Circumstances are neutral, even if we don’t want them to be.
When my clients learn that circumstances are neutral and that they aren’t good or bad until they have about a thought about them, they often respond with relief and intrigue.
You mean, my terrible boss is only terrible because I think they are that way? You mean, I could think something else about them WITHOUT THEM CHANGING AT ALL.
It’s like they’ve found out the secret to the universe.
But there are some times when they are kinda bummed to find out the circumstance is neutral.
I was coaching a client this week around wanting another child when her husband doesn’t want the same thing.
I asked her, why do you want another kid?
Because they are SO fun and loving and they show me the world in a different way. I think my family would be complete with another child.
When I reminded her that it is her thoughts creating those feelings about her kids and not the kids themselves, she got quiet.
I know, she said, but it really seems like they create those feelings and I want more of that.
I responded, Your work will be letting that story go and then taking responsibility for how you are thinking and feeling. That might feel a little sad at first at first, but ultimately that’s where you will find freedom.
We all do this. We’re taught things outside of us create our feelings. When giving up that idea brings relief (like with a job we think is soul sucking), we’re all in. On the flip side, if giving up that idea means we might feel lost or bummed for a while, we don’t want to go there.
My client really didn’t want to go there. A lot of my clients don’t.
But that’s the way forward to feeling better. You have to be willing to give up a story that doesn’t serve you, for ones that do.
I think that’s an act of bravery, especially when everyone and everything around you confirms the story you don’t want to give up. You have to use courage to believe something else could be true.