One of the first concepts I teach my clients is that the circumstances in our lives are neutral ~ just facts ~ and so it’s not the situation we’re in that’s causing us to be happy or sad, excited or nervous, or even calm or angry. Rather, it’s what we’re thinking about our circumstances that determine how we feel.
Take a bouquet of flowers. When my husband brings flowers home for me I feel loved. It lets me know he was listening when I told him I like fresh flowers because they brighten the room. It shows me that he’s been thinking of me while we were apart. And as I’m arranging them in a vase it reminds me of a YW leader I loved who taught me the nuances of flower arranging. So, for me, when my husband walks through the door with flowers in his hand, I feel loved.
But I know other wives who, when they see their husbands come home with flowers, don’t necessarily see it as a gesture of love, but rather more work for them to do. “Now I have to find a vase, trim the flowers, and try to keep them alive for a while.”
This doesn’t mean I’m a more grateful wife than one who doesn’t appreciate flowers. This simply shows how the situation is neutral ~ husband brings home flowers ~ and how this simple, neutral act can invoke different thoughts and feelings, which proves it’s not the flowers that are causing the gratitude or angst, but what we’re thinking.
Why does this even matter? Because if it’s the situation that’s causing our misery, then we’re doomed to be miserable until the situation changes (which is often out of our control). But the situation is always neutral.
Even your son not going to church anymore.
Even finding hidden drug paraphernalia in your son’s closet.
Even the judgments of a sister at Church.
Circumstances are neutral ~ and that’s the good news, because what you think and feel about what’s going on is completely up to you.
If you understand this in theory but can’t wrap your mind around it in your own situation, you’re definitely not alone. And this is where the power of coaching can be so instrumental. If you want help in separating out the facts and what you’re thinking about them in your own situation, schedule a free mini-session now and I’ll help you see the difference.