It’s Never the Situation; It’s Always the Thought That Causes You to Suffer

November 14, 2017



One of the greatest concepts of resiliency is this: It’s never the situation that causes you to suffer. It’s always your thoughts about the situation that cause you to suffer.


For example, if you lose your job, you will likely think your anxiety is caused by the job loss itself, but the true cause of your suffering is the thought-track running through your head: “I am never going to find another job, and I’m going to run out of money, and my family is going to starve.”


On the other hand, it is possible for someone to lose their job and have a more positive thought-track running through their head: “I didn’t really like that job. It wasn’t a good fit. I’m going to find a better job that fulfills my needs. The money has always worked itself out in the past, and there’s no reason to think it won’t work itself out this time.” This person would not be suffering the same level of anxiety even if all other factors were the same—because thoughts, not situations, cause emotions.


This is great news, because we cannot always control situations, but we can always choose better-feeling thoughts.


What this means is that feeling better is within our own control—no matter the circumstances.


There is always a slightly better-feeling way to think about every situation. And though it is not always easy to take your mind off of a compellingly negative thought, you do have a choice about which thoughts to focus on at any given time.


Just like you can train your body to be physically fit, you can train your mind to focus on thoughts that feel better.


So, start noticing the thoughts causing your emotions, and start choosing to think about the situations you are facing in slightly more positive ways. Even subtle shifts towards the positive will make you feel significantly better.


Which thought can you shift so that you can feel a little more positive today? Leave a comment here, if you feel like sharing.


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