We do not live in a world of events and things. We live in a mind-world of how we are given to interpret whatever we encounter in life. Some people are inspired by a sunrise or a sunset. Other people may be depressed by the same scenes. It all depends on how we interpret or explain those scenes – that is, what they mean to us.
Some people who are poor or who live in squalid conditions are happy. Some people who are rich or who live in opulent conditions are unhappy.
Nothing is either bad or good. It is how we interpret it that makes it so.
Nor should we leave our feelings out of this. It is our feelings that drive our thoughts. If they are healthy, our thoughts will be healthy. If our feelings are not healthy, our thoughts will be unhealthy.
Like our habits, we do not have our feelings. They have us. We are the victims of our feelings. We have to interpret everything we encounter – whether from inside us or outside us. Those hundreds of interpretations that are made for us by how we think about things every day may be beneficial. But they may also lead us, little by little, down a path that is harmful to us.
If we do not choose our interpretations for ourselves, they will be chosen for us by others, by the culture and the subcultures we inhabit. You either choose your feelings and their consequences, or they will take you where they go.
-Lee Thayer, Thought-Leader, Excerpt from Mental Hygiene: Communication and the Health of the Mind