“There is no good or bad without us, there is only perception. There is the event itself and the story we tell ourselves about what it means.”
Ryan Holiday, The Obstacle is the Way.
What Emotion Drives You?
The primary negative emotions are:
- Anxiety (stress, nervousness, fear)
- Anger (frustration, resentment, irritation)
- Depression (sad, unhappiness, grief, low motivation)
Where do these negative emotions come from? We think they come from our circumstances in our life. For example:
- If only my boss would be more appreciative of all I do.
- If only my brother would stop being so insensitive.
- If only my kids would behave better.
- If only my spouse would do more to help around the house.
If ONLY these things would happen, THEN I could be happy!
If we could change our circumstances then we’d experience positive emotions like:
Here’s the thing–the answer doesn’t live outside of us, it lies within us.
Like Ryan Holiday says: It’s the story we tell ourselves about what it means that creates the emotion.
This my friend is GREAT news. This gives YOU so much power. Because guess what? Controlling other humans doesn’t work. Believe me, I’ve tried! What DOES work is taking those circumstances and deciding what you want to make them mean. You are the boss of you and you get to decide.
Let’s go back to a couple of my examples mentioned above.
If only my boss would be more appreciative of what I do.
We really want this appreciation so we can feel good about ourselves. So we can tell ourselves we are valuable. In your heart you know you are doing a great job and guess what? You have the permission to think that about yourself whether or not your boss says it. Instead of thinking, I wish my boss would appreciate me more. Try on, I’m proud of the work I do and I know I’m a valuable asset.
The answer is within you, not outside of you.
Let’s do one more.
If only my kids would behave better.
Ok, why? What we really mean is: if only my kids would behave better, then, I could tell myself I’m doing a good job as a parent. Are you a good parent? Are you perfect? I’m a good parent, but far from perfect. Am I doing the best I can with the current information I have? Yes!
I invite you to think that you are a good parent regardless of your kid’s behavior. Of course, our job as parents is to teach them and give them the tools they need for success in life. BUT, beating yourself up along the way doesn’t help you do that better at all!
By shifting my thinking, I’ve changed my life from one filled with the predominantly negative emotions of fear, anxiety, and stress to a life of mostly positive emotions of joy, acceptance, and peace.
So freeing, my friend.
Take a look at the stories you choose to tell yourself. Are they serving you or keeping you stuck?