I’m so happy you came back! If you read my post on Tuesday than you already know that this is PART 2 that I promised. I mentioned in my previous post of how I came across a life changing tool that was created by a life coach and has helped me in countless ways to achieve greater mental and emotional balance, and to understand my mind on a different level. It’s called the CTFAR Model and it’s kind of similar to a math equation in a sense. It is a powerful resource that we all have access to and I only wish I would have known about it and understood it SOONER. Like years sooner.
BUT! I also believe that we learn things and figure things out at the time in our lives we are supposed to. And that timing can be different for everyone. With that said, if you are struggling at all in any area of your life (which I think all of us are to some degree- otherwise you must not be human) then this tool can help you immensely!
Ok, so first I want to quickly talk about the purpose of this tool so that you have a clear understanding.
The purpose is NOT:
-To put a band-aid over your emotions
-To make you happy 100% of the time
-To ignore your problems
The purpose IS:
–To help you understand how your brain works
-To help you see that very often the “problem” is not what you think it is
-To help you recognize the very real connection between your thoughts and feelings
-To help you separate your thoughts from your circumstances
-To help you see that your emotions are more flexible than you think
-To help you take action
There are a million other benefits I could list but these are the main points I think are most helpful to understand. You do not need anything special to use this tool. All you need is pen, paper, and your brain! So here we go. I will explain each one in detail and then include a diagram at the bottom so you can see a clear, simplified version of how this formula works.
(I’ve tried a thousand times to explain this in a condensed, shorter way…but it’s just not the same. So I chose to elaborate and explain it well. It may take you a few minutes, but it is worth the read)
CIRCUMSTANCE: This is where you would write the situation or problem you’re struggling with. But only the FACTS! The things that are outside of your control. For example- your loved one’s choices and actions, health issues, unexpected life condition or tragedy, the childhood you had, the body you were born with, someone else’s reaction to you, the children you were given (or not given). These are all examples of circumstances and things that you cannot control. And the MOST IMPORTANT thing to understand about circumstances is that they are always NUETRAL. They do not become positive or negative until the person experiencing them interprets it one of those ways.
THOUGHTS: This is where you would write all the thoughts you have about that situation or circumstance. Our brains have constant thoughts that are triggered by our circumstances. We have positive thoughts and negative thoughts which is obvious. But what so many of us DO NOT truly realize is that our thoughts are totally optional.
We get to think however we want to about the circumstances, situations, or people in our lives. But our brains are so often conditioned to think a certain way and believe certain things as if they are facts. Without even questioning it. This is where we get ourselves mentally and emotionally stuck by believing thoughts that are only hurting us and holding us back in life. When really if we just looked at the facts and then intentionally decided how we are going to think and feel about those facts, then our emotional wellbeing and what we create in our lives would drastically start to improve. I can promise from personal experience that this is true!
Some examples of thoughts that could be holding you back: “I’m not enough”, “My kids are so difficult”, My life is hard”, “This trial is breaking me”, “My spouse is such a jerk”, “I’ll never be able to forgive (insert person’s name) for what they did,” “I’ll never have the body I want”, “I’m just not good at (insert skill or talent), “I’m so stressed all the time”, “Obviously that person deserves more happiness than I do”, “I just don’t know what to do”, “This is something I’ll never get past” etc, etc…
These are all things that we often mistake for the actual circumstance or problem. When in reality they are neither of those things. They. Are. Thoughts. (And the great news about thoughts is… we can change them if we want.)
FEELINGS: This is where you would write the feelings/emotions you’ve been struggling with especially whenever you think the negative thoughts you are having about that circumstance (or person) in your life. Depending on your circumstance and your thoughts about it you might be experiencing feelings like Anger, Resentment, Defeat, Fear, Apathy, Confusion, Hopelessness, Stress, Sadness.
There have been periods of time in my life when I’ve experienced a few or all these feelings on a very regular basis. And if you’ve experienced it you know how debilitating it can be. I’m not talking about when we genuinely need to feel grief or sadness over something for a time. THAT is part of healing. I’m referring to when we CONTINUE to live, and consistently operate from the emotions I mentioned above. That is not healing. That is emotional prison. And I believe that God wants so much more for us than that.
ACTIONS: This is where you would write the actions that you’ve noticed yourself taking or not taking as a result of your feelings. Our actions are literally driven by the feelings/emotions we’re having, which at times can even drive us to the action of Inaction. (ya with me?) – For example, do you ever wish you could stop doing something that you know isn’t good for you? Or wish you could get the motivation to start doing something you know you should? Me too!! And THIS is what made me understand why that is! Our feelings are driving those actions or inactions! Which may seem pretty obvious but some of us don’t understand how to help ourselves get to the positive, productive feelings we need in order to take actions we know we should take. So how do you get to those feelings you want/need? Yep. You start with your THINKING.
RESULTS: This is where you would write down the results you keep getting in your life because of the actions you keep taking or not taking- (In relation to the circumstance your struggling with). Many of us keep getting results that we really wish would change. Maybe it’s that you keep falling short of your goals, or you can’t seem to get a project done. Perhaps you continue to be angry at your spouse all the time and its affecting everything else in your life, or maybe you constantly feel frustrated with your kids, or perhaps there are parts of mom life that keep you feeling overwhelmed and stressed. Maybe your master closet has been a mess for years and you have no idea where to start with it. Or maybe you’re struggling to forgive someone in your life. Perhaps you have a health issue that you wish you could stop feeling so discouraged about. Or… maybe there’s a life altering trial that you’ve experienced, and you can’t seem to escape the emotional torment of it. Maybe you just simply want to feel at peace with your current situation.
WHATEVER IT IS YOU’RE GOING THROUGH- I promise this tool can help you. Because if you actually do this exercise from beginning to end you will not only see how it is an equation that makes perfect sense, but you will see how you are actually in the driver’s seat when it comes to your thoughts, feelings, actions and results. And you will see how one affects the other in a seamless ongoing chain. And most importantly, you will see that your feelings, actions, and results could all change and improve significantly if you decide to start working on your thoughts. So my next post will be all about thought work and how to implement that in your life!
The thing I’ve realized is this… we are all experiencing this CTFAR model whether we believe it or not. Whether we see it or not. It is happening. It’s how life and the universe work. The difference is some people choose to be involved in the process and have more control over it while others just let their emotions and their lives happen to them. I chose to start being involved in the process and to live my life with more intention. And it was one of the most empowering and healing decisions I’ve ever made. It’s changed the way I view myself, my life, my experiences, my trials- both past and present.
So how do you become involved and gain more control over the process? After you write out your first CTFAR Model, you then do it again, but this time you will fill in new thoughts, new feelings, new actions and new results. The ones you actually desire. The ones you wish you could be experiencing instead of what you are currently stuck in. (This is where “thought work” comes into major play.) Notice I didn’t say you would change the circumstance itself. Because you cannot change something that’s out of your control. Trying that is pointless and frustrating. But what you can change is how you choose to think about it, feel about it, and act towards it. You can choose to show up in your life regardless of your circumstance. And that… can change everything for YOU in the most wonderful way.