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Monday, December 6, 2010

It Is Not What Happens to Us, It Is How We Think About What Happens to Us

If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself but to your own estimate of it.

~Marcus Aurelius

As odd as it may seem, it isn't the event itself that hurts and distresses us, it is how we interpret that event and the meaning we place on it.  The good news is that we don't have to be negatively affected forever by things that have happened to us, even if they have been really traumatic.  YouCAN let go of the negative emotion, by finding positive learning in the event.  When you do that, you can let go of the distress and move on in your life.

This week:  As you go through your week, pay attention to events that ordinarily you might have allowed to derail your mood into something negative.  Notice what you can learn--positively--from this event.  Then notice how this changes your mood.  For example, when you're looking for a parking space at a crowded mall and are starting to really feel frustrated when someone swoops in and takes YOUR parking place, think about what the learning could be that would change how you feel.  Are you there to do holiday shopping?  Is the intention of the holiday to feel stressed and angry at others?  Could your giving up this parking place (even though your turn signal was on) be a special Christmas or Hanukkah present for this complete stranger?  What other meaning can you put on the events that happen to you this week that will reduce your distress?  Experiment with this; play with this.  Notice how your emotional reaction changes. 

Linda Pucci, Ph.D. is a psychologist, life coach and expert in helping people master their emotions and move beyond the "emotional clutter" that blocks success and happiness.  She is the creator of the Life Moments Makeover System, a system for rapid result from negative emotions and limiting beliefs.  For more information, check out her website at http://www.innerresourcecenter.com/ .  

6 comments:

buildingconfidentleaders.com said...

It is probably no accident that you chose an analogy in the car for your message. I am often very disappointed with my own thinking while in the driver's seat. I figure if I can develop a good, positive, giving outlook sitting in that seat, then I can do it anywhere! Thanks Linda, Jeff

gregg said...

So true Linda
I sometimes forget this principle....how much better our lives look when we remember this...

creativelyfit said...

Linda, Thank you sharing this insight with us. It IS TOTALLY a choice, negative? positive?

Santoshamo said...

Fantastic! Choose peace. Right now, in THIS unfolding moment. Thanks for the inspiration, Linda.

Sue said...

I used to have a teacher who said all the time "personal interpretation is everything." Your post reminds me of him!
Sue P.

Sandy Rees said...

I had an experience last week where I chose not to get all reactive. I made a big mistake in a client project, and instead of beating myself up (my usual behavior), I chose to forgive myself and not focus on it. I feel so much better than I normally do in this kind of situation.

Sandy