It’s not the situation but the thoughts I have about it that affect how I feel and respond. The way I perceive and interpret influences the storyline I feel that I'm living. As Byron Katie says, anytime I argue with reality, I suffer. Each and every time I hold firmly to the thought that things should be other than they are, I pay for it.
A ‘maladaptive’ thought is any thought that doesn’t support my joy, any thought that doesn’t allow me to adapt to ‘what is’ and any thought that increases my resistance to the present moment.
“This shouldn’t be like this.” “I wish this situation were different.” These thoughts and others like them corner me into my own dissatisfaction and mislead me to believe that I somehow need to change or manipulate the situation to alleviate my self-made discomfort.
Is this thought promoting my joy? Is this interpretation of reality creating expansion or contraction in me? Do I feel good when I think this thought? Does this story serve me?
Yes, I may wish things looked differently at times. Yes, I may have had different expectations than what is playing out, but there is always the choice to either focus on the beauty of ‘what is’ or to zero-in on what’s missing according to my interpretation of reality.
I know that when I focus on the gap, I lose every time.
Appreciation closes the gap faster than anything else I know of.
Paradoxically though, sometimes you need to listen to the discomfort making itself known in the moment and listen deeply to find its roots. Sometimes dissatisfaction has an important story to tell, one that will lead you into greater self-knowledge, your own personal evolution, and the deepening of your relationships.
Our reactions and responses take root in our histories, our ancestral patterns, and other aspects of our wiring. These are so worth investigating.
Other times remedying the situation is so much simpler than rewiring your thinking or even digging deep. If you have a pebble in your shoe you might want to get it out of there versus trying to have positive thoughts about it!
But for those situations that are beyond our control, or for those that seem to linger, leaning into discovery, tweaking our thinking and reworking the inner story can go a long way.