How do we deal with the fact that the world around us is going to be not so great sometimes?
How do we deal with the fact that people are going to betray us— even people who we should be able to trust?
How do we deal with the fact that many times, we just don’t get what we want or need?
Even if we do everything we can to achieve our goals, to nurture good relationships, to get our needs met…there are going to be times when we lack, we hurt, when we’re disappointed.
It’s GOING to happen. If you’re reading this, I don’t need to tell you that much of life is figuring out how to cope with disappointment and pain.
The truth is, there are lots of things we can do to feel and function better, even when we’re in situations that aren’t ideal, situations that hurt, situations that remind us of how little control we have over our external world…but all of these things begin and end with influencing our internal world.
I call it the Kingdom Within, or the Interior Castle, or the Memory Palace.
We shape our interior world…though many of us grow up assuming that we do not shape it.
The fact is, growing up, we’re not really taught that we are in control of what happens in our minds and hearts.
We kind of grow up assuming that the things we think and the things we feel are the result of the things we experience…and, to a certain extent, that’s true.
The things we experience strongly influence what happens in our interior world— what we think and what we feel.
But the real truth is that the things we experience don’t have to completely determine what happens inside our minds and hearts.
We can change the patterns of what we think and what we feel through conscious, intentional, disciplined effort.
It is not a process that is easy— and I would never imply that it is.
But it is doable. And it’s really, really important to figure out how to do.
It’s kind of the most important skill any of us have to learn in our lifetimes.
If someone struggles to do this, I would never blame that person for this struggle. Changing what we think and feel is hard— and we don’t get a lot of support or guidance from the world around us.
(In fact, the world around us very often tells us the opposite— that we need to purchase products or services in order to change what we think and feel. Advertisers would strongly prefer we forget that we’re in charge of our internal worlds…even without their products and services.)
It’s a fine line between acknowledging that we are in control of our internal worlds, that we rule our hearts and minds, that with the right guidance and practice we can shape and define what we think and feel…and blaming ourselves for struggling, for not consistently feeling great, for not seeming to have a firm grasp on what we think and feel and do.
Don’t blame yourself for not feeling great. Don’t be harsh with yourself for struggling to shape and influence your interior world. You weren’t taught how, and you weren’t programmed with the belief that you could.
Self-blame isn’t helpful. You can’t bully yourself into empowerment.
Start asking yourself what it might feel like to really believe that you are in control of your internal world.
Start visualizing what that would look like.
Start wondering what you would choose to feel, and think about, and do, if you had absolute control over what you think, feel, and do.
All change starts with belief and visualization.
And those activities cost you literally nothing.
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