How The Question “What Does That Mean?” Can Cause Us Pain

Updated: Aug 16, 2019


Do you remember all the way back when you were little?… The first time you asked the question 'Why?' about someone's behaviour towards you. eg Why are they being mean to me? (in the school playground perhaps) and then more importantly the answer you gave yourself in order to answer that question.

Because the answer you gave yourself to that question is what is shaping and will continue to shape your life.

Think about that for just one moment, the answer you gave yourself is what it shaping your life right now. Not the answer someone else gave to you but the answer you gave to yourself.

Hmm so lets go back even further.. how then did you come up with the answer that you are giving yourself..?

For example it could be someone is being mean to you at work, and the unconscious programme goes something like this.. “Why are they being mean to me”.. and then the even more unconscious programme goes, "because I’m not worth being nice to"…

Your next actions consciously will be based on that whole unconscious dialogue.

But here’s the kicker, that unconscious dialogue is likely outdated now because it was built when you were little from your emotions/feelings you had at the time.

For example, your mum may have been mean to you and as a child your may have taken that to mean that it's because she doesn’t love you, or because you are not worthy of her attention.. or whatever else may have been going into the mind at that point.

She may have even said you’re stupid… and now when someone is mean to you your subconscious equate that to you being stupid!

Those unconscious programmes that are running are actually effecting your life day to day, causing you to react and take actions that may or may not be appropriate now for you years later.

So what to do?

When someone acts in a certain way towards you that makes you feel a negative reactions… STOP and look at the meaning you have given as the reason to why they are being mean to you.

Did you automatically assume it's your fault.. could it be something else.. could they be stressed, anxious etc and in fact it’s nothing to do with you ???

Something happened to me the other day, I had a decision taken out of my hands, I wasn’t consulted and a course of action was set in place that I had no control over, was not consulted on, and it upset me big style.

The meaning I gave to what had happened?

Well, it wasn’t a very empowering meaning I can tell you, the meaning I gave to the event was because I wasn’t intelligent, capable, clever or grown up enough to make a clear decision.

Can you imagine the effect that meaning had on me? It wasn't good!

I was angry, upset, hurt, annoyed and completely dis-empowered.

Was that the correct meaning? Likely not as the people making the decision didn’t know me.

I’d already told them what I could and couldn’t do, I’d made it clear.. so they already had insight into what was good /bad for me..

So what other meaning could it have been.. well, it could have been a totally unemotional decision made on the best cause of action in a particular situation, thinking that I would be happy with it, not understanding that I was invested in the outcome from another perspective, it wasn’t a mean decision just a logical best outcome decision.

Who was right, me or them.. well, both actually from our individual perspectives.

But because the meaning I had given to it, dis-empowered me, it brought out some major dis-empowering emotions and actions.,. not good..

So best course of action.. check into the meaning in the moment, what is the meaning that you have assigned to what is happening and then look at whether there could be other meanings that fits equally as well.. find the one that empowers you .. and go with that.. you are then in a more balanced state to ask questions to see what the real reason was from the other persons perspective.

Till next time…

H x



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