The Richard Nicholls Podcast

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Episode 132: There Is Nothing Either Good Or Bad

As Old Bill Shakespeare once said "There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so"
It’s true, it’s only our interpretation of what happens that makes something either good or bad, our thought processes dictate our reality.

Even our personality, our belief about self, is directly driven by our thought processes. We create our personality and our belief system by conforming to our own internal expectations, and by repeating behaviours until the feel automatic.
But, your personality wasn’t given to you at birth. It was developed over time as you interacted with the world and maybe picked up on other peoples beliefs. Their beliefs about themselves, the world, maybe someone else’s beliefs about you.

And so, the way we interact with the world isn’t always in the same way that it interacts with us. We often use our pre-existing view of what is happening to interpret things differently.

I think one of the most important things to recognise is that we shouldn’t give meaning to events, as we can easily use our pre-existing belief to create the wrong meaning and then see things with the wrong perspective and be upset over an event for no reason.

For example, if your boss shouts at you it doesn’t mean that you’re useless. There could be many reasons why your boss is angry, it might mean that they’re going through a tricky divorce and that’s nothing to do with you.

Often I get home from work to find that my son has taken off his school jumper and dumped it in the corner of the room.
He regularly forgets about it and may even go to bed with the jumper still left, crumpled and ignored in the corner of the room.

What does this mean?

Does it mean “I like taking advantage of my Dad, he can tidy up after me, ‘cos he’s a jerk”?
No, it means he got hot, took his jumper off and forgot about it.

If you put meaning to an event, then the event can lead to an emotion.
But, the event itself isn’t what created the emotion. It was our own specific meaning behind it that did that. So if we can separate the meaning from the emotion then you change the way it makes you feel.

If ever you find yourself upset over something, look at the event that caused it, a thought process or maybe something external.
Whatever happened prior to the feeling was an event, and the meaning behind the event caused the feeling.

Once you realise that the meaning is in your mind, not in the external world, the feeling can disappear.

That doesn’t mean trying to suppress emotion though!

There’s a difference between suppressing an emotion and dissolving the meaning that causes the emotion.
Ignoring your emotions and trying to bury them does not help, it just causes more and more anxiety instead.

But looking at alternative meanings behind the event that caused the emotion in the first place will make you a much happier person.

Try it, practise looking for different meanings behind an event and see if you can dissolve some negativity from your life.