Whatever happens in the outside world has no meaning other than the meaning you give it. Again, this is not a new concept but it is one that’s a little difficult to put into practice unless you’ve had some guidance and experience under your belt. When things happen we tend to place a value on them by labeling them as “good,” “bad,” “right” or “wrong.” This is not a terrible practice as long as you are only labeling things within your own life and not trying to push your assigned values onto others.

I know a woman whose grandson and granddaughter are getting married after living together for two years. They have a son together and are expecting their second child 3½ months after their planned wedding. This grandmother is just beside herself about how, “This is all wrong. They are not doing things in their proper order. How dare the bride have a bridal shower when they’ve been living together for two years already? For heaven’s sake, she will be wearing a white wedding gown while she is six months pregnant”! She has clearly decided this is wrong but not just for herself. She believes it is wrong for everyone!

Once you get your mind around owning your value judgments and not pushing them on other people, then can you get your mind around the fact that your value judgments may even be wrong for you? Have you ever had the experience of losing a job by either being laid off or fired? You likely thought it was one of the worst things that happened to you. Then, after some time, it became apparent in hindsight, it was actually the best thing that ever happened to you.

Conversely, have you ever entered a new relationship thinking it was the most wonderful relationship you had ever experienced, only to find when the shine wore off, it was not exactly as wonderful as you had thought? We’ve all had some similar experiences.

I’m suggesting you might want to cut out the middle man or woman—YOU! That’s right. You are the middle person between your experience and the value you give it. What would happen if you simply experienced life and all events in it as exactly the perfect thing that is supposed to be happening at that particular time? You develop a trust and faith that everything will work out and serve you in the end. You have the power to change the meaning you assign from positive to negative, negative to positive, or from positive or negative to neutral.

This does not mean you experience life with an emotional flat line. There will be things that bring you joy and others that bring fear and/or sadness. However, you do not have to be a prisoner to those emotions. Feel them, and when you do, know you can change them by changing your perception if you choose.

Experience the joy—let it flow abundantly through you while gaining all the benefit from the endorphins your body will secrete. The caution is to not get invested in “holding onto” the source of that joy. People and opportunities come into our lives and they often leave again. Be appreciative for the joy but let people and things go when it is time to do so. I love Dr. Seuss’ quote: “Don’t cry because it’s over; smile because it happened.”

And when you experience sadness, as in grief, allow yourself to feel it until you don’t want to feel it anymore. When you are ready to transmute the negative energy, know there is a positive side to all the negativity. The Universe is made up of balance—dark/light, hot/cold, good/bad, positive/negative, right/wrong. Balance is the key. You could never appreciate the good and positive without having the bad and negative with which to compare it. Remember in all negative experiences you can find the positive when you are ready by asking yourself, “What is the lesson or gift in this situation”? When you are ready to look for it, you will find it. In the beginning you might need some help from someone more experienced to guide you but it is always there.

I made this challenge to a room full of people. I asked them to think of something “awful” in their lives and then, turn it around to find the positive side. A young woman raised her hand in the back of the room and said she had been an elementary school student teacher under a terrible teacher who was miserable and mean to the children. She asked me, what was the good in that? After thinking a moment, I asked her if she was able to develop meaningful, positive relationships with those students during her time with them. She said absolutely she did. I then asked if she thought that was made possible by the way the teacher chose to behave. She got it! She found the gift and the lesson in that situation. Without the teacher treating those children badly, this young woman would not have been able to have such a positive impact.

The key is to understand the power of your perception and recognize your ability to change it  to serve you when you are ready. It is also important to find the balance in all things. Are you struggling with a situation right now that you’d like to find the other side to? Let me know and I’ll see if I can help.

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