Thoughts turn into words. Words turn into beliefs. Beliefs turn into actions and choices. So it really is true: what you think and feel you will be.
Take a look around you. Ask yourself the question: “Who am I today and who do I want to be tomorrow?”
Then, choose differently. It’s as easy as that.
Choose one thought over another, consciously.
Choose to believe that people are essentially caring, thoughtful, kind and generous.
Choose to see the good.
Choose to hear the positive intent behind a questionable statement.
Choose to stand apart from judgment and allow others to be just as they are, right here, right now.
As you choose differently, your responses will be different too. In his book, Man’s Search for Meaning, author Viktor Frankl writes, “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” Imprisoned for three years in Auschwitz and other Nazi concentration camps during World War II, Frankl found that he had a choice. He could succumb to the energy surrounding him, or he could choose his own thoughts and feelings. I don’t think he knew about grounding cords, auras, or thought forms, yet he saw that his power came from the way he responded to his surroundings. He did not allow his imprisonment to imprison him; he sought freedom and peace within.
Frankl’s thoughts and feelings determined his reality. It’s not that the concentration camp didn’t exist; of course it did. However, he did not succumb to the horror of his surroundings. He found a way to allow his surroundings to exist without being dragged into its bowels. He lived. He wrote. He inspired. He understood that our time in that space between stimulus and response holds our power.
You get to choose. Your life is what you make of it. There is a gap, maybe a nanosecond or two, but still a gap, between the feelings of anger, resentment, or frustration and your reaction to that feeling. See if you can sense that gap. Therein lies your power.
Exercise: Finding Your Space between Stimulus and Response
- Next time you are ready to explode with an emotion, sit in solitude, and go within. Find a quiet, meditative spot and take some deep breaths.
- Write about your situation and the emotions you are feeling. Write until your fingers are cramped and your heart is empty. Write it all out, in graphic detail. Get every bit of your anger, your frustration, and your disappointment out of your system.
- When you feel complete, don’t re-read what you wrote. That will only return the strong emotion to your body. Just sit with it. Close your eyes.
- Feel into your body. Sense your body’s quietness, its peace, its calmness.
- Now hit the delete button and watch as all those words vanish from your computer screen. If you’ve written this out by hand, then tear the paper into little bits and throw them away.
- Sit in solitude for a moment longer. Let your body become quiet. Take a few deep breaths. Imagine a column of golden light entering the top of your head and filling you in with peace, tranquility and ease.
- Now, choose your response – consciously. From this space of quiet and peace, look at the situation with new eyes. See it for what it is, not for what you want it to be, or what you think it should be. Give the situation permission to be just as it is. As you do this, you give yourself permission to choose your response.
Make this coming year a year of conscious choice.