants us to trust in him. He wants those to be the thoughts that are on the forefront of our minds, because those are the thoughts that are gonna lead to actions that bear fruit in our lives, actions that bring about a greater reality of building God’s kingdom in the world.

This is how we show up and are able to bring his light and bring his joy and bring his love more fully into our lives. When we actually do this work to get clear on the thoughts that we want to have, that are gonna yield the greatest fruits in our lives and bring about the greater results that we’re hoping for and longing for. And to me, this is the great news. This is the good news that God wants to give to us though. We actually do have power over our thoughts that we can choose the thoughts that we want to think about and entertain the thoughts that we want to focus on. And the thoughts that we know are gonna really bring greater benefit to our lives and serve us in a much higher capacity than the ones that only bring us unnecessary grief or unnecessary pain that doesn’t produce any good fruits.

And so my sisters in Christ, as I wrap this up, if this is an area in your life that you are finding yourself, thinking, gosh, I could use some help with this. Maybe I find myself kind of stuck in these negative thoughts that are only leading to negative emotions and, and maybe you need extra help on how to get out of it. Then I would like to invite you to join us in masters, come and check it out. This is the work that we’re doing. We’re, we’re taking some time to pause, to look at our thoughts and to see the ones, those sometimes sneaky ones that oftentimes hover, even in, in a way in our subconsciousness, that that causes us this pain. And we bring those thoughts to the surface. We look at them and we determine, gosh, are these thoughts serving us? Or are they only causing us unnecessary pain?

And then how do we move forward? From there? It’s powerful work. It’s life changing work. And the beauty of doing it is that when we figure this out for ourselves, we can model it for our children and we can help teach them how to do it and how important their thoughts are in their lives. And we can start teaching them these tools so that they’ll have the advantage of learning this at a much younger age than for those of us that are just learning this right now. And that’s, that’s an incredible advantage, an incredible gift to give to our children, our teenagers, our young adults in our lives, because gosh, how many of us wish we would’ve had this knowledge back then? And so truly what a gift and a blessing it is to be able to pass it on to the people that we love and care about in our lives right now. And so my sisters in Christ, that is what I have for you today. Please remember that God loves you, that you are Made for Greatness. And I cannot wait to talk to you again soon. God bless.