Never as good, never as bad
One thing that I have learned from my own personal experiences as well as via the stories my clients tell me, is that the actual reality- the real event is never quite as good as we think it will be nor it is usually as bad as expect it to be.
One of my long term clients recently said to me that her mind takes her off on all sorts of mad journeys where one thoughts spirals into another whereby she ends up “catastrophising” a possible future event before it has even happened. Some Scientists believe that the brain cannot tell the difference between an imagined and an actual event and if this is the case, we are setting ourselves up for stressful physiological events that may never come to pass.
How often have you imagined the future, thinking about how awful you will feel, how humiliated you might be or how you will mess up an opportunity – only to find that when you finally got round to actually experiencing the event, it wasn’t as bad as you had expected? This seems to be what the majority of us experience and we don’t seem to learn the lesson. Even though the event is better than we anticipated, the next time we are in the same or similar situation, we relive the same experience all over again.
The same goes for positive experiences: we often wistfully observe drivers in their flashy cars going by or we see a well dressed person in designer clothing and imagine that they must have an exciting fulfilling life. When you have never experienced wealth as we see in the media and celebrity world, we can easily assume that what we do not have will be the answer to all our current problems. The truth is, thoughts about how happy material goods will make us, or how keeping a full social calendar will keep us satisfied are mistakenly held. Whatever your assumptions are that lead you to believe that obtaining something will make you happier than you are right now, it is time to challenge them. You are living with irrational beliefs and this will lead your current position in life to be less pleasurable.
Where you are right now is fine and even if it could be better, believing happiness can only be achieved through an external means is a sad misguided way to live. The truth is, feeling satisfied and content is a choice. I know – it sounds so simplistic and stupid but it is true. This is real wisdom. Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, your power of perception and the attitude you choose will be the most powerful predictor of your contentment and enjoyment of life.
When you realise that life is never quite as bad or as good as we think it will be, it makes sense to choose the right attitude in the present moment and go with that.
A great book related to the above post:
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