Every emotion you feel isn’t real.
It’s a story.
It’s completely made up.
Just like the fanciful stories that parents read to little children at night, we concoct the same stories to ourselves.
Whether we’re the triumphant hero or the oppressed victim, both are simply stories. The stories we tell ourselves.
Everything that happens in the world – what people say or do, how our body looks or feels, what’s going on in our surroundings – those are all just facts.
It’s a fact this person said this thing.
It’s a fact my body is dealing with this certain condition.
But the meaning we give the facts – that’s the story we tell ourselves.
More often than not, we give things a meaning that we are the victim. How do we know we’ve chosen the victim story? Because we are experiencing unhappy emotions.
Anytime – everytime – we feel unhappy, it’s because we’ve told ourselves a victim story. Our emotions are the result of the story we tell ourselves.
As Marcus Aurelius so powerfully noted:
Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.
Another quote by the same stoic philosopher and Roman emperor makes it even clearer:
Our life is what our thoughts make it.
If our emotions are simply the result of the story we tell ourselves – and they are – then all we need to do to experience joy is to change our thoughts. By changing the story we tell ourselves.
The story is simply the meaning we give everything that goes on in our lives. We get to choose the thoughts we have about anything. About everything.
So the next time we catch ourselves feeling unhappy, we can remember that it’s just a story we are telling ourselves. We’re giving a particular situation a meaning in which we are the victim. We’ve chosen victim thoughts.
Once we make that incredibly liberating observation, we can simply make a different choice. And experience a completely different reality.
Join me in Monday’s class where we’ll explore the stories we tell ourselves, and how we can make a different choice that leads to happiness. I look forward to seeing you then.