We often think that outside influences are what cause us to feel a certain way. We blame our loved ones, a co-worker, the store clerk, the politician, the weather, work, etc. for making us feel upset, irritated, frustrated, angry, etc. We sometimes believe those people and things can bring us positive feelings as well. Here’s the interesting thing.
When anything happens in our lives, we have thoughts about it, those thoughts then generate feelings and the feelings fuel our actions, which ultimately creates the outcome. From there we seek to find meaning in the situation, replaying what happened, rethinking the thoughts and deciding what it all means about ourselves, the other person, our abilities, the world, etc. This process can have positive or negative ramifications. The situation in and of itself is not giving us the results. We create our results and the meaning we give a situation with our very own thoughts.
I saw an old friend out at a a restaurant, a former friend to be exact. I have only seen her two times since 2012 with the first time occurring sometime in 2017. When I saw her again, it looked to me like she was talking about me to her friend. It was one of those times when someone sees you, they turn to their friend, say something and then they both look back at you. So, here’s what happened in my mind.
I immediately went to these thoughts, “Here we go again. She’s talking about me and not telling the truth. Why does she have to talk about me with people that don’t even know me?” From there, I brought up the story from the past and began reliving that scenario. I felt angry, sad, hurt and completely bothered by seeing her. It’s really no wonder, right? You’ve likely been there before yourself. “She’s just rude…”
My former friend is NOT the problem here. She’s not rude – that’s just my thought. Here’s all I really know to be true: she walked by, talked to her friend, they turned and looked in my direction. Those are the facts. I then had some thoughts and made it mean that she was digging up old stuff, sharing it with people who don’t know me, and that she was stuck in that old story. Well, guess what?
I was doing that very thing. I was thinking all of the thoughts. I was telling the person I was with all about her and he doesn’t know her. We turned to look at her. I shared a story about what she was doing that I was making up. I couldn’t hear her conversation. She could have been saying nice things. Maybe not, but it sure feels better to imagine THAT then the alternative.
When I realized I was doing exactly what I was accusing her of doing, I had to laugh! It was a HUGE epiphany for me. I decided then to let it go. It doesn’t matter what she said or what she did. All that mattered was what I thought, how I felt and how I acted. I didn’t like my actions or my results, so I changed my thoughts. There was no reason to get embroiled in the past, to create a “situation” beyond the facts of what had happened. It was only hurting me.
So, I decided to think this. . . “She might be saying nice things and I’m going to do the same.”
I began to imagine what it would look like the next time I saw her. How I would act. What I would say. What I would think. How I would feel.
And then. . .in an instant, I felt better. It is all ok. . . right now! I also know that in going through this process, I will think better thoughts, feel better feelings and act in a kinder and more peaceful way next time I run into her.
We have the choice to believe whatever we want to believe.
We can think thoughts on purpose that help move us in the direction we want to go.
We can feel better and it doesn’t take anyone or anything outside of ourselves to make that happen.
We are empowered to do it ourselves!
Here’s to you living your empowered life,
P.S. If you want to learn more, I’m here. Let’s chat. I’d love to find out more about you and what you want for yourself. Set up a free 30-minute mini-coaching session with me! Go all in!