Things are not what they are, they are what we think they are
Every event in our lives come to us as STIMULUS. I see a glass of wine.
We run the stimulus through a filter in our memory called BELIEF. I like wine. Wine is good.
And this elicits a response. I drink the wine.
Here's the thing about beliefs- they are not concrete. Two people see the same plate of liver and onions. One thinks licks their lips with hunger, the other gags. Who is right?
At the scene of an accident four witnesses all give entirely different stories of what happened as they remember it. Whose truth is correct?
Truth is what we choose to believe. If we can learn to reframe our beliefs and our memories to support out intentions and goals we will be happier. Scientific studies have proven that people with a richly woven personal story are happier. It also shows that our brains ability to focus on the happy things in life improves with practice. So if we start re-telling our past in a way that speaks with a positive tone or we resolve to expect good things rather than forecasting negative, we begin to weave a personal story filled with happiness and peace of mind.
It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see.
The holidays are a great time to start practicing.We have a ton of pre-conceived ideas about what the perfect holiday is. Meals served at a specific time, with a set group in attendance and perfectly chosen presents unwrapped by grateful recipients by a roaring fire in a wintry wonderland. If we relax on these expectations we can have just as much fun someplace without snow, with a strangers, lost luggage and no presents. It's all about the filter you chose. Is this stressful or an adventure.
A large part of reframing can come from FORGIVING. This might be forgiving yourself for decisions that don't serve you (like eating too much chocolate or gossiping). It might also be forgiving others. A child of an abusive parent might to chose to forgive their parent in order to let go of hurt & anger and to break the cycle of abuse. A note about forgiveness- forgiving someone DOES NOT mean you are condoning their actions, just that you are releasing any need to hold on to hurt, anger or sadness.
How do you know if you are done? When you have given up all hope of a better past.