It was supposed to be a good night’s rest after a full day of fun and adventure. But someone just HAD to ask that question: “do you believe in ghosts?”. And then it became impossible NOT to think about specters haunting the night, spirits from the netherworld returned to disturb the living and all manner of supernatural beings out to strike fear into the hearts of little children and their tiger buddies. But did the night change simply because of that statement? Were there any real threats that appeared simply of that statement? Not likely. Yet, that one statement changed the “night” in the minds of the Calvin and Hobbes and ruined it entirely for them.
Very often, that is the case. We get angry or upset when we hear some one say something bad about us, when we find out that another person made a biased comment against us or when we learn that another person made a negative statement about something we care about. Yet, is the world really that different simply because one comment or statement? Not likely. But in our minds, the entire world has changed. Because we are angry, we can no longer enjoy the things we used to. Because we are upset, everything around us seems to be tainted by an aura of negativity.
And because our mind is filled with anger, sadness and negativity, we act out in anger, sadness and negativity. We are less patient. We lash out. We say unkind things. We commit destructive acts. We lose our ability to be positive. And all this because we let our mind be affected by something someone said.
But who gave this person the right to upset us, to anger us, to turn us into agents of negativity? Actually… We did. Yes. This person may have said something bad about us, made a biased comment against us or made a negative statement about something we care about. Similarly, something “bad” could have happened to us – it could have rained on our parade (how dare the weather rain on our parade?!), it could be too hot (how can it possibly be so hot?! OMG! GRAAAAAHH!!), or a whole host of whatever could have gone “wrong”.
In the immortal words of Forrest Gump, “Shit happens”. Many of these things are beyond our control. We may not have been able to stop that person saying bad things about us, we probably cannot control the weather, it is impossible to ensure that no “shit” ever happens to us. What we CAN definitely do, though, is be in control of the way we react. Because that is in our MINDS.
That’s right. Our minds. Are. Ours.
To paraphrase Eleanor Roosevelt, no one can make us upset without our consent. When something someone else says upsets us or something happens that makes us feel negative, it is because we have relinquished that right of control of our minds, that should have been exclusively our own, to other people and to external events. Why should we do that? This is a right that we should hold dear and carefully guard. Because our happiness is in our minds, we should really work hard to truly understand our minds, be good friends with it and learn how to guard and guide it in the right direction, away from negativity, towards positivity and happiness.
See also: Be best friends with your mind