• Debbie Covino, PhD

Bad Thought: This isn’t as I imagined it would be.

Updated: Jul 31

After 20 years living away from my home state, we were moving back to California. I had been homesick for a very long time. In a recurrent dream, I stood at the shore in San Pedro, where I grew up, and cried because I couldn't stay. Now, I was happily anticipating the return to my native context. Everything was now going to be great! I would be in a state of exhilaration and happiness forever and ever! 

Stop laughing at me. You know you've been there. We tend to believe that there's some material circumstance that will yield eternal nirvana. We make an equation in our minds: If only this would happen, then I can be happy.

Imagine my surprise when the new context proved challenging. Very challenging. I often thought, This isn't as I imagined it would be.

Things rarely are. The world is a messy place, and many circumstances are largely beyond our control.

So, what's the upside to this state of affairs? The good part is that I learned to be a better creator of my own inner state. If we're looking outside ourselves to find happiness, we're slaves to circumstances. If we look to our inner state for happiness, we have control of our experience (no matter what's going on around us). And from a place of inner stability, we have the best chance of impacting outer circumstances in a beneficial way.

I did reshape my California life in ways that now please me, and I became much better at directing my mental life. Now, I help others do the same. In the face of life's challenges, I try to remember this thought: When outer circumstances are not to my liking, I have an opportunity to strengthen myself from within. Sometimes, this is easier said than done, but I do get better at it all the time.

You're reading the Bad Thoughts Blog, which maintains that feeling good is as simple as thinking a better thought. I'm Debbie Covino, hypnotherapist, coach, and creator of the Master Your Own Mind self-hypnosis program and All Day Hypnosis Courses, available at https://www.hypnotic-wellbeing.com/digital-audio-programs


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