Thoughts Create Everything
I saw a brilliant explainer video this week on the theory of relativity. Go watch it. I’ll wait.
In a nutshell, what you perceive, relative to an event, exists at the same time as every other perception of that event, including the point of origination—and each is correctly RELATIVE to that point of view (the science is explained in the video—I’m serious, go watch it).
What one person perceives about a situation is just as correct as what another person perceives. The idea of an empirical point of view is a lot harder to nail down because it would need to be a superset of an infinite number of perceptions.
Where am I going with this, you wonder?
There is something I say to people in coaching sessions—I adopted it early on and it still serves.
When you are able to step back and look at the thoughts you are having about a situation, choose the thought that empowers you the most.
We can look at the things in our lives in many different ways. We have the perceptions we have because of the things we are told, the things we experience, and the weight we give to each of these influencing factors. In a word, our beliefs.
On Friday, I had an interaction with a person I care about that left me feeling disheartened. I felt so bad that I started coming up with a variety of paths I wanted to go down as a reaction to that—all of them enormously short-sighted.
The thoughts I had about what happened were very compelling—they involved lots of negative opinions about situations and people. I had a pall over me the entire day—the things I planned for the evening didn’t sound like fun anymore. My energy had dropped like a rock. I didn’t have the power or desire that I had when I started the day.
My thoughts were spoiling my weekend and my weekend hadn’t even started!
When I shared my perception of what happened, my loved ones were aghast and wanted to make me feel better and validated my perceptions. The validation felt nice, but I still didn’t like how I felt about what happened.
I knew that I was letting my feelings get away from me and drive me in a non-productive direction—one that wouldn’t help me or the person on the other end of the interaction.
This is what being able to self-coach does. Gives you a moment to take a break, get out of your story, and reframe.
I decided to bake. Baking over the years has been my Switzerland for emotions—allowing me to put me in the moment, do something I feel enormously successful at, and to get some space. I improvised a batch of cardamom rolls with dried cherries and orange peel.
I didn’t do any baking over the holidays. The idea of baking dozens of cookies when I already had too much to do felt difficult and stressful. But now, baking felt creative and light-hearted.
Two different points of view. Two different sets of feelings. Same general activity.
(BTW, the rolls were outstanding—if you want the recipe, send me a message)
I made an appointment with my own coach to work through my remaining thoughts and to come up with a productive approach to the next time I see this person (which I will).
As I look over my life, I can see where my thoughts supported me and where my thoughts derailed me. For the times I allowed my thoughts to derail me, I can only give that version of myself a hug because honestly, it was the best I knew how to do in the moment from my point of view, beliefs, and experience.
Even now, when things go poorly in the moment, I can step back and look at those events with compassion.
A point of view developed over a lifetime doesn’t change overnight.
Knowing you can choose a new thought is a way to take back your life. Choosing the new thought takes awareness, willingness, and practice.
I’m still practicing.