I was talking to my dear friend and coach Dimi yesterday. I remarked on how I’d exercised my courage plenty of times over the last couple of weeks and none of negative consequences I’d imagined has come to pass. I needn’t have been so anxious or fearful. Dimi nodded his head and said, “Yup, everything is in your head!”
It’s quite a mind-bending concept, if you think about it. We think that the world we perceive around us is outside of us. In reality, it’s all in our heads…all of it. What we see outside are constructs in our own minds. Each of us is creating entire universes in our heads. That’s the only way we are able to perceive the universes that lie outside. But consider this – what we perceive isn’t objectively exactly as it is outside. Our minds add layers of meanings which makes each of our experiences unique. In that sense, the universes we create are all different and unique.
Everything is a story you tell yourself
The mind is a fascinating thing. When it thinks about something, it constructs whole stories around it. And those stories spring from our history, experiences, biases, metal conditioning. In that sense, everything is subjective. Here’s the crazy thing, though – we can control or change those stories. It might not be easy or fast (or it might) but the very fact that we can is empowering. Of course, I don’t mean to say that you put a positive spin on horrific things and start viewing them as good stuff. Far from it. What I am suggesting is that you see the events for what they are while also recognizing the potential to create a redemptive or an empowering story at the end of it. Let’s say you’re the victim of a sexual assault. What happened to you was definitely horrific – there were crimes committed against you. But you can choose to grow and become a powerful person because of it or allow it to break you. It’s all about the story you tell yourself.
Talking about more day-to-day affairs, though, knowing that everything is a story you’re telling yourself helps intercept disempowering thought patterns and see things in a more helpful way. For instance, this past week, I was feeling anxious about letting an online community that I’m a part of know that I didn’t want to continue hosting certain zoom sessions. I imagined all sorts of consequences such as people becoming angry or upset while what actually happened was that they were very understanding. The story I told myself was so off and I could have spared myself a lot of unnecessary anxiety.
Create better universes by choosing better stories
“The most important decision we make is whether we believe we live in a friendly or hostile universe.”
It was Einstein who said that. If you choose to tell yourself the story that you live in a friendly universe – that the world around you is working for you instead of around you -your experience of life will be so different from if you believe that you live in a hostile, unfriendly universe. You’ll have an open, curious, and welcoming stance towards whatever happens compared to a wary, suspicious, combative stance.
Remember, it’s all in your head. All of it. And you get to choose what you construct in there.