wherethesunisalwayshining

sprinkling positivity

How the way we think causes suffering, not the situation itself.

on March 6, 2015

We tend to blame people or situations for causing us unhappiness and suffering, yet this is not truly the case.

It’s not the situation or people who cause us suffering but the way we think about it, deal with it and react to it.

For example the same unfortunate things happen to people every day, yet each person thinks about that situation differently and has different levels of suffering.

Today I found myself causing myself pain, hurt and more suffering over something that wasn’t very important.

I had been told today I had the afternoon off so I made plans with a lady I met to go swimming in the Billabong. As it is my last week here and I had become friends with this lady, I thought it’d be special to go swimming in it together and sharing the experience. However plans changed and I had to work the lunchtime shift and my friend was leaving straight after lunch so with no one to cover me, it was not possible for me to go swimming with her.

I felt upset, annoyed and angry. I had these plans and I had to work when I was told I didn’t have to.

I was very aware of my feelings, i knew I was upset and angry and was looking for someone to blame.

So I took a step back at the bigger picture, did I enjoy feeling like this? No. Then why was I doing it to myself – It wasn’t the end of the world.

Then another thought piped up – ‘It’s such a nice sunny day though, it would’ve been perfect to go swimming there today, and it would’ve been a great experience before Elenoor left.’

That thought right there was doing no good, only harming myself further – causing me more suffering to feel angrier and upset.

I observed that thought closely and felt how that single sentence in my mind caused me many more negative emotions. Did they change the situation? no. They just made me feel worse so what was the point?

Instead I decided I can look at it a different way, accept that it just wasn’t meant to be. Perhaps there would’ve been a snake or something in there that I avoided, perhaps it wouldn’t of been to my expectation. And I can always go again, perhaps I just need to challenge myself and go alone. There where endless possibilities of ways I could look at the situation in a positive way, that didn’t cause me suffering.

Once I had changed my view of thinking and accepted the situation, I felt a weight had been lifted. It just wasn’t as important anymore, I couldn’t change it but I could change my way of thinking about it.

Every day in life we cause ourselves suffering from viewing situations negatively. When plans change, things dont go our way or how we expected.. it’s easy for negative thoughts to pop up – but we dont have to listen to them.

We can observe our thoughts and feel the emotions they create inside our bodies. Negative emotions don’t tend to feel nice or good to us so surely it makes sense for us to stop and look at the bigger picture, not let the ego react.

Emotions come as a reaction in our body to our thoughts. Think positive thoughts, you will feel happy. Feel negative emotions and you will feel stressed, anxious, fearful, angry, annoyed etc. Maybe like my situation, negative thoughts will pop into your head first and cause you to feel angry and upset, thats ok, just let them flow through you and observe them, then you can decide actually I dont want to feel like this, so i choose to see the situation differently, positively.

There’s always a positive outlook, we just need to find it.

The sun is always shining 🙂

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