In every moment of our life, we have the option to choose how we perceive our experience. It’s easy to believe that what is occurring in our life shouldn’t have happened that way the things have gone wrong and that things should have gone differently. The problem with that thinking is that we become so wed to it and so invested in it that we believe it is the truth of our experience. We believe that what is happening to us in our world is bad and negative.
I recently worked with a client who was challenged by two women that she was working with. She believed that these women were the source of her unhappiness. She believed that they were the reasons she needed to leave her job. She believed that her job was not going the way she had wanted it to go. She was so invested in these beliefs and in the mentality that made her the victim and them the villain that she could not see her way out.
Through coaching, I worked with her to try and show her that all of these thoughts and beliefs were nothing more than choices and opinions in her head. Her opinions were not true for anyone unless she chose to make them true. And she was invested in making them true for herself. When I challenged her to think differently about her experience I was met with strong defensiveness. Immediately, she challenged me and asked if I was trying to get her to think pretty thoughts about these bad experiences in her life. Those of you that work with me know that my goal is never to shift you to prettier thoughts; my goal is simply to open up your awareness to the possibility that there are other ways of thinking about things — that there may be more than one “truth” about a given situation.
There is never just one truth. There are multiple truths that can coexist at the same time.
For her, I needed first to get her to a place of neutrality where she could recognize that her perceptions of the experience were just that: choices. Her perceptions. Her opinions. And she could change them to something else. It didn’t mean that she needed to shift to something happier. We can always choose to live with those negative perceptions and interpretations of our life. But the power there comes from our choosing to feel negatively about those experiences and to think negatively about those experiences. My goal in teaching my clients to work through these challenges is to see that they are in fact making a choice. No experience is inherently negative. No fact of our life is inherently bad. We choose to make it bad. We choose to make it negative.
My goal in working with these clients is just to break loose that death grip that we have on our negative perceptions of reality and to open their eyes to that negativity bias and to be open to the possibility that there is always more than one truth available to us.
It doesn’t mean shifting from believing that our boss is the devil Incarnate to believing that he’s a saint. What it simply means is instead of living in the mind space where we always see our boss as a horrible human being and treating it as a hard fact, we shift to a mental space where we can see that he is there to teach us something about ourselves about our journey. For my client, what I wanted her to see was that she was choosing to be negative and to believe that this situation she found herself in was inherently negative. That was just a choice and she had complete authority to choose something different. She could choose instead to believe that this was part of her path. That it was time for a change. That truth could be equally as true as her belief that this was a bad outcome of her dreams. The choice was ultimately hers and each choice would dramatically impact how she showed up and experienced her time at that workplace.
Through my coaching programs, I help my clients to take complete authority over their life experiences. To take ownership of every emotion they experience and to consciously CHOOSE how they want to feel and what they want to believe about their lives.
“You see persons and things not as they are but as YOU are.”
What does your perception have to teach you about yourself?