Transcript: Problems and Interpretations
If you're listening to this podcast (or reading this transcript), it's because there's something about growing as a human that really appeals to you and so I'm going to share with you some things today that I have learned over the years, have made the biggest difference in my life. How I approach my life, how I approach situations, and really has helped me grow more than I could have years ago when I didn't have this information, I couldn't take it in. I wasn't in a place to take it in. So today, maybe I will say this in a way that really strikes home for you if you haven't gotten this concept already.
Sometimes it takes multiple times before we hear something and it really sinks in. But I want to emphasize that our interpretation of the world is what defines it for us. I'm going to quote something because it's going to be much more articulate than I can be in this particular issue. It's from the yoga sutra, and it's from the translation that I will put in the show notes at dinacataldo.com/64.
“The entire outside world is based on your thoughts and mental attitude. The entire world is your own projection. Your values may change within a fraction of a second today. You may not even want to see the one who was once your sweet honey yesterday, and if we remember that we won't put so much stress on outward things.”
There is a Sanskrit saying: “As the mind, so the person; bondage or liberation are in your own mind.”
This is a concept that I think many of us kind of get from an outsider's perspective.
So when I was young, my dad would say things like, “You know, you can move mountains with your mind.” And I would hear that and say, “Okay, yeah,” but I think that the more I'm on this path, the more I recognize that truly what that meant was that I could create anything I wanted to. In my mind, I could interpret anything that I wanted, I could create anything I wanted based upon my thoughts and I recognize this to be true. The more I ancient texts, the more I apply it to my own life, the more I start seeing that I can improve my life based upon how I choose to see the world.
Now, chances are if you're reading this, you've probably watched the news at some point today…
It doesn't matter when you're hearing this podcast and something awful has happened in the last week. I mean really that's the only thing that news publications publish and put on television because that attracts our attention. Our brain is more attracted to those things that are negative because our brain is constantly wanting to work and solve problems and it goes into this fight, flight or freeze mode. Whenever we see things like this, it's anything that's negative. We just start reacting. And that is something that triggers thoughts in our brain. And the person who did that horrible thing, whatever they did was based upon their interpretation of the world. They interpreted the world to maybe be scarce in some resource to be isolated in some way or another. And those interpretations are just that. They are thoughts, they are interpretations of the events that occur around them. So what I want to talk today is about this process of really recognizing what a fact is and what an interpretation is because we get them confused, our brain gets them confused, we interpret something, we add in our own adjectives, our own flavor to whatever it is that we are seeing in the world.
And then we add in our interpretations and suddenly we've created our own reality.
And then we start isolating ourselves into groups that only want to interact with others who have that exact interpretation. And so of course we can cut ourselves off from communicating with other groups that have different interpretations. And then we really don't stop and analyze our own thinking because no one's there to challenge us about our thinking. We want to be around people who are like us. And so then when we're around people who are like us, no one's there to challenge what our thought processes. And that's something that I really love about coaching is that no matter what you're thinking, there's always someone there who is this nonjudgmental listener who hears what you're saying and questions that and helps you question it. And that's something that we don't do enough of ourselves.
So what I want to let you know is that even though we're going to go through this process today, even though we're going just start challenging what our thought processes are, that if you're ready to move past all the passive listening that you might do when you're listening to podcasts and you're ready to begin working with more than hypothetical's, I want you to know that I have 45 minute free strategy sessions where we can learn whether working together is a good fit. And we'll talk a little bit about what you're looking for and which one of my coaching options might be right for you. This isn't a high pressure top. If we work well together, we do, and if it's not right for either one of us, then that's fine too. But if this interests you, if this kind of growth, this kind of change in your life is interesting to you, go to www.Dinacataldo.com/64 and you'll see link for signing up for a strategy session because this kind of work that I've been doing on myself and that I've been surrounding myself with people who are doing this same work, it's life changing.
It really, really is. So if you get anything out of today, I just want you to be able to see that you can challenge your thinking, that you can do it and that it helps if there's somebody else there to challenge your thinking as well. And the reason that that's so important that we have someone to challenge our thinking is to help us grow. So many of us, including myself at one time or another, falls into the trap of interpreting something, maybe blaming something outside of ourselves for whatever it is that we're feeling. And in order to impact our world and change those feelings, we react in ways that we think are going to positively impact our world. And usually it's by taking some kind of physical action, maybe using our words to create that change. Whatever we can do in the world to manipulate the situation to get the outcome we desire.
So many times though, what would be more effective is to break apart what's going on into the facts, the evidence of the situation, those facts that can be proven in a court of law, for instance, versus what our interpretations of those events are. And really taking a step back and looking at them.
What we're going to work through today are a few hypothetical's and they're ones where they may be very emotionally charged, but they may not apply specifically to you. And that's the challenge of this podcast. The challenge of opening up this kind of reflective bit in this podcast because I'm not talking to you one-on-one. I'd love to but I can't.
What I want you to do is when you're hearing these hypothetical's, I want you to tailor them to your situation in life as much as possible.
What I've done is I've created a free worksheet that I'm going to put in the show notes at dinacataldo.com/64. So that you can work out these interpretations, your own and my suggestion is just do this for a week.
Just take a look at one thing, like at the end of the day, pick one thing to look at and to parse to find out what the reality of the situation is versus your interpretation of the situation and then see how you reacted to it. So the hypotheticals I want to get into are these three and I'm going to be referring to them over and over again during this podcast. So that way we have the same reference point. The first is this, my ex wronged me so I can never love again. The second is my coworker wronged me so I can't trust anyone at the office. And the third is my partner didn't take out the trash. So that must mean that he doesn't love me. So I just want you to go along with me on these. These may not fit your situations exactly, but I want you to start recognizing the thought processes that go into this.
All of these sentences that I've just stated are interpretations of an event. Anytime we use an adjective to describe something that happened, we are having a thought, an interpretation of that event. And if you've been listening to this podcast, you know that we are not our thoughts. We're actually the observer of our thoughts, the finger of our thoughts. And that's why I'm so much an evangelist of meditation is because it really helps us slow down enough to watch our thoughts, to really see what our brain is doing.
And a lot of the time we're going to look at our thoughts and we're going to say, wow, I can't believe how crazy that is because that's just what our brain does. Our brain is busy thinking. It's as if our brain is working all the time, just like our heart is working all the time. We can't tell our heart to stop pumping blood.
We can't tell our lungs to stop inhaling and exhaling. It's something that works automatically. So just keep that in mind when you're thinking about how to manage your thoughts. It's not as if you're trying to stop your thoughts. What we're just doing right now, it's just a recognize what's going on to recognize what's happening when we are observing an event and how our mind is triggered and what thoughts are triggered. All right, so let's practice breaking apart the facts out of each of those sentences that I already said to you. So the first one was, my ex wronged me, so I can't love anyone or I'm unlovable. So the facts are you have an x, and maybe that ex did something like cheat or lie. Let's say the thought that comes from that. The thought that's triggered from that action is that I can't love anyone or maybe I'm unlovable or no one loves me, can't trust anyone.
So those are all potential thoughts that can stem from the facts that you have an ex, who cheated or lied to you. . Now let's go to the second one. My coworker wronged me so I can't trust anyone at the office. So the facts are you have a coworker who maybe lied or took credit on a project. Those are the facts. The thought that you have is that you can't trust anyone at the office. It's not a fact. It's simply a thought. It's your interpretation of the event. The third sentence that I said was, my husband didn't take out the trash like I asked. So he must not love me. Now that might sound kind of silly to you, but that is a reaction a triggered thought. And a lot of people have those kinds of thoughts when their loved one doesn't do something that they expect them to do, they automatically go to the worst case scenario.
So the facts out of this are, you have a husband and he didn't take out the trash. The thoughts about that action or lack of action is that my husband doesn't love me anymore. And that's an interpretation that was triggered by the event. So this first step and just looking at these parsed out sentences, is to ask yourself, is your interpretation really true? Is it really true that you're unlovable or that you can't trust anyone or that your husband doesn't love you, like really search that out. Is that really true? Most Times you're going to look around and say, you know what, he does all these other things for me. Of course he loves me, or you know, this was an isolated event at the office and I know that my other coworkers totally have my back. Or when you're thinking about an ex who wronged you, it's not necessarily that you can't love anyone or that you're unlovable.
It's that this was a certain circumstance in which they did not act the way you expected them to behave in that situation. Now when you look at these, it's really cold, right? Like you're really taking the time to step back and you're taking like a cold analysis and objective look at what's happening in your life. And that's really the whole point. If we are always ignoring our feelings, if we're always ignoring the thoughts that we're having that create our feelings, we're never going to create the life that we want. If we want a life in which we are sure of ourselves, where we can trust other people, where we know we can love other people and allow people to love us, then we have to be aware of these kinds of thoughts and how harmful they can be. Because if we don't recognize how we feel, then we're never going to behave in the way that we need to behave to get the results that we want in our life.
If you're always acting from a place where feel unlovable or that you can't trust anyone, everything that you see and everything that you do will help you reinforce that thought. You will always be reinforcing that initial interpretation and you will not be able to create change in your life. So I just want you to know that pulling yourself away from the situation and really coldly analyzing it is a good thing. It's really good to just see things as they are and it doesn't always feel really good because a lot of times when we start looking at our interpretations, we recognize that we're making false interpretations. We're the ones who are harming ourselves. We're harming our relationships. We're the ones who are creating the circumstances in our lives. So just start to recognize that. Now, step two in this is really looking at our own behavior in the situation that we're thinking about.
How did you behave or react when that situation is presented to you?
So in the first example where your ex wronged you, was there a way you wronged your ex? That's a tough one to look at. It's tough to start turning the mirror to us and starting to really look at, okay, how did I react in this situation? The second situation, your coworker maybe taking credit for a project or doing something that you felt wronged at the office, how did you behave when you were confronted with that situation? Did you make the situation better or worse? Chances are, if your interpretation was that you were wronged, you likely took actions that did not benefit you, did not benefit. Your coworker did not benefit the organization because you're acting from a place of anger, maybe fear or frustration. And those are never great places to act from.
So just start recognizing like what were your reactions? And the third thing is to think about that third topic. What was your reaction when your husband didn't take out the trash? Did you yell at him? Did you behave in a loving way? Did you behave in a way that you would want to be treated? Just start looking at how you react in those situations. Because if you're acting from a place where you're angry or you don't feel that you're loved, then chances are you are not going to be helping the situation with your reaction. So this two step exercise that I just went through can help you begin to see that our interpretations, our thoughts are really what create our problems. They're really what creates those feelings that we consider problems, anger, frustration, feeling unlovable. So step one, just to recap is to separate the from the thoughts, is this really true?
Am I really unlovable? Is it true that I can't trust anyone at the office? Is it true that my husband doesn't love me?
And then the second thing you're going to do is you're going to look at your own behavior in the situation that you're thinking about. How did you behave or react in that situation? Because when we start looking at how we're reacting, we're starting to recognize more of what we're thinking because it's all tied together. So once we have the facts, we can see how they trigger a thought in our brain. And then that thoughts is what's creating those feelings. And recognizing that we are reacting in certain ways shows us our patterns. And then the more we start playing with these, the more we start recognizing them, the more we can start changing our patterns, especially if they're negative ones, right? If you see yourself snapping at the people around you, I mean, I'm guilty of this, then there's something going on and maybe you're ignoring it.
But once you start consciously looking at the facts and the interpretations you're making of the facts, then you can start seeing why you're behaving the way that you're behaving. So what I want you to do right now is go to the website, Dina cataldo.com forward slash 64 and download the worksheet because it's going to go through the thought cycle. It's going to help you break apart the facts from your interpretations. And then you're going to write one word to describe the feelings that came after you had that thought. Was that anxiousness? Did you feel frustrated, scared, hurt? And then you're going to write out what actions you took. Did you yell at your partner? Did you do something that was helpful or hurtful to the relationship, the partnership, whatever it is that you are referring to. And then you're going to write out the result.
What happened after that?
Once you start seeing how it played out, you can then start changing it.
And so next to that original thought cycle, what I want you to do is write out your dream thought cycle. How do you want to feel about the situation and really think about what you would hope to get from that situation? How do you want to feel? What thoughts do you want to think about your partner, about your coworker? How do you want to behave in the world? Because once you start figuring out how you want to behave in the world, then you can work backwards. You can say, okay, I want to behave like a kind person in this world. Even when I have somebody do something awful like I feel that they did something awful to me. Then you can work back and you can say, okay, well what does that look like?
What feelings do I need to generate in order to behave the way I want to behave in this world? And then working backwards from that feeling and to: what thought do I need to have to create that feeling?
Now this is all kind of abstract doing this coaching on a podcast because it's so much working in hypothetical's. I really do encourage you to find somebody that you resonate with and do coaching with them. One on one coaching is the very best thing you can do to really start seeing these patterns and action. Doing it on your own is a great thing to do. It really makes a difference in how you approach the world, but there's nothing like one on one coaching I got to tell you. So if you go to www.dinacataldo.com/64 you're also going to see a link where you can get a free 45 minute strategy session with me to see if we work well together.
Because this is the kind of work I love doing and I get coached all the time. I think it's beneficial for us to check in with somebody who is completely outside of our world, meaning they don't know our friends, they don't know our family, they are just listening to us as an observer and are just observing how we think and can point things out to us that we don't necessarily recognize ourselves. So that is my hope for you is that you find somebody that you really resonate with and that can help you do this work. So there's so much stuff that's coming up right now. I've been doing Facebook lives and I've been doing a little bit of coaching on Facebook. There's also been, I think doing a lot of work on my new masterclass that's coming up, the Lawyer's Soul Roadmap is gonna be re-released soon, which I'm really excited about.
There's going to be some big additions to it and I know last time I had some really good responses to it and I very much appreciate that and I can't wait to put out this new and improved version and do this new masterclass. If you want to sign up for the masterclass, it's not open yet for sign up, but if you want to DM me on Instagram and let me know you're interested, you can DM me @Dina.Cataldo And I will make sure that you're all signed up. When that comes, you'll be the first person to know.