This quote got me to thinking about a challenging situation in my own life which has been going on much too long….almost a decade….conflict with my ex-husband. I will more than readily admit that for most of that time, I contributed to this pattern unconsciously with gusto.
Over the past couple of years, I have grown tremendously emotionally and spiritually. I read and try put to practice in my own life the teachings and philosophies of everything from Buddhism to the latest brain science. It’s a learning process, but I do pretty well these days. “Why does this #@%# situation still persist?” I wonder with frustrated exasperation and sometimes mindful curiosity.
In my counseling session, I asked about this quote. The therapist’s answer was an aha moment for me. I was interpreting the quote to mean that when you have learned the lesson – graduated with the diploma in hand, as I thought I had – that the challenge would literally cease to exist in your life.
She showed me a different perspective.
When You Change Your Way of Thinking, You Change Your Life
She suggested that when you have learned the wisdom a situation has to teach you, it may still be present in your life, but it is no longer challenging or troublesome. Whatever “it” is doesn’t hook you or get an emotional reaction anymore. It’s just there. Part of the background of your life. Ho-hum. No big deal.
The circumstances can still be present, but, the problem goes away — vanishes because it no longer causes distressing thoughts or emotions for you. You don’t see it as a problem anymore. The only thing that’s changed is your way of thinking about it.
I thought “Of course! Why didn’t I see this before?” because I knew the same principle to be true in other cases. As happens often in situations in which we’re emotionally entangled, I wasn’t objectively applying my wisdom here. I guess my relations with the ex will probably always be emotionally charged situations, but I have come a long way towards diffusing them. It’s business, as usual, these days, pretty much no matter what arises there.
Hardly anything ever even gets a reaction from me anymore. When something does manage to hook me, it’s usually very fleeting, and I look closely at the issue to see what it has to teach me instead of flipping out and taking a ride on the emotional roller coaster. Feels good to get off of it.
Here are two perfect examples of how simply reframing something in my mind and how changing my thoughts about something can literally alter my reality. The first example is shifting my perspective of the actual quote, and the second is changing my thinking about the situation with the ex-husband.
I’m sure I’ll get hooked and hijacked on some level again in the future. I have no doubt about that. However, now that I’m aware of this mental health tool — almost a magic trick, I can move even further towards having “the problem” vanish from my life.
image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/kathyroom17/