My car, my garden, my husband, my house, my workplace, my cat….. insert whatever you like that fits in this statement.
How often do we say and hear other’s say – xx made me feel guilty so I had to do it. Or xx makes me feel angy, Or living with xx makes me feel constantly on edge etc
All of these statements proclaim that things outside of ourselves have the power to make us feel a certain way.
When I heard myself the other day, tellimg someone that my car makes me feel amazing – I caught myself - in other words I became conscious of what I had just said, and how ridiculous it was. On reflection, I realized that I was telling someone that a large piece of shaped metal and rubber was somehow sending out some sort of powerful energy to make the feeling part in me come to life so that I had the sensation of feeling amazing.
The truth of the matter is that it is my own personal thinking about the car and my own personal meaning I take from that thinking that is causing the feeling that I label “amazing”. The leather seats, the comfortable seat, the safety rating, the colour …… are all thoughts about the car that I interpret to mean something.
If the physical car itself was causing me to feel amazing then surely it would make EVERYONE feel the same way – and clearly it doesn’t. And it doesn’t because that is not the way our human experience works.
Each person has different personal thinking about that particular car and then they feel their own thinking. Some will think about the fuel cost and then feel the meaning of that thinking, some will have thinking about the colour and feel the meaning of that thinking, someone else may have thinking about the capital cost and depreciating nature of that car and feel the meaning of that thinking. The felt thinking possibilities are as endless as people on this earth.
The bottom line is that we are only ever feeling our own personal thinking.
So when a relative says to me, I make him happy or I make him feel sad, or I make him feel angry, what they are really experiencing is their own thinking about me in that moment that they are feeling. I don’t have the power to make anyone feel a certain way. And tomorrow or in an hour’s time, they will have different thinking with the associated feeling.
Imagine the responsibility of having to be a certain way to make someone happy – how could you possibly know what they are thinking in any moment that would allow you to be successful!!
Someone can witness my behaviour and have thinking that they then feel about the behaviour. The same behaviour could be interpreted in infinitely different ways based on the thinking of each individual, even if there are several individuals in the room at the time.
Language such as “xx makes me feel ….”, is limiting because it ties our experience to an object or person rather than being aware that our experience is actually being created internally from our own felt thinking about the object or person.
Let me give you an example. If I ask you to imagine a yellow lemon that is only just ripe. Take a knife and cut it in half, and then into quarters and then bring the lemon up to your mouth. What do you notice happening in your mouth as you do this? Has it responded based on thinking about your past experience of a lemon slice in your mouth?
Where is the lemon?
In your own mind – based on your past experience of a lemon, your body responds to your thinking, despite there being no lemon in sight.
Now imagine a smotfum, that is only just ripe. Take a knife and cut it in half and then into quarters and bring it up to your mouth. What do you notice in your mouth?
Is your mind calm or panic’d that it has no reference and doesn’t know how to respond to a smotfum? I bet your mind queried if that’s a typo.
Being aware that all of our experience comes only from our own thinking (based on our personal past and stored experience) allows us to get some distance from it when it is not serving us well.
Next time you hear yourself say :”xx makes me feel….” Check in and see if that is really true, or is it your thinking about that person that is making you feel that way. If you met that person for the very first time with none of your past thinking about them carried through time, how different could your experience be?
Every moment of life is new and fresh, never been before. It can feel like we are in a rut and living each day like the last when we carry old patterns of thought and thinking through time. People don’t change until our thinking about them changes.
Being present, consciously aware of the facts directly infront of us, (minus opinions, judgements, comparisons, predictions which are all made of thought) can radically change our moment to moment experience.
Just see what you notice.
Mind & Body
Wellbeing coach 6.6.22