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Next time someone upsets you it might help to reduce the tension  if you remember three things:

  1. No-one upsets us, we upset ourselves by the way we interpret their actions (that is, the meaning we attribute to an event).
  2. Our interpretations – or meanings – are often wrong (Two examples: Gail is late = interpretation: she is late because she doesn’t care about me. Or, John is scowling = interpretation: John is angry. Perhaps Gail stopped to help someone on her way and that made her late, and maybe John just got toothache, or swallowed a fly!) It’s our dodgy and premature interpretations that give us grief, not the event.
  3. For daily events like these we usually don’t need meanings. It’s just that the mind has a mind of its own and, unless stopped, will analyse, ruminate and conjure until it comes up with a ‘satisfactory’ explanation.

The cure for this is to resist looking for explanations. “Gail is late, full-stop. “I have just noticed that John is scowling.”

Trouble starts with what comes next. No ’next’? No problem!

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