While I don’t have the answer to that one, I can tell you the thought or belief comes before the experience.
If you can accept that as true at least the majority of the time, it can change your life. Even if you are just willing to believe it’s possible and will look at some of your life experiences differently as a result, it can have a profound impact on your happiness—and how well you achieve your goals.
Most people are unwilling to see their past experiences with any other interpretation than the one they gave it in the moment and have been recounting for years. They think, “That experience was hurtful to me. End of story.”
But what if it’s not? What if it’s your very interpretation that is keeping that painful experience alive for you? That is limiting you? That is holding you back from the body and life of your dreams?
Don’t believe me?
I’ll give you an example of how I shifted an interpretation of a painful experience to one that now inspires me and fills me with appreciation.
When I was in the 7th grade, my brother called me “Buffalo Butt.”
Now this is typical older brother stuff, right?
But to me, that nickname was incredibly hurtful. I felt diminished. For many, many years I carried the belief in my heart that my bum was unattractive, unworthy, less than, and that was the painful story I told myself and believed to my core.
But what if you take the emotional pain and judgment out of the picture for a moment and look at the experience as a gauge of where my thoughts and beliefs were before he made the comment?
What if it was my existing low self-esteem and self-critical thoughts that inspired my brother to make that joke? And what if that comment was totally and purely like having a mirror held up to me of what I already had going on in my head?
Now my brother is not someone who is intentionally trying to hurt me. In fact, his reflection back to me of my existing thoughts and beliefs was actually an opportunity for me to get awareness and change my thoughts.
Now I’m no longer the victim. I’m the creator. I’m in the driver seat. I am empowered.
And the beautiful thing is I was still able to take advantage of that opportunity almost 30 years later when I reflected back on that experience with this new perspective.
What a gift his comment was! At 13, I was completely in the self-critical weeds and his joke was a perfect reflection of what was already going on in my head.
When I take my brother out of the equation, not only do I let go of long-standing grudges against him (which benefits me down to the cellular level, by the way), I can also change my thinking about myself.
Of course I didn’t have an ugly tush at 13. I can recognize the insecurity for what it was and right now, I can give my 13-year-old-self all the love, acceptance, and appreciation that I wanted in the moment. And if my having an ugly behind was not true at 13, then it is not true now. All that’s ever held me back was my own thoughts and beliefs.
And that right there is like I had a time machine and went back and changed that experience. The past is now and forever altered in my mind.
Once I made that shift, the love and appreciation I had for my body surged. And those new thoughts and beliefs are now creating my current—and future experiences.
And I’ve seen my body change as a result.
How can you begin to see those painful past experiences as purely a reflection of where your thoughts and beliefs were in the moment?
Begin to use them as your gauge of how well you are lining up your thoughts and beliefs with your desires. If you aren’t getting the reflection back that you want, know that you have the power to change your thoughts and beliefs and get a different experience–past, present, and future.
Together we can do it!