Move the Meaning
“People only see what they are prepared to see.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
Because we are all unique, because we all have different beliefs, values, life experiences and thoughts, no two people view life the same. In coaching terms we call this your ‘map of the world’. No one’s map is right or wrong, it is a matter of perception.
Two people can participate in the exact same experience but come away with completely different interpretations of that event. What determines the quality of life is the meaning we give the events that happen and the choices we make as a result of those meanings. It is not events in your life that shape you. It is the meaning you give those events.
There are countless stories of people who have lived through horrendous situations but who chose to use this event for a higher purpose, growth, for the greater good. They could have allowed this event to destroy them but they embraced it and rose higher.
We choose what thoughts, emotions and behaviours we will assign to an event. So often we carry around for years the pain, guilt, resentment or anger about an incident in our past. It affects the quality of our lives and relationships. What would happen if we chose to review that incident and give it a different interpretation? What if you were to give it new meaning and free yourself from those harmful emotions? Think of an event in your life that triggers a negative reaction and ask yourself these questions –
- What meaning did I decide to give this event?
- If you were to look at it differently, what would it look like?
- What meaning could I give this event?
It’s important to remember also that other people are making choices about their emotions, thoughts and behaviours based on their map of the world. This does not condone harmful behaviour, but it does give us another perspective on why some people do what they do.
How you feel about your life is entirely up to you. You have the power to change how you relate to the world and how you experience it. This does not diminish your experience, but allows you the freedom to live it, learn from it and move on. I have seen many times while coaching clients the ‘light coming on’ and the relief when they assign another meaning or different meaning to an event and they are released.
Move the meaning and you move!