You’re not your Thoughts. You’re not your Feelings.

Erikjan Lantink
3 min readNov 24, 2023

One of the more complex concepts to grasp is that who we are is not defined by our thoughts or feelings.

Thoughts and feelings come and go. They’re as fluid as the water coming out of your faucet. You turn it on, and it’s there. You turn it off, and it’s gone.

If only it were that simple with our thoughts and feelings.

Our brain is a powerful part of our body. It can make or break us if we’re not careful and believe everything happening inside our brains.

When people who are close to us keep repeating the same message to us repeatedly, we may eventually believe what’s being said to us.

Most of our beliefs about ourselves were created when we were younger when our parents kept repeating the same type of behavioral messages to us.

Beliefs are thoughts that have been repeated to us frequently.

Hearing from a very young age that you’re not good enough or, respectively, you’re the best impacts later behavior.

Low self-esteem or high self-esteem may be the consequence of such repeated messages.

If you suffer from low self-esteem and keep telling yourself this, you’re building a self-fulfilling prophecy. You must look at yourself in the mirror and say, “Enough.”

Another example.

I’ve told myself for years that I’m a morning bird and not a night owl.

I indeed like to get up early. I indeed like the stillness of the early morning, going through my routines and seeing the sunrise.

It’s also true that I have less energy in the evening. But don’t we all have less energy at the end of a busy day? Some just more than others.

So it’s easy to stereotype your way, or my way, to being a morning bird.

And if you tell yourself that ‘truth’ often enough, it becomes a reality.

But it’s nothing more than a bunch of thoughts repeated often enough so they feel real.

Feelings are very similar. They are the result of our emotions and thoughts from…

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Erikjan Lantink

Business & Leadership coach. Interim Leader. Writer. Speaker. Former Retail Executive (general management; operations; HR)