I slowly pushed the Kleenex box across the table towards her as soon as that first tear ejected itself from the corner of her eye and began wending its ways down her right cheek.
Only moments earlier she had begun telling me how hard her life has been since her seven year relationship with the ‘love of her life’ had suddenly come to an unexpected end.
As she relayed the story her demeanour rapidly shifted from clear, calm, rational and factual to erratic, strained, emotional and tearful.
It seems the @&$%head had been having an affair with that ‘bimbo’ in his office for some time and she had come home early one afternoon to find him loading his clothes into one of ‘their’ brand new travel bags. He informed her that he was leaving because he ‘couldn’t take it anymore’ and was moving in with whatshername.
And here she was, in my office, reliving every painful moment of that experience as she was telling me her story.
She blamed herself for the failure of her relationship and her sense of self worth had plummeted to subterranean levels.
And the more she spoke of this experience, the more upset she became. And the more upset she became, the more of my Kleenex she destroyed.
She told me she had spent the last two months crying and the more she thought about her situation, the more she cried.
Just when I thought I would have to dash down to the storage room for more supplies she took a deep breath, looked at me expectantly and asked if I could shed some enlightenment on her plight.
I hurriedly explained that the Enlightenment Department was across the hall in Dr. Pat’s office and that I was merely the Perspective Department.
And so I talked with her about a few other topics that I thought might be helpful to her.
I told how I firmly believe that many of us have a tendency to take two, or more, events in our lives that are completely disconnected from each other and join them together in a cause and effect relationships as if there is a true, irrefutable, unbreakable chain linking them.
In other words we believe the first event causes the second event.
For example, if we get cut off by another driver we often become, angry, mad, furious, enraged or outright ballistic.
And we blame this outburst on the other driver.
It’s his fault that we’re mad.
And we are powerless to respond in any other way.
Getting cut off was nothing more than an event in our lives.
An event over which we had no control, but an event nevertheless.
And events in our lives have absolutely no meaning.
Other than the meaning we choose to give them.
So that fury was simply a choice we made.
One of many choices we could have made.
You see an event in our lives is an event in our lives.
It is what it is.
And that’s all it is.
We then attach meaning to that event and it is that meaning that has impact on us.
Not the event.
And very often we have no control over the event.
But we always get to choose the meaning.
Isn’t that great news?
Isn’t that amazingly empowering.
We can place any meaning we choose on any and every experience in our lives.
And then that meaning determines the impact, or affect, of that experience on us.
And my friend realized that the pain she was feeling was from the meaning she placed on @&$%head breaking up with her.
Not from the act of @&$%head breaking up with her.
And began to explore the possibility of attaching a new meaning to the end of her relationship.
And after a few minutes of deep thought she looked up at me with a huge grin, probably her first in several months, and said, “@&$%head breaking up with me means I am now free to find someone who will love and appreciate me for the wonderful human being I truly am.
“You know,” she continued, “as silly as that seems, just thinking of that is helping me feel much stronger and more positive than I was just few moments ago.”
That was several months ago and this week she dropped by to tell me that she was working hard at applying this philosophy to all areas of her life.
She was evaluating her experiences and selecting powerful, positive new meanings for many of them.
And those meaning were producing powerful, positive feelings.
And life was good. It was great.
And there was this terrific new guy…
And it was all because of me.
And how could she ever repay me?
Well, how about a box of Kleenex?
Till we read again.
P.S. I am proud to announce that I am finally a member of an elite club. This week I received my first ever hate email which earns me membership in the company of those who have received the same. The email was in response to last week’s blog on Racism and the writer took exception to my thoughts. The email was vile and profane and, naturally, was written by a person brave enough to hide behind the obscure anonymity of a vague email address. It takes a great deal of courage to hide in the shadows and throw stones and clearly, my new pen pal possesses exactly, and only, that amount of courage. He must be so very proud of himself. In keeping with the theme of this week’s blog that events in our lives have only the meaning we place on them I can only conclude that a person who spews forth this type of vitriolic hatred must have such limited capacity for thought that his life must exude pathetic non-fulfillment. For me, this type of gutless response can only have one possible meaning: DELETE.
P.P.S. I am approaching the mark of 3,000 books sold. I’m not quite there yet. If you would like a to buy a copy of my book Life Sinks or Soars – the Choice is Yours please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or click here and my friends at Self Connection will ship a copy to you immediately.
Not sure whether to order a copy? Read a free chapter and let me know what you think.