"I am by calling a dealer in words - and words are, of course,
the most powerful drug used by mankind."

-Rudyard Kipling

In last week's tip, we reviewed two of the structures we use to
create our subjective experience - the way we use our body and
the maps we make in our head.

The third structure we use to create our subjective experience
is language. Language is another mapping tool - one we use to create,
describe and share our experiences with one another. We do this
primarily by telling ourselves (and others) stories about what
we have experienced.

In a recent cover story from New Scientist magazine, Helen
Phillips wrote:

"There is certainly plenty of evidence that much of what we do
is the result of unconscious brain processing, and that our
consciousness seems to be interpreting what has happened, rather
than driving it....

Our senses may take in more than 11 million pieces of
information each second, whereas even the most liberal estimates
suggest that we are conscious of just 40 of these....

It is an unsettling thought that perhaps all our conscious mind
ever does is dream up stories in an attempt to make sense of
our world."

Our story is the meaning we give to the facts of our life - our
interpretation of reality. If we make the facts of our life
mean good things about us and the future, we will feel happy
about them; if we make them mean bad things, we will feel
unhappy about them. Either way, we're the ones making the

On my live trainings, I often do an exercise with participants
where I invite them to come up with multiple meanings for a
significant life event by repeatedly asking the question: 'What
else could this mean?'

For example, if someone says their partner has left them, most
people will assume that's a bad thing and will respond
accordingly with a blend of sympathy and encouragement. But what
else could it mean?

Here are some typical answers from seminar participants - you'll
notice that some make it a good thing, some bad and some
relatively neutral:

*Now they're free to meet someone who's really right for them.

*They'll never meet anyone else and they'll be alone - and
miserable - for the rest of their lives.

*What they learn from the experience will make them a more
loving partner in the future.

*They're scarred for life and will never experience love again.

*It's an opportunity to fight to win their partner back.

*It's life's way of saying 'Time to move on.'

After a few rounds of the game, it becomes clear that it's
possible to make up hundreds of different meanings for any given
event. The more optimistic the meaning, the better the
accompanying feelings; the less optimistic, the worse the story

But when you've played the game long enough a new, even more
useful question emerges:

What do you want it to mean?

When you realize that you are literally making up the meaning of
even the most significant 'facts' of your life, you can begin
deliberately choosing the meanings which feel good and empower
positive action. As I say to my clients:

*As long as you're going to make stuff up, make up good stuff.*

Challenging your stories of impending doom is not only powerful,
it's fun - and it serves as an ongoing reminder that no matter
how detailed or practiced your story is, it's still only a

In today's experiment, you can put together the three elements
which make up the structure of your subjective experience to
give yourself a good feeling in your body, right where you are
sitting now...

Today's Experiment:

1. Notice how you're feeling in your body right now.

2. Shift your body until you're feeling just a little bit
better. You could do this by sitting up straighter or getting up
and giving yourself a gentle stretch, smiling up into your eyes
and down into your body, or simply taking a deep breath and
feeling it spread into every part of yourself.

3. Next, talk to yourself in a friendly voice. Tell yourself
something you genuinely want to hear. Offer yourself a sincere
compliment or remember a time where you received a compliment
and you knew it was sincere. Enjoy the good feelings that come
with receiving that sincere compliment.

4. Make a picture of yourself in your mind as you would look if
you were just a little bit happier than you are right now. When
you've got it, step into the picture and enjoy the good

5. Repeat each of the steps above until you have successfully
created a smile on your face and a good feeling in your body!

With love,



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