You might not be ready to hear this, but I’m going to say it anyway.
Guess what, everything that happens to you is your fault.
…I can feel a wave of aversion rising – “but” what if this, or that…
Ok, to pander to this argument a little… other people can affect what happens to you, and there’s just plain “bad luck”, but you put yourself in a position for whatever has happened to happen!
The good news you can change this all around… if you choose to.
In reality, blaming other people or circumstances for things you don’t find desirable in your life is just an excuse. And blame is just a cop out, it won’t change a situation, or the likelihood of it happening again.
Perhaps you seem to repeatedly experience the same “bad luck”. Attracting the “wrong” person in relationships, falling short of deadlines, constantly getting injured? These things don’t happen TO you, they happen BECAUSE of you.
The only constant in this equation is you.
Once bitten twice shy? Inexperience of a building situation can lead to a failure – one that you learn from. Nothing to regret there, just accept it and move on.
If it happens again, you need to learn the same lesson. If it then happens again, you better start taking responsibility and stop blaming other circumstances or people!
But You Make Me Angry
How you feel, emotionally, is entirely your choice. Nobody makes you feel any particular way about anything. You chose to get upset, angry, or down. Or, you can choose not to.
I always smile to myself when I hear someone say, “They made me upset/angry/scared/…”
No “they” didn’t. You had a fleeting thought flash into your consciousness. This thought was upset/anger/fear, but instead of disregarding it (like you do most of the thousands of other thoughts you get every minute), you chose to attach to this one. You decided to lend weight to it, to give it some momentum.
You turned this thought into a feeling. This feeling was still inside you, bubbling away. If you failed to recognise what you were doing to yourself, you then invest more conscious energy in this feeling, making into something bigger…
Now you’ve turned a feeling into an emotion! You’ve judged the feeling and labelled it as bad, and now this shows physically in your facial expression, in your posture and your body language. It now has a physical energy.
This is when someone around you may ask, “Are you ok?” They can feel the energy you’ve created like a storm cloud!
The further down this “thought, feeling, emotion” path you’ve travelled, the more momentum this energy has built and the harder it is to stop…
…But you could have headed it off at the pass. If you were sensitive enough to recognise the negative thought, and just let it go, mission accomplished! No harm, no foul.
But even if it sneaked through to the “feeling” stage, catch yourself giving this thought energy and decide not to. Again job done.
Even if you’ve let it get as far as an emotion, you can still choose to stop it in its tracks and disregard it.
This cascade from thought to emotion can be a habit just like any other. If you seem to be easily triggered to a particular emotion, it’s because you’ve practiced it a lot!
Break this pattern with conscious effort. It will take a lot of practice, but just like developing any skill, it’s possible with repetition.
Your thoughts are not real, and your thoughts are not you. They just happen, like the noises and sounds around you. You can’t stop them, you can either choose to ignore them or intensify your focus on them and make them into a big player… or not!
Nobody makes you feel anything, you chose to feel that way. Accept it, and feel MUCH happier.
Out of Control?
The truth is you can’t control everything, so let that go right now. The only thing you can control is yourself and how you react to different situations.
Everyone has their own unique life perspective; it’s not the same as yours, and never can be. You can only view everyone else though the lens of your own life experience, and no one except you has lived your life!
So don’t get bent out of shape if someone isn’t empathetic to you and your viewpoint.
If things aren’t going how you want, remember, your choices have placed you where you are, surrounded with the people around you. Change things… and things change! Don’t, and you’re accepting your situation.
Take responsibility for that and don’t cop out, blaming people or things outside of you. Do something about it.
Change the stuff you can, accept the stuff you can’t. Simple as that really. Now practice it. ;)
Don Heatrick, owner of Heatrick Strength & Conditioning, is a renowned Level 4 Strength and Conditioning coach, Muay Thai coach and former pro Thai boxer from the UK.
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