Updated: Apr 4
I remember asking my male doctor once, during a routine checkup– when is the best time to have a baby?
It was as if I was asking permission, wanting to get it right. I genuinely thought for me there must be a specific special time that when I planned I properly according to my biological clock, everything would go smoothly and turn out the way it should. And he was a doctor so he would have the right answer!
The doctor of course looked incredulously at me – as if he knew my personal status, my financial status my relationship status, my career status and any other status that might be important to the decision of when to have a baby – or for that matter, whether to have one at all.
This phenomenon I now know I was displaying is called Being At Effect – the converse and desired way of Being is At Cause.
I had a view of my world – this way of Being At Effect for many years still to come after that. It’s a wonder I became as successful at reaching my life goals as I did! You see, I thought that what went on inside my head and body was largely due to what happened around me, the people, the events, the situations – and I just had to react to them as they arose. I also believed that everyone else had the same view of the world as I did, that we all saw things the same way and had the same experience given we were in a similar situation. That others’ often exerted control over me and I should even allow it. Being At Effect could be termed being a Victim. It comes with feelings of powerlessness and language of I cant, I wont, Im not good enough, I should, I need to why did, and other such negative language.
All quite formulaic, like asking someone else when was the best time for me to have a baby.
Other examples of being At Effect:
Like when a friend didn’t accept my dinner invitation that they made me feel rejected – I made it so other people had control over how I was feeling.
Like blaming the weather for how I was in a bad mood – as if the weather had this power over me like a puppeteer.
I had a view of the world that meant that external factors and people were the reason for my problems. I blamed others’ for the circumstances I found myself in, such as my car breaking down . I justified my own actions to escape responsibility, as when a gate wasn’t shut and the cows got into a saved feed crop.
This view of the world changed for me when I studied NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming ie, brain, language, patterns) looking for a solution to why I was feeling stuck in life after having achieved the pretty large 45year goals.
The Phenomenon of being At Cause or At Effect is a model of how we as individuals view the world. Whether we believe internally that we control what happens to us from the inside out ie – our reality unfolds within us (Being At Cause) or whether we believe that the external world is in control of what happens to us and we have no choice ie, life happens TO US.(Being At Effect)
From a place of Being At Cause, we take responsibility for our actions where we knowingly have a choice. You can take ownership of your actions and reactions because you realise you do have a choice on how you deliver your responses. As Eckhart Tolle says – Accept or Act in the NOW
As a result of this model, our language changes along with our radar of what the brain references and searches for. I can, I will, I have, I choose, are examples of such positive framing.
As a result of this At Cause knowledge, I purposefully now look for what is going well, what I can control, what power I do have in a situation. And while I don’t always get it right, it is a much better place to live from when I know that only I can make me feel a certain way. It is how I internally interpret situations, relationships and events that allows me to respond in a way that makes me feel in control of me and colours my world.
Depression can be a thing of the past when you Be At Cause.
Of course I am not talking about being Polly Anna about this and making stuff up that is not true. Im not talking about being disingenuously from rose coloured glasses when this is not the case.
Im talking more about reframing the situation you find yourself in so that when you see it from a different perspective the way you see it changes.
Open questions are a great way to see a situation from a different perspective eg, What about this breakdown is great? Versus “Why did this breakdown happen to me?”
Do you notice that when you ask both of these questions your brain dishes up completely different references – yet it is still the same situation and I suggest that the outcome will be different for you internally depending on whether you asked an At Cause question or the At Effect question.
Getting back to the baby question. I decided that NOW was as good a time as any, and as it turned out I had 5 children in 4 years – cheating unwittingly with a set of twins. And was it the right time? Making the decision myself meant that I took responsibility, ownership and accountability for all of the pregnancies that brought huge challenges and huge joys.
I might add, I only see this in hindsight. At the time I blamed a whole pile of people including myself for an abnormal pregnancy. Did that help me? No! Did I learn from the experience? Yes. Depression, broken relationships, having to do uncomfortable things taught me so much and make me the stronger person I am today. If I had stayed At Effect I may still be stuck in mid-life.
The knowledge of Being At Cause earlier in life would undoubtedly made life easier to navigate and likely taken my career down a different path. Would I do it differently – No!
Life is full of challenges and new experiences and if we wait until the time is right, sometimes we don’t act at all. Making the decision is one thing, following it through and having the experience of that decision rightly or wrongly, good or bad will typically allow you to grow as a person and maybe that is what life and its lessons is all about.
I do know that I didn’t grow children as much as they grew me! At Cause, and At Peace!