Sunday Morning Coffee: What do You Think?

Proverbs 23:7 says, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.”

I hope you won’t mind if I go just a little psychobabble on you this morning.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is based on the idea that what you believe is true motivates your words, emotions, and behavior.

So, for example, let’s just say that you believe with everything in you that you deserve to have whatever you want, and you deserve to have it NOW! How is that thinking going to affect your emotions?

Here’s how: You will become angry when your desires are not fulfilled. You will be resentful of the people in your life that don’t believe as you do, and do not provide everything you believe you must have. You will become a complainer, argumentative and full of self pity.

And those emotions will lead to words, which will reflect your inner thoughts. Complaining. Disagreeing. Focusing on self. Being critical of anyone else who doesn’t comply and support your thinking.

Words and behaviors are closely connected. You will become a person who resents any form of regulation or discipline imposed on you against your will. Think of a two-year-old who is sitting in the grocery cart, demanding candy. You can hear this child all over the store as he screams, repeating his demands over and over. Is he just a rotten kid? Well, maybe, but it doesn’t have to continue. What needs to change is his thinking! He needs to understand that wanting and needing are not the same thing. If his longsuffering parent caves in and gives him the candy, then she is reinforcing his belief that he MUST have whatever he wants, and that he should continue to pitch a fit until he gets it. He has learned that no one else matters, just himself.

Here’s a news flash for you: Our job as parents is to disabuse our children of this self-centered thinking, and to teach them that they are NOT the center of the universe. This training needs to start before you pack the child into his car seat. He needs to be told, “Do not cry and ask for candy. If you do, I will leave the store, take you to the car, and give you a little tune-up.” “Oh,” you may say, “A two-year-old doesn’t understand that!” Yes he does, if you’ve been doing your job. That is why the tantrum stops abruptly the minute his wants are satisfied. No more screaming, no more tears. Unless, of course, it wasn’t the specific candy he wanted!

All of this takes place because he believes he is entitled to whatever he wants, RIGHT NOW! He also believes he is the boss of you, and if you cave and give him the candy, his belief is reinforced. It worked, after all. He screamed, you scrambled. He won. And it becomes a repeated behavior, reinforcing his faulty thinking every time he wins.

The biggest tragedy here is that he takes his faulty thinking with him into adulthood. He doesn’t feel obligated to earn his keep because every single thing he has ever demanded has been given to him. I’ve heard of young people applying for jobs who give their prospective employers a list of their demands! Can you imagine? My word!

So why am I on this track today? That’s a long story. As a long-time observer of human behavior–I’m one of those people who likes to watch other people–I can tell you that this kind of thinking and behavior is rampant today. I see people in groups of three or four who all have their eyes on their phones, paying no attention whatsoever to those they are with or other people who are expected to give way to them because they can’t be bothered to look up and show concern for anyone else.

It’s not just young people. There’s no one more cantankerous than a self-centered old person. This faulty thinking runs through every age bracket. It is a slow poison that leads society into all sorts of misery and ruin.

We need to do some self-examination, and we need to do it with humility and prayer:

“Dear Lord, am I guilty of false thinking and beliefs? ‘Search me, Oh, God, and know my heart; see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.'” (Psalm 139:24-25)

2 thoughts on “Sunday Morning Coffee: What do You Think?

  1. Yes. Goes right to the Senior Center. I see it far too much. Things as small as their own special place to sit sends other scrambling to give up a seat to the person. One person has a “companion” dog she brings with her. Why? There are plenty of companions at the center to find! I used to volunteer to be a “lunch buddy” until I found myself helping peoplee who were more capable than I! They just wanted their food first. I am just getting started! But, I’ll stop there.

    Liked by 1 person

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