Family owing us money Part 2

Thank you for the insightful response to my question! Every time I ask a question, I’m so glad that I did because there’s always something in the answer that is truly eye-opening.

I wanted to dig deeper into this part of the answer:

“You could choose to think Option #3 is a “cop out,” but that would just be a thought, not a fact. Check in with yourself to see if this thought is serving you.”

For quick reference, Option #3 was:

“3. Tell [my parents] before I go [spend the week with them] that my husband and I are releasing them of their [$40,000] debt with us, that they can think of the balance as a gift. And if they ever want to gift us in the future, to do it as one lump sum.

I really like option #3 because it gets us back to thinking the money was a gift, there’s no reminder they owe us money every month or expectation/disappointment when they stop paying, and my parents get to spend money how they want—without us feeling like they could have/should have paid us instead.”

I guess I was wondering, as a self-coaching scholar, when do I decide to only change my thought and when do I change my thoughts AND take action to change the circumstance?

My original thoughts about my parents owing us money was stressing me out. So I changed my thought to thinking about the money as being a gift. It no longer bothered me they weren’t paying us.

But then they started paying us—and missing payments—and the thought of “The money was a gift” no longer felt true because you don’t give gifts back and they’re language (promises to pay) also reflected the debt relationship between us. It felt liked they owed us again and there was an expectation for payment and disappointment when they didn’t pay. These circumstances made it easier to think once again “They owed us,” and I was back to being stressed.

Now I want to present them with option #3 (change the circumstance) so I can go back to a thought that makes me feel better. But I feel like its a cop-out because as a self-coaching scholar, I should be able to change my thoughts WITHOUT changing the circumstance. So if they’re paying me inconsistently, I should be able to change my thought and not let it bother me. And if it doesn’t bother me, then I don’t even need to tell them to stop paying us. I should be able to keep thinking of the money as a gift, regardless of their actions.

So, circling back to my question, under what circumstances do I change only my thought and when do I change my thoughts AND take action to change the circumstance?