“There I Go Again”

Q: Is there a way to harmonize conscious thoughts and emotions that conflict?

A: It’s a process or habit developed over time. You identify a response that you know is irrational or mistaken, but it’s still emotionally present. You decide upon what IS a rational response. Then you work at having the new response. The way this works is through conscious reason and introspection. When you introspect, you identify a feeling. ‘I’m having that mistaken feeling again.’ Then you sit down and spend some time identifying the correct response. Brick by brick, you rebuild your responses.

Consider an example: “I made a mistake and I’m upset.” Your automatic, irrational response to doing something wrong is ‘upset’ which likely means: ‘This is terrible.’ If you project the rational response, what would it be? I project the rational response as something like: ‘OK, I made a mistake. Let’s look into what my mistake was and how I can correct it.’ You can train your mind to have a new reaction. First, you must project what you consider the better reaction to be. In time, it will become the automatic reaction, if you repeatedly correct yourself. Instead of being upset in such situations, you’ll be rational. I think you’ll agree that it’s easier to solve problems or fix errors when rational rather than when upset.

When you identify a faulty premise, then introspection consists of catching yourself in the faulty premise. ‘There I go again,’ you say to yourself when you find yourself having an emotion based on what you know to be a faulty premise. You then take the time to sit down and identify what the correct premise is. You quite literally retrain your mind to operate on the correct premise. You are already intellectually convinced of what is the correct premise and why; it’s just a matter of changing the habit, which takes time but can be effectively done.