This is a dense topic but stick with me, I think it’ll be really insightful for you. I was listening to a podcast episode between Ed Mylett and Dr. Benjamin Hardy, an organizational psychologist and prolific author, who introduced a new idea called “psychological flexibility”.
Basically ‘psychological flexibility’ is all about having the ability to control the way your mind relates with different topics. When you’re psychologically flexible it means that you can choose the perspective you use to see a certain events and ultimately, shape it’s meaning.
For example: My friend Dominic Fusco is a high-level endurance athlete, regularly runs marathons, and in a training session he went into cardiac arrest. Fortunately he was saved from death but it has really impacted his lifestyle for these past two months since it happened, and will continue to affect him for a while.
Dom practiced psychological flexibility. The facts of the matter are that he had cardiac arrest. What he chose to believe about that is that he’s lucky to be alive, and that this is actually, genuinely a gift because he will never see life the same and can add a perspective to things that very few people at his age can do.
Alternatively, he could have chosen to be scared, confused, and frustrated about his body failing him. But he practiced psychological flexibility and has adopted the story that serves him.
But this concept goes an extra layer deeper, relating the events of the present and the past. We often think that you can’t change the past, and while it’s true that you can’t change the literal events of the past, in every given moment we are choosing the way we relate with it in the present.
The etymology of the word ‘remember’ is “to bring to mind again”. This suggests that our experience of the past is a present activity. To put it another way, the lens of the current moment determines the meaning of the past.
So if something didn’t go according to plan - you made a mistake, things didn’t go well, you had a bad result - how do you want to relate with it? What would be the most positive way to choose to relate with it? Because that’s the gift of the present moment, and when you express psychological flexibility to see things differently than you used to, you change the energetic impact that past event has on you.
Practically, what does that mean? It’s an opportunity for you to change your belief and perspective. Pick a moment from the past that negatively impacts you and ask yourself “How might this be a great thing to have happened to me?” The response to it just might be the new empowering story you can tell about the event.
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