Spiritual and relationship expert, teacher, counselor, advisor, speaker, and writer James Gray Robinson

Change Your Mind, Change Your Reality

Unless you have been in a cave without wifi for the last five years, you probably have heard someone say “change your mind and change your reality”. I know I write about it a lot, but it has occurred to me that many people don’t know what “change your mind” means. Changing your mind means changing your beliefs, changing your perspective, changing your judgments, and changing what you think about. For example, make a list of everything you don’t like about your life and the world. If you don’t like the fact your husband/bf farts in his sleep, write that down. If you don’t like the way your mother-in-law treats you, write that down. If you don’t like the fact that terrorism seems to be the daily headline and peace in our lifetime seems impossible, right that down. I can tell you that I had a long list.

So to change your mind, you have to look for different ways to perceive and think about these things. So what can you do about your mother-in-law, or anyone else that treats you poorly? The first thing we have to realize is that you created the situation. You have to be accountable and take responsibility for at least your part of the equation, even if you can’t see it at this moment. You married your spouse and part of their baggage is the hateful mother-in-law. The truth of the matter is you don’t have to please the mother-in-law; you just have to believe that you are a wonderful person. Don’t resist, just focus on the positive things about you. If you are frowning when that hateful person comes into your field of vision, I can promise you that person will take it personally and then take it out on you. If, however, you are smiling, then that person has nothing to react against and you will begin to thaw the ice between you.

It is very important not to blame anyone that treats you poorly. Hateful people come into our lives to teach us how to love more. When we get angry or resentful when people do things to us we don’t like, we fall into the trap of blame and shame. If we are resolute that we are good people and have faith that these people will heal with enough love, then we are the light that will change the world. As a footnote, if someone is abusing you, you need to leave that relationship and draw a firm boundary between you. When you love yourself, you do not allow anyone to abuse you. However, if the other person realizes the error of their way, allow them some space to rebuild trust between you. This is what Jesus meant when he said turn the other cheek.

If you stay in the situation, then realize that you made a conscious decision to stay in that circumstance and therefore you have to take responsibility for being a victim. Victimization is the game the whole family can play and it seems that we have become a nation of victims. What if we didn’t care if someone didn’t like us? How much power would that give you in your life? Don’t try to fix them, simply stand in your own power and ignore their attempts to bring you down to their level. Being strong doesn’t mean having to defeat someone, it simply means not letting their behavior make you suffer.

Suffering is a choice. It is a mental habit that is usually formed early in life when our parents were disciplining us and making us fit into a mold your parents created for you. Suffering is nothing more than trying to put a square peg (you) into a round hole (what you think you should be). As you can imagine, the physics of trying to fit into a shape you are not can be painful. The choice is to either round off your edges or stop trying to fit into the mold. If you don’t like someone because they are not behaving (as you believe they should), perhaps you should change your rules about how other people should behave. When I look back on my greatest emotional suffering, it usually arose from my belief that the world be a certain way. I was trying to play God. When people didn’t behave the way I wanted them to, I decided to suffer. I learned that it is much easier to just accept that those people aren’t going to play by my rules, and I can either change the rules or I can accept the fact that my rules don’t apply to other people.

The ultimate choice we can make is to reject or accept that life is exactly the way it is supposed to be. Whether we like it or not, everything happens for a reason and that reason is to teach us something. If we surrender to the fact that we are not omniscient and do not control the world, we can be more accepting to the fact that life happens for us, not to us. Patience is very important here. I have found that my impatience will not speed up life. As a child, time seemed to slow down the closer I got to receiving something I wanted and seemed to speed up when it was time to go to the dentist. Impatience is a clear sign that I am not accepting the fact that the world’s timing is absolute and there is nothing I can do about it. All I can do is relax. Perhaps that is the only thing we really need to do in life, simply relax.

To change our mind all we have to do is breathe and relax. Imagine life without judgment; simply observe what is going on without attaching emotion to it. We do not have to become violent or upset when we don’t get what we want, we can simply be patient. That is enough to change the world.