Actions are often easier for you to change than an attitude or feeling, because it is something tangible. And, when you change actions, you influence your feelings. Finally, if you maintain your thinking about an action and take the action consistently, in spite of your feelings, then your feelings will eventually respond to your changed thinking and actions.
When you change your feelings by taking different actions, it is like repairing something that is broken. The broken pieces are realigned and reconnected which means they are now restored.
Repairing Your Feelings
Recently, I repaired a wood chair. A chair is primarily useful when you sit in it, right? So I did not want the chair to break when someone sat in it. The steps were easy. I got the broken pieces, aligned them, applied glue, and clamped the pieces together. Then I waited for 24 hours based on the directions on the glue.
After the glue dried, I removed the clamp. The two broken pieces were reconnected and, because they were properly realigned, the chair was restored to its intended usefulness.
That example is useful for times when you want to change your feelings. Actions are like the glue while feelings are like the broken pieces. Thinking is the clamp which keeps the pieces aligned while the glue hardens. The thinking component is critical, because it drives the new actions, which helps turn thinking into beliefs and repairs your feelings.
I like the acronym ACT (Action Changes Things), because it is true. But, it is not all of the truth, because it is actually thinking that changes things.
Help Your Friend
Suppose you have a friend that has a bad attitude about another person. You could do something like this.
- “You’ve stated that you don’t like Joe. But, since you are around him a lot, it would be best to find a way to make the relationship work better than it is now. I know that you value kindness, would you be willing to do a small experiment for the next month?
- You don’t need to become his friend, but would you be willing to smile and offer a pleasant greeting each time you see him during the next month?”
If they say no, ask them what action they could take that would honor their kindness value. Then ask if they would take that action.
The purpose is to get them to act differently. That is actually asking them to use different thinking to take that action. When they consistently apply the new thinking that is driving the new action, feelings will respond.
Read how you can change your feelings through this simple technique - Face - Body - Breathe/Speak!
It's Their Choice
Choice and freedom are critical! This is not a time to convince them to be a better person, shame them into change, or try to make them do anything. You are only calling them to act on their good values.
When people freely act on their own good values, they will have more energy and self-governance. Of course, offer to be an accountability partner, which is often a great help.
People that take that type of action for at least 30 days will see themselves change, even if the other person doesn’t.
Try it on yourself to see if you can change your feelings by taking different actions.