It’s fascinating that as humans, we’ve been saying the same stuff for centuries, constantly thinking it’s a new revelation.
“We are what we think. With our thoughts we make the world.” Buddha c. 563/480 – c. 483/400 BCE
“Men are disturbed, not by things, but by the principles and notions which they form concerning things.”
Epictetus – Greek Stoic philosopher c. 55 – 135 AD
“…for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”
Shakespeare – 1564 – 1616
Hamlet Act 2, Scene 2
“It all depends on how we look at things, and not how they are in themselves.”
Carl Jung 1875-1961
The lesson from all of these is that events in themselves have no meaning, except for that which we assign to them. The interesting opportunity is to examine that, the meaning we assign, not the event itself.
A few of the key reflection questions that I work through with clients – and which you can work through on your own – are how what is it about this event that is so significant to me and why? How am I interpreting this in terms of my sense of identity, what do I believe it says about me? How does this relate to my hopes, dreams, fears, or my deeply held values? What is being triggered for me here?
That’s where the clues lie to help us become more self aware, to see and understand.
The goal is not to ‘get over’ things, but to get curious and see our reactions clearly.
This is where the magic starts.