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I am starting to realize that not only do we give our own lives meaning, we give everything in them meaning. Every experience we have is meaningful or not meaningful because we say so (or think so).

All of our experiences can only ever mean what we say they mean.

I was thinking about feelings and emotions. I know I may think about those things differently than some other people. But I realized that my emotions don’t obligate me to act on them. I may not be able to control how I feel, but I can control how I behave about how I feel.

But it isn’t only my feelings. It’s everything. I feel like I’m not explaining this properly, but I don’t really know how to. It reminds me of this quote that I always liked:

‘I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.’
-Mark Twain

I’m not saying my troubles never happened. Because they definitely did. What I am trying (clumsily) to say is that my entire life’s experiences have been filtered through my own brain.

My perspective has colored everything that has ever happened in my life. They are inextricably linked. I can separate the two because there is no separation. My life experiences make me who I am and who I am interprets my life experiences. I like the symmetry of that.

I can also choose how I interpret the things that happen to me. Up till now I have been so busy comparing people to other people. Like, If AT did something to me, and AB did something similar, then AT and AB are the same type of person. And that just isn’t true. I don’t actually even know what either of their motives were. I have to stop assuming I do. It infuriates me when other people do this to me, and yet I am supremely guilty of it too.

I think, what I mean and am trying to say, is that I can choose which things from my past have meaning and which ones don’t. Which experiences will define me and which will eventually disappear into meaninglessness.

And that means I am not a wound looking for a cause. I am not damaged beyond repair. And I don’t have to continue to identify myself as anything I don’t want to.

This realization is kind of scary and powerful. I didn’t expect to be in charge of my own life in the way I am describing right now. But I am.


2 responses »

  1. This post kind of sounded like the premise to Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy. I think you’d enjoy this book:

    And don’t worry, it’s not my book or anything–that would be lame. It’s written by Albert Ellis, its founder. It’s not a crack-pot system, either. It’s similar to Cognitive Behavior Therapy in that there’s actually validated research to support its methods. Thought you might like it anyway 🙂


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