Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Power of Definitions- And How They Can Change Your Life

I like to say that the world cannot be seen in black in white because it is actually in full color. By this, I mean that we are conditioned to define things as "good" and "bad", "beautiful" and "ugly", "righteous" and "evil." But, in reality, nothing has an inherent meaning. We choose how we look at things, and this can ruin or improve our lives.

Every thing does not have an inherent meaning or definition; it is neutral. Things only have power once you assign them a meaning. Think about it: when you are a baby, everything is wonderful and awe-inspiring. You don't see any thing or experience as good or bad, you only see opportunities to learn. But, somehow on the path between childhood and adulthood, you start adopting definitions for things.

Let's explore this concept of neutrality further. Take a look at this tree. You may say it's a good-looking tree,
but I may say that it's ugly. Is either one of us right? No, because the tree just is. It's simply a part of Creation, a part of all that is. It's not inherently good-looking or ugly, but once we assign one of those definitions to it, the definitions start having power. For example, if I think it's an ugly tree, when I see it out in nature, it will annoy me or ruin my mood a little bit. By contrast, if you say it's a beautiful tree, it will brighten your day just a little bit every time you see one like it.

Here's another example: the activity of hiking is not inherently assigned a definition as being "fun" or "boring." It just is, and then we choose to assign certain definitions to it. The person who thinks that hiking is always fun will always have a good time hiking. However, the person who thinks that hiking is boring will hate going. Which person would you rather be?

Perhaps now you are seeing how definitions can change your life. If you want to be happy in life, change
your definitions. If you hate going to work, change how you think about going to work. Instead of saying "work is awful", say "work gives me the opportunity to provide for my family. I am thankful for that." Instead of saying "my boss is terrible to me," say "I love my boss even if they have done things that once made me upset." Instead of saying "my co-workers are mean," say "my co-workers are potential friends if I put in the effort." Tell yourself that you love going to work, and you will start believing that.

So, if you are miserable in life, or are simply not happy with the situations you are in, just change your definitions.

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