Events don’t have meaning – We give the events meaning
The meaning of events exists only in our mind. Outside of our mind, the events have no meaning at all.
Our emotional response to events comes from the meaning we give them and the way we FEEL about that meaning. So, given the fact that our emotions are based on our reaction to the meaning of an event and we create the meaning of the event, then we control our emotions.
Peace doesn’t come when we have peace around us, but when we have peace within us.
See, we give events meaning in our minds. Our emotional response to events is based on the meaning they have. So when we have peace within, it doesn’t matter what happens outside of us, we will have peace. Peace is independent of what is happening around us.
Let’s look at how one may react to a particular situation given our internal state.
Saturday morning, you open up your weather app and you see that it’s supposed to be 95 degrees with nothing but sunshine. How do you react to that?
If you were planning on going to the beach and spending some time in the water with your family, that’s a fantastic event. This means the water is going to feel great and the sun will help us get a tan.
If you were planning on pulling out some old tree stumps in the yard, that’s a horrible forecast. It’s going to be hot and the sun is provably going to burn you.
The event is the exact same thing… a weather forecast. The meaning of the event is determined internally.
If you just planted some grass seed and it starts raining, you react with happiness. This will help.
If your lawn needs to be mowed and it starts raining, you react disappointed, as you won’t be able to cut it until tomorrow.
There’s a verse in the the book of Matthew that says the rain falls on those who are good and those who are bad. The rain has no meaning. One sees the rain as good and the other bad. Tomorrow it could be reversed. The rain has no meaning.
Here’s a Personal Example – My View of Myself as Not Good Enough.
I’m in my late 40’s and my entire life, I’ve had a limiting belief that I was inferior to others. I wasn’t as good as my brothers and pretty much anyone else who I worked or lived life with.
I’ve shared this with you before, I’m the youngest in my family and honestly, I don’t have a lot of memories of my parents telling me I wasn’t good enough, but I do have a LOT of memories of that being associated with my older brothers. They’re about a year apart in age. This means, they did a lot of things at the same time. Tying shoes, riding a bike, hitting a baseball and learning to throw a football.
I was 4 and 5 years younger than them which isn’t a big deal at age 47, or even 27, but when you’re 7 and they’re 11 and 12, that’s a lifetime of difference, almost literally twice my age. They had learned twice as much as I had and they were at least twice as good as I was.
Because kids that age were able to go further from the house, our street would often have teenagers playing football or baseball with kids from several streets over. There never were that many kids on my street that were my age. So I was trying to fit in and play with kids who ere almost twice my age.
You can imagine how this made me feel. The one thing everyone valued, throwing or catching a football, or throwing, hitting and catching a baseball, I sucked at. This made me feel like I wasn’t good enough.
My brothers, like a LOT of older siblings, were pretty much forced to watch their little brother if they wanted to go do something. Mom and dad would say keep an eye on your little brother.”
But I wasn’t bad at everything, only the thing that this group was really good at, sports. As I got older, even in middle school, I never wanted to play team sports. I always opted to run laps around the baseball field instead of actually playing baseball. In high school, I didn’t try out for football or baseball, but instead, I joined the track team where I could compete on my own. I was good at running.
I was also good at being goofy and entertaining people. But that wasn’t really valued when you’re trying to beat the kids from the next block over. In fact, it was seen as a negative. “Come on, be serious, focus!”
Focus? I was the “King of Imagination.: I could take my GI Joe Command RV center and play for hours on end in my room. I remember having a rock fireplace and I would take my little army men and have them mount massive battles that would last two or three hours. Focus? That means turning off my imagination.
Imagine if we had a street full of kids all doing a talent show, with magic, juggling, ventriloquism and puppets. How much of an expert would that jock feel like? They can throw a ball, big deal, that doesn’t win you much in a talent show. All of a sudden they would have thoughts like “I’m not good enough.”
I Gave Meaning to That Event.
There was no meaning in those footballs games other than the meaning I gave them in my own mind. Because I wanted to fit in with my older brothers and their friends, the meaning of the football game was HUGE. It determined whether I was good enough or not.
This is why it’s SO important to invest in offering your kids activities in which they can do well. Have a boy who loves to dance? Don’t take him to try out for baseball, even if you played it and you can’t wait to coach the team. He’s going to grow up feeling like he’s not good enough, in general.
Have a little girl who loves to build stuff in the garage? Mom, you need to take her to Home Depot for those fun weekend DIY workshops, even though you really wanted to help choreograph the dance recital because you loved to dance.
Know Your Real Identity
To this day, I have moments when I struggle and am influenced by my inability to do the things my siblings and peers are capable of doing.
I will say, I’ve become a LOT stronger than ever and I understand my gifting and where my talents lay. I know my gift is in communications and entertainment, not in piecing together the electronics needed to put on the show or course or whatever.
I’ve become so confident in my own ability in my own areas of expertise that I’m no longer intimidated by the pressures put on my by others. So much so, I was recently told I was being riightously indignant because I wouldn’t allow someone else to tell me I wasn’t as good of a person because I wasn’t talented in the same areas they were talented. It hurt, but I know why it was said. I’m ok with it. But, I’m not going to leave the door wide open to it.
You Are Good Enough
Understand, you may have a very narrow area of talent, but that talent is important if you make it important. Surround yourself with people who don’t value it, and you’ll feel like you’re a worthless excuse for a life.
When you shift over to a group who value your very narrow and specialized gift and you’ll suddenly feel like the world couldn’t go on without you.
My life and my sense of worth changed 180 degrees when I went from working in a lab inventing electronic material compounds to being the goofy sidekick on a morning radio show. I was told I had an amazing talent for connecting with people emotionally and that I would go far with that gift. WHAT? I thought that gift was a burden… at least it seemed like one when PhD’s were in a lab doing experiments and I was cracking jokes. Haha…
Call to Action
So, understand your place and don’t let others values determine your value. Remember, the events in your life have no meaning other than the meaning YOU put on them.