How to Think Better: circumstances

There was a time in my life I wouldn’t even have understood the question: Are you only happy when circumstances are right?

Well, obviously.

If good things happen—things I like—I can be happy. But if bad things happen—things I don’t like—I will be unhappy.

  • Get the raise, book the vacation, lose five pounds, I feel good.
  • Stuck in traffic, the new client deal falls through, my husband doesn’t ask about my day, I feel bad.

My happiness very much depended on circumstances. And circumstances needed to be just so—just right—for me to feel good.

And honestly, it didn’t occur to me there might be any other way.

Which meant, of course, I expended a lot of energy trying to corral and control circumstances. To manage and manipulate situations. To direct and guide people to get them to do what I wanted them to do.

I needed to whip circumstances into shape because that’s the only way I could feel good.

And circumstances included all the people, from friends and family to the waiter at the restaurant and the clerk at the grocery store. Circumstances included whether my favorite dark chocolate was on sale or toothpaste was in stock, the weather and the traffic, and the past and the future.

When you start looking outside yourself, there are a whole lot of variables to control. All the people and events, all the things and situations.

It’s a never-ending list. And, of course, it’s impossible to actually do.

Sure, you might have influence over some of these circumstances sometimes, but you don’t have control.

Making how you feel dependent on circumstances is really a pretty crazy proposition.

It’s one that sets you up for failure before you even get started.

But I spent decades doing it. Is any of this sounding familiar? Surely I’m not the only one.

It really wasn’t that long ago, just before my obsession with all things Law of Attraction, that I was first introduced to the concept all circumstances are neutral, and it’s our thoughts about those circumstances that create our emotions.

My mind was blown. What?!

This was totally new ground that bumped up against what I took to be true—and yet it made so much sense. On a deep, intuitive level I knew I was never going to be able to look at circumstances in the same way.

When I say circumstances are neutral, I mean all of them.

Not just a traffic jam, a demanding boss, or an overdue notice in the mail, but also the death of a loved one, an illness, and an unfaithful spouse.

Neutral, neutral, neutral.

We want to divide circumstances into columns of good and bad. And we want to believe it’s black and white what goes on each list.

  • You fall in love. You get the promotion. You win the lottery. These are good circumstances, right? And so you feel good.
  • Your spouse wants a divorce. Your kid quits college. Your friend passes away. These are bad circumstances, right? And so you feel bad.

But there aren’t good circumstances and bad circumstances. There are just circumstances.

Let that really sink in. Maybe you’re hearing it for the first time like I did or maybe you could use the reminder: Circumstances are neutral.

It is your thoughts about those circumstances that layer on meaning, that give them attributes of wanted versus unwanted. And those thoughts are a choice. You get to choose what meaning you ascribe to the circumstances in your life.

And depending on what you make circumstances mean will create your feelings—and from there your reality.

I used to think it was the circumstances creating my reality.

But now I know it’s my thoughts about those circumstances and the feelings my thoughts create that are my point of attraction. It is my thought-feeling combo that is very much creating my reality.

This is why two different people can have the same thing happen in their lives—let’s say a divorce or the loss of a job—and for one it’s a devastation they never recover from and for the other it’s integrated into their life experience in a way that’s ultimately transformational and positive.

You are so powerful. Because you get to choose your thoughts.

And you get to do this regardless of the circumstances in your life. Regardless of the external. Regardless of what others do or don’t do. You get to choose your thoughts and you can feel however you want to feel.

I believe 100% that circumstances are neutral.

It is now a deeply held belief of mine. Circumstances are neutral. Period.

And yet, there are times I don’t act like I believe this at all.

  • When I rail about slow service and let that be my “reason” for being grumpy.
  • When I blame how I feel on the bus being late or my website being down.
  • When I look to others to make me happy.
  • When I point to anything outside myself as the reason, the very understandable, justifiable reason I don’t feel good.

Whenever I catch myself pinning how I feel on anything or anyone but me and my thoughts, I know I’m bumping up against an old way of being.

And while it may be very normal because so many of us do it, I know it doesn’t serve me. And it doesn’t serve you either.

“Nothing has to change in your environment or in circumstances that surround you for you to begin to deliberately allow your own connection to the Stream of Well-Being.” —Abraham

Do you really want to spend all your precious time and energy trying to control circumstances and get all your ducks to line up, so you can feel good?

Think about it.

It will be a never-ending task because just as soon as you get one thing the way you want it, another one isn’t.

You get the job you need to be happy, but then your relationship goes south. You find a new love and then total your car. You get the insurance settled and then your boss gives you a project you don’t like.

And it doesn’t have to be big hairy stuff we use as our reason/excuse for not feeling good. It’s in response to all the mundane too.

  • The hot water heater needs to be replaced. Irritation and frustration.
  • Your flight is delayed. Irritation and frustration.
  • Your husband won’t get on board with your desire to declutter. Irritation and frustration.

We’re blaming circumstances right and left for how we feel instead of managing our minds and thinking on purpose so we can feel better. So we can feel good!

It’s like the whack-a-mole game at the country fair. You whack one circumstance into shape the way you want it so you can be happy, and another person-thing-event appears that isn’t how you want it to be.

But there is an answer to all that. An answer so simple—not always easy, maybe, but simple nonetheless.

Circumstances are neutral.

And if you deliberately choose your thoughts about those circumstances—whatever they are—you can feel good.

“You cannot control circumstances. You never intended to control circumstances. You intended to discover unconditional love. You intended to discover a way to feel good, no matter what, because you have the facility; you have the power; you have the ability to focus.” —Abraham

I invite you to pay attention over the next week.

Notice when you attribute how you feel to circumstances. Notice when you blame how you feel on X, Y, or Z.

  • Notice when you feel emotions in the middle of the emotional scale like worry and anger, like fear and disappointment, and attribute those feelings to circumstances.
  • Notice when you feel elevated emotions like positive expectation and freedom, like passion and empowerment, and attribute those feelings to circumstances.

Because neither is true.

What is true is something happened you deemed good or bad, wanted or unwanted, and you had a thought—or a whole slew of thoughts—about it that created a feeling.

Let’s say a friend cancels your dinner plans at the last minute. That’s the circumstance.

  • Here’s one thought you could have: I can’t believe how rude and inconsiderate she is. I feel so upset.
  • Here’s a different thought you could have: Oh, how wonderful to have a free evening. It will be great to have some much-needed me time.

The circumstance is neutral.

It’s up to you which thought you choose. Which means it’s up to you how you feel about this circumstance of cancelled dinner plans.

As you start to pay attention, you’ll notice with greater clarity the distinction between circumstances and your thoughts about circumstances.

And that’s where your power lies.

Because as you start to separate the two—circumstances (over which you don’t have control) from thoughts (over which you do have control), you can start choosing thoughts that create the feelings you want to feel.

You can start spending more of your time feeling elevated emotions as you hang out on the high end of the emotional scale. Feeling good more of the time means you will improve your point of attraction and attract more quote-unquote “good” things into your life.

“If you deliberately bring yourself into alignment, circumstances go well for you. It’s all based on what you are doing with your vibration.” —Abraham

Are you only happy when circumstances are right?

If so, this is your invitation.

There is so much freedom and flow, so much ease and power in deliberately and consciously choosing your thoughts—instead of blaming circumstances for how you feel.

“Just change the thought. And watch how fast the Universe scampers to deliver to you circumstances and events that are in vibrational harmony with your thought.” —Abraham

Do you need help with this?

Schedule a coaching session and learn how to stop blaming circumstances for how you feel.