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How to Counter Wishful Thinking with the Truth

Colleen was angry because life, her life, seemed totally out of her control, as if there was some sort of malevolent puppet master manipulating the strings of her life to send her falling on her face and crashing into obstacles.

Without even really being aware of them, Colleen was influenced by key assumptions she held about herself, about life, which led to her wishful thinking and unrealistic expectations. These were deeply rooted in her sense of self and perceptions of the world.

Colleen believed:

  • I need to be perfect to be happy.
  • When I am upset, it is the responsibility of others to comfort me.
  • When others harm me, it is intentional.
  • When I harm others, it is a mistake.
  • The more intense my pain or discomfort, the less the rules apply to me.
  • I deserve to be taken care of by others.
  • Others must carry my burdens for me.
  • If I am angry, no one else has the right to be.

Colleen based her life on false assumptions that she developed when she was growing up. The more time and energy she put into the wishful thinking of these false assumptions, the less able she was to see and operate within the truth.

Wishful thinking springs from pain, disillusionment, misunderstanding, and longings from the past. As such, they are amazingly powerful illusions. I have known women who have lived with them. Clouding their lives for decades.

It takes courage, perseverance, and faith to come to an understanding of the falsehoods in your life so you can begin to counter them with the truth. The only thing powerful enough to do this, I firmly believe, is God’s Spirit. God’s Spirit is called “the Spirit of truth” (John 14:16). In order to overcome the false assumptions underlying her wishful thinking and unrealistic expectations, Colleen needed a dose of the truth from God’s Spirit, revealed in God’s Word.

As we learn throughout the Bible:

  • Happiness comes from inner contentment.
  • When you are upset, you are able to find comfort within yourself.
  • When you are harmed by others, the actions can be either intentional or accidental and more often than not require grace.
  • It is possible to harm other people even when you don’t want to and perhaps more importantly when you do want to.
  • The standards of conduct in life and relationships apply to all circumstances, including times of distress and discomfort.
  • Your greatest fulfillment will come when you serve others, as exemplified by Christ.
  • As you learn to shoulder your own load, you gain strength to help shoulder the load of others.
  • People often react to the anger of others by being angry themselves. This only results in nonproductive arguments.

This is your Season of Truth. It may not be what you consider an ideal time, but whenever you recognize your anger as an issue, it’s the right time to deal with it.

SOURCE: Chapter 3: “How Do Unfulfilled Expectations Affect Anger?” in Every Woman’s Guide to Managing Your Anger by Gregory L. Jantz, PhD., founder of The Center for Counseling and Health Resources Inc.

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  1. I often deal with struggles when it comes to my husband. I try and try to deal with his health needs which are increasing more and more, and though I know, trust, and believe in God, sometimes it seems I am all alone amongst a pack of wild boars out to tear me apart.

    In the end, though, I sometimes take frustrations out on my husband, though it is more of a pity-party for me because I am always “doing, doing, doing” and never get a break due to his health.

    Thanks for some of ther insights on your site.

  2. oh, yeah … #drjantzgift

  3. MN, your experience is the same of so many who find themselves in a caregiving role. You end up hurt and angry at yourself and the situation. Ultimately we begin to tunnel the anger inward and turn it into depression. At that point we make ourselves a target as well. The time has come to create an emotional wellness plan for yourself which likely means adding to the caregiving team and making a plan for your own self-care.

  4. Thanks for your quick reply. I agree, I do need to — andwe have been struggling — to add to the care team. Even in today;s economy, though, it is hard to find people who want t work for a decent hourly rate, let alone finding someone who is, dare say, qualikfied?

    I really do need to create an emotional wellness plan for myself, which is something my husband has been telling me for awahile. I guess I am slow on the uptake.

    Again, thanks.


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