Thoughts Don’t Cause Emotions: Honouring our HSP Intuitive Wisdom

by Caroline van Kimmenade

I urge you to question the assumption that thoughts cause emotions (and that that’s all there is to it). That if you change your thinking that you’ll feel different. I know it’s the status quo wisdom out there. I also know it’s B.S. as a “final truth” philosophy.

Here’s the scoop. Our thoughts may be causing us to feel a particular way. Or, it may be our feelings that are making us think certain things. It really goes both ways.

If you feel shame, then this will generate an onslaught of negative thoughts. None of these can be resolved until you deal with the underlying emotion of shame itself.

If you believe you are bad, then that will generate a load of crappy sensations. A belief of being bad could in fact be generating a whole lot of emotions and beliefs. Similarly, a deep emotion of shame can be generating a whole host of other feelings and thoughts.

When it comes to fear, things get even trickier. It may be fear causing your “scared” thoughts, or the other way round. OR you are caught in a chronic stress pattern that is creating both emotions and thoughts continuously.


The History of Thought-Orientedness


Our subcoscious really is more complex than it is generally given credit for. It consists of many layers and intricate causes-and-responses.

Yet, we prefer to work on our thinking because we already tend to over-associate with our thinking anyway. We are comfortable with our thinking (even if we don’t necessarily like it).

Our thinking tends to be more dominant in our upper bodies. Over time, we’ve come to prefer our upper bodies. We appreciate intellect and even heart, but all that murky stuff below our diaphragms…I mean…physically, it’s literally a compost heap down there! We poop (aargh!) We have instincts and inconvenient desires (noooooo!). Plus, as HSP’s we also tend to have a very active intuitive 6th sense that is located in the area between our navel and breastbone (eeeeek, what IS all that???).

The lower part of our body tends to speak the language of emotions and feelings much more than it speaks the language of thoughts.  Emotions and feelings, or so science tends to teach us, are unreliable, the kind of things that whip women into a shopping frenzy. More often than not, emotions and feelings are associated with madness, and thinking with reason.

Take a moment to notice how that is true. It’s not anyone’s fault, we are all experiencing centuries of anti-body bias that have penetrated pretty much all aspects of our society.


The Impact of Over-thinking on Healing


So, for all kinds of reasons, we’ve come to prefer our upper bodies and our thoughts over our lower body and feelings.

Mainstream healing reflects that. We are told (over and over) that to change how we feel, we need to change how we think. I’m not saying that this isn’t a good step. It can be a brilliant step. It can be the only viable first step.

When you’re significantly cut off from your body awareness, then working with your head is the only place to start. This is because, your thoughts at that point are the only thing that you have significant awareness of. You can’t work with something that you cannot locate, so it’s often easiest to work with our thinking first.

For HSP’s and empaths especially, this can be a risky tactic in the long run however. After all, you might end up thinking that the only thing that needs changing is your thoughts about what is happening. When you do that, you deny your instinctual and intuitive knowing (which is mostly feeling based). As such, you can end up trying to “reprogramme” yourself in ways that doesn’t reflect who you are. With the limited knowledge out there on what it is like to be HSP and empathic, you might even end up convincing yourself that you are “making up” a lot of your true and body-based experiences.

Do you see where I am getting at?

Our society is thought-biased. Science requires logical proof. We are taught that emotions are crazy and that instincts are primal = dangerous = “lesser than”. This leaves little space for us HSP’s to honour our sensitive knowing.


What To Do About It


We need to give ourselves the opportunity to learn to support and understand that inner, sensitive, intuitive sensing as best as we can. We need to honour the ways in which our body is communicating with and guiding us.

This does not mean that all our emotions are true and all our thoughts false. Emotions, like thoughts are responses and creations. They are part of our complex inner make-up. Sometimes, they are very accurate. Other times they are things we picked up from other people. Yet other times, they are inner responses to other thoughts and beliefs.

It takes discernment to know which is which.

Working exclusively on “changing our thoughts” is not the answer however. In a society that is thought-based, and emotion-phobic, working with your thoughts seems a “safe bet”. What you end up doing however is over-working the same old stuff, and avoiding the other side of the coin (a.k.a. the other side of your body). This is one of the reasons traditional psychotherapy is limited: in the end, you know the whole story inside out. You know what you’re supposed to think, but you still feel the same. When that happens, you know that you need to start honouring and connecting with how you’re really feeling (as opposed to: how you think you are feeling, or how you think you’re supposed to be feeling).

You can take this step right now by starting to notice what you are feeling in your body WITHOUT requiring that it make any logical sense. The logic will come later. Perhaps much later.

Here’s how:
1. Allow your feeling-sensations their OWN DOMAIN, with its own rules
2. Stop assuming that your feelings should conform to your thoughts about reality
3. Allow there to be conflict between what you think and what you feel. After all, you are the awareness that perceives your thoughts and feelings, and as such, you are big enough to handle baffling inner conflicts.

That’s when you are allowing yourself to get in touch with your instinctual knowing and your sensitive intuition.

What is that intuition telling you?


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