Have you ever been caught in what feels like a bad movie and it is stuck on play? Perhaps there is a part of life that isn’t working the way you would like. Maybe it’s your work spiraling out of control with too much to do and what feels like not enough time. It may be a relationship that is skidding sideways toward the edge of a cliff with no guard rail. Could it be a stack of bills with too much month left at the end of your money?
None of those is a pretty picture. Not many people are immune from any of those types of scenarios. Either we’ve been there, are there or may be heading there. It’s called life. If you get anything from this article get this: You can handle whatever may come about. Period! Even if you think you can’t.
Let me share with you some perspectives and tools that can help you emotionally navigate any periodic storm within which you may find yourself.
First, realize that nothing has any meaning except for the meaning we assign to it. In Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, there is a line that can bring much peace to any situation – “…for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” This may imply that the mental labels of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ are ultimately illusory. The slap in your face way of saying this is, “you are making it up. Whatever ‘it’ is.” You dictate your thoughts. No one else is in there with you generating your thoughts. It’s all you.
Any situation, circumstance, action or behavior has as many meanings as there are people associated with it. Those meanings can even shift and multiply without the occurrence having changed. What does that mean? For the meaning of the event to have changed, you changed. You changed your thoughts about the event by changing the aspect you choose to focus on regarding the event. When we initially assign a meaning to an event, we tend to believe our thought about the event is true. We formulate a belief based on that thought and proceed to live our life from that belief. We may even dig our heels in and fight to keep that belief alive…unless we are provided a countering perspective with which to see or process the situation.
It’s as if you and I are looking at a statue from different angles. As we walk away we form a belief of what we saw. However, if we could pull a Polaroid from your view and one from my view and showed it to a third person who has not seen the statue, they would look like two different statues. It’s one statue and yet two different views or ideas of what it is.
It appears the quality of our life is in direct proportion to our ability to assign good meanings more often than bad ones to a situation or circumstance we have experienced.
So, here is the reset. Notice what you are feeling about a situation that may be causing you some sense of angst. Challenge yourself to investigate your thinking about it. There are three evaluating questions we are always swimming in when something comes our way. Here they are: What is it? What does it mean to me? What do I need to do with it or about it? It’s the second question that most people get tripped up on because they are not conscious to their answer. If you are feeling a negative emotion you most likely answered the second question with a negative meaning.
Here’s a solution: S.N.A.P. out of it. See Negatives as Positives. Simply ask yourself what else could this mean. This week seek six new positive meanings or perspectives and try them on. Give yourself the opportunity to live from one of those new perspectives and notice how everything else unfolds.
Make it up, make it fun, and make it happen!
Best-selling author, Machen P. MacDonald, CPCC,CCSC, is a certified business coach with ProAdvisor Coach and the Leadership Institute in Grass Valley, CA. He helps business professionals gain more clarity and confidence to perform more effectively in their zone of brilliance.