Thoughts vs. Circumstances

When I work with my clients, we talk about the difference between our thoughts and our circumstances.  Circumstances are the facts about something.  Facts are something we can all agree on or can be proven in a court of law.  Circumstances are neutral until we have a thought about them.  Our thoughts are the sentences in our minds that give meaning to the circumstance or the way we interpret the circumstance for our lives.  It is where all the drama lies about the circumstance.

It may be hard, at first, to see the difference between the circumstance and the thought.

For instance, a client may think that they can’t cut down or stop drinking because their partner drinks.  The circumstance is that their partner drinks (a fact that can be proven) and the thought is “I can’t cut back on my drinking if my partner is drinking.”  She is choosing to think and believe this thought.  This is not fact.  I have witnessed spouses cut back or quitting drinking while their spouse still drinks.  It is totally doable.  Someone else’s behavior does not have to influence yours.  If you are not a smoker, would you become one if suddenly your partner started smoking?

When we realize that our thoughts generate our feelings and not our circumstances, we gain so much power and control.

It is important to separate the circumstance from our thoughts.

When we realize that our thoughts generate our feelings (and our actions) and not our circumstances, we gain so much power and control.  And this is great news.  We know that facts don’t hurt us – they are neutral.  We can look at the circumstance from a more objective space and allow our mind to open up to other thoughts that can help us get closer to our goal.  We may not be able to change our circumstance in that moment, but we can change the thoughts we are having about the circumstance. And that can change everything.

Others do not control our behaviors. We create our lives mostly with our minds.

We attach to our stories about things and feel justified in thinking the way we do.  Our brain will seek out evidence to proof it’s true.  If you had a bad day, you don’t have to drink.  You don’t have to be at the mercy of your surroundings or your circumstances.  You can take back the control in your life.  You can accept your reality and that you, and only you, have the power to change your experience of your life by choosing how you want to think about it.  The choose is yours for the taking.

We are responsible for our actions.

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