I read this. Then re-read this. Then read it again.
I thought about all the times I’ve changed my circumstances in order to feel a different way.
And all the times that didn’t really make a difference.
For example: I broke up with Ian when I was 16 (at the Sadie Hawkins dance….) because he wasn’t good for me…because I was religious and never a sinned a day in my life (this is sarcasm at it’s finest) and he was a non-believing atheist whose life consisted of sinning every chance he got (again, dripping with sarcasm).
But did that change the way I felt about him?
Nope. No sir-ee-bob. (oh come on, the bad boy is ALWAYS appealing….am I right ladies?)
So I decided I’d change my ideas about his non-believing atheist ways…..
And here we are 20 years later, happily married with four children (and he’s no longer an atheist, but that’s a whole different story).
Alright, that was not a legit example for the intenseness of this quote. For the deep meaning it really has. So let me try this again.
How many times have you bought new clothes because you wanted to feel beautiful?
How many times have you switched church communities because you wanted to feel more included?
How many times have you bought something you couldn’t really afford because you wanted to feel important?
How many times have you gossiped about someone because you wanted to feel special?
How many times have you quit a diet or exercise program because you felt like you were not going to lose the weight anyway?
I think all of us can admit to at least one of the above. And I’m sure you could think of a few other examples as well.
But when I read this quote, I had a realization that I’m sure I’ve had before, but I seem to have forgotten: our internal world creates our external world.
And when what’s going on in our lives seems to not be going well, it’s because our feelings and thoughts (internal) are not aligned with what we’re doing (external). And when this is happening, we can’t progress towards our best selves.
Our outer world reflects back to us our internal perspectives.
Consider everything that’s going well for you right now. Consider the beauty that you see around you. Consider the joy, light, love, and life that surrounds you. This is all a reflection of what’s inside you.
On the flip side, consider the places in your life where you’re struggling, where you feel something is not “right”. Consider the people, relationships and situations that give you a sinking feeling when you think about them. These too are just reflections of the parts of you that are waiting to be repaired and restored.
In other words: the world within is the cause, the world without is the effect. And to change the effect you must change the cause.
Now will you take a pause and do something for a minute or two?
Think about your daily life (outside world).
Now take a good look inside yourself and your inner world (feelings and thoughts).
If you deal with feelings of conflict, depression, struggle, anger, hate, or low self-esteem, you will find that it manifests and becomes part of your daily life in some way.
On the flip side, if you are blessed with feelings of joy, love, happiness, abundance and contentment, you will find that it manifests and becomes part of your daily life in some way.
Can you see how your inner world (feelings and thoughts) reflects on your outside world?
Next question: how do we go about controlling what goes on around us? (this is a trick question…)
The answer is simple: Try not to control what goes on around us.
We only truly have control over our own thoughts and feelings. This is where our true power lies. We cannot control other people or situations, so we must focus on staying in control of our inner world.
This brings me to another a-ha from Martha Beck.
One word: Pronoia.
Pronoia: The opposite of paranoia. The sneaking suspicion that everything is conspiring on your behalf.
Isn’t that an awesome word?!
Paulo Coelho speaks to this in his book “The Alchemist” as well. He says:
I really loved finding this quote by Martha Beck today and the subsequent thought process that followed.
I love being reminded of things that will make my life better. I love knowing that by controlling my thoughts and feelings, I am also in control of my daily life. This is truly setting me on the path towards a life of wealth and abundance in all its forms.
Here’s to a new week, I can’t wait to make it a great one.