Saturday, August 14, 2010

Change the Way You Think 7

In my 5th post to this theme I said that words, events and experiences are absolutely meaningless until we as individuals put some kind of meaning to it. What meaning we give it depends on our mindset (6th post to this theme). If you want to change you need to first use your "meaning making" ability. This is one way and probably the easiest one to begin to change your mindset. Provided that you practice to change meanings of whatever happens in your life, even if it is not necessary to do so and then you practice, practice and practice some more.
How do you do it? If you are a woman you can take my example from my 5th post. Imagine that you are in the secretary's position. How would you react? Play the scenario in your mind; see it like a movie from the beginning when the boss said what he said and how he said it; hear it in your mind; observe how you feel. Now react according to your feelings, whatever they are. If you feel flattered, that's fine; indulge in it. If you feel insulted, that's fine too; imagine now what you are going to do to him - remember, it's just a movie and you can let your fantasy run wild. Now imagine what results both your actions could have had. For example if you felt flattered, from there on you might see your boss as a man who has a sexual interest in you. How would this affect you? Workwise and in your private life? On the other hand (you argue with yourself) he might have meant it differently and is not sexually interested in you. This would be quite confusing, wouldn't it? If you felt insulted and you reacted with violence, what could happen? How would it affect you? Consider - as with the previous example - that he may have meant his words differently. That would be quite embarrassing to say the least, wouldn't it?
In order not to be confused and not to change the dynamics of your work environment, you decide now that you are going to change the meaning of this experience. You play the same scenario in the movie theater of your mind, but knowing that your reactions - determined by your feelings - will have quite some impact on your life, you decide that a different reaction would be a wiser choice. You could think that you are not attracted to him, that your peace of mind is very important for you, that you actually enjoy working in this company, or whatever else you can think of to diminish or do away with your original reaction. You could say to yourself and also to him yeah, yeah, yeah I've heard that one before or words to this effect and change the focus of your thoughts from the compliment - if inded it was meant to be a compliment - to something unrelated, something completely different.

For a man something else will work in the same way.
Or you could go into the past and remember an example of a painful or frustrating experience and create your movie of it. Actually this works for both sexes. See, hear and feel what happened and your reaction to it. What would have happened, if you had reacted differently? Pick a few scenarios and experience your emotional reactions to them. Choose the one that is the most useful one for you. This is how you should have reacted in the first place. See it as a learning experience and value it highly, because you have now created a model that can serve you forever. Acknowledge this as a fact and be proud of it.

You see, Sigmund Freud was wrong: it is NEVER the event or the experience that creates your feelings, but your own individual interpretation of it. As you change your interpretation, you change your feelings.

You can read much more about it in Happiness Discovered.
Until next time.

Happiness Discovered by Udo Stadtsbuchler

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