How to Transform Any Bad Situation


Posted by Jill Whalen | Posted in Relationships, Spirituality, Thought | Posted on 05-16-2016

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Warning…this post contains bad language!

[Jill’s Note: If you prefer to listen rather than read, please scroll to the bottom of this post for the audio version.]

Will You Choose Fear or Love?Which would you prefer: feeling good or feeling bad?

I’m guessing most of you would say feeling good. And yet…

…so often when confronted with “negative” situations, we hold onto bad feelings a whole lot longer than necessary.

While we go through many emotions throughout our day, the negative ones can seem so “normal” that we don’t even notice them. However, I’ve found the more I make a point to observe my thoughts, the more aware I am of when they are in turmoil.

Awareness is the key to unlocking better feelings.

Becoming aware is like having a voyeur in our heads. Most of the time when life’s going smoothly, there’s not a lot to see. But when the shit hits the fan, our inner world starts to get pretty interesting. While extremely uncomfortable, it’s these “bad” times that provide the most potential for growth and learning. (Not to mention the best blog fodder!)

Here’s an example of what the voyeur in my head has observed:

Something happens during the course of my day that I’d label as bad. For example, let’s say I expected someone to do something and they didn’t. When I first find out, I get angry. The voyeur in me (Awareness) sees all kinds of thoughts whizzing by such as, “WTF? They said they’d do it and they didn’t. I guess they’re just a jerk and/or not to be trusted. Nobody ever seems to do what they say anymore. What’s wrong with people?

Sound familiar?

From there I may even start to see all kinds of past hurts blowing through. “This is just like that time in second grade when so and so did whatever. Come to think of it, it happened in 6th grade, 10th grade, summer camp, college, when I was first married…blah blah blah. Why does this keep happening to me?!

And on and on and on it goes.

Meanwhile, physically, my head starts to hurt. My heart might be beating faster and my blood pressure is probably going through the roof.

All because of Thought!

Here’s where it gets interesting. When I’m Aware of what’s happening, I can actually have a dialogue with myself.

Which often looks like this:

Awareness: You know you’re going to learn from this.

Mad Me: Fuck off.

Awareness: Fine, stay mad if you like. You’re only making yourself feel bad.

Mad Me: Thank you for your unsolicited advice, but I’m planning on staying mad for a good long while. They deserve it!

Awareness: Yeah but they aren’t the one suffering, you are.

Mad Me: Didn’t I tell you to fuck off?

Awareness: Okay, but one more thing. Remember how you’ve been learning that at every moment we can choose Fear or we can choose Love?

Mad Me: Yeah…but…

Awareness: Isn’t this one of those moments?

Mad Me: (Sheepishly) I guess so. But seriously, how the hell can I choose Love in this situation. They are wrong, and they are a jerk. How do I love that?

Awareness: You don’t have to love That. But what you think about it and how you act because of it is where your choice comes into play.

Mad Me: Go on, I’m listening.

Awareness: You know how you had those thoughts of “I’ll show you!” and “I’m never going to speak to you again” and “I want to make you feel as bad as I do.”?

Mad Me: Yes of course I had those thoughts. They deserve it. I can’t just let people get away with treating me that way. They need to know how I feel and how they hurt me.

Awareness: So here’s my question for you. Would being mean to them or telling them how much they hurt you be coming from Love or Fear?

Mad Me: Well…hmm. In a way it’s coming from Love because my letting them know means I’m trying to help them be a better person. Right?

Awareness: Is that really your job?

Mad Me: I guess not.

Awareness: Let’s try again, Love or Fear?

Mad Me: I don’t know.

Awareness: Okay. I know this is a tough one, so I’ll give you the answer. It’s definitely NOT coming from Love. So the only other choice is Fear.

Mad Me: That sucks. I want another choice!

Awareness: Unfortunately, that’s all there is.

Mad Me: (Not quite as mad anymore.) Can I phone a friend? Use a lifeline?” 🙂

Awareness: That’s what you’re doing by consulting me. Let’s look at this another way. Yes, they said they would do something and they didn’t do it. Those are the facts. What is it about this that is making you feel so bad?

Me: I had expectations that weren’t met.

Awareness: Bingo!

Me: So I’m just supposed to allow people to not do what they say they will?

Awareness: Well, sort of. What they do or don’t do has nothing to do with you. There are all sorts of reasons why others do or don’t do stuff. You have no control over that. If someone is consistently not doing what they say they’ll do, then you may want to do something about it. But here’s the thing…the less angry you are, the better chance you’ll have of coming up with a positive solution.

Me: Okay that makes sense. Meanwhile, what am I supposed to do in this situation?

Awareness: I already told you. Choose Love.

Clear Headed Me: OMG I get it!

And with that, the situation magically transforms. It no longer even exists. There is nothing to be said. Nothing to be done. Anything further said or done by the other is now easily met with Love because there is no situation.

I should mention that this transformation from fear to love doesn’t happen as quickly as it might seem here. I go through a whole lot of “I don’t want feel better” moments, as well as lots of arguing back and forth between Awareness and Mad Me. It could take an hour, a bunch of hours or an entire day for me to be ready, depending on how severe I deem the situation. But because I don’t like feeling bad, I am able to drop things much quicker than I used to. I’m hoping to get to a point where I can just say, “You know it’s going to be all better at some point, so why not skip all this BS and get straight to the good stuff?”

If you feel like this is too simplistic, I assure you that it isn’t. Over the past few weeks I’ve had versions of this very same conversation with myself when I’ve been angry and/or hurt. Once I choose Love–really choose Love–everything else falls away. Solutions to whatever problem I thought existed, come to me and are easily implemented.

Here’s the best part…

Every time I do this I end up closer than ever before to the people involved!

I’m not going tell you that going through this is easy. It’s not. It takes a whole lot of introspection. You have to be willing to give up your preconceptions of what you think is going on and be open to seeing things differently. But if and when you do that and are open and honest with yourself, I promise that your life and relationships and overall feelings of well-being will improve immensely.

Let me know if you have ever experienced this or if you have questions. I’d love to discuss it further with you!


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CONTACT JILL WHALEN to learn how she may help you be the best you can be.

Jill is the author of Victim of Thought: Seeing Through the Illusion of Anxiety

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For the past 20 years, Jill has consulted with companies big and small, and spoken at conferences all over the world. She is currently a transformational speaker and mentor to businesses, individuals, coaches, leaders, groups and organizations. She helps them uncover their natural well-being and happiness so that they can operate from a clearer state of mind and take their lives and businesses to a higher level.

Jill's blog, What Did You Do With Jill? is a personal account of what she's learned throughout her transformational journey. Jill has many "viral" articles on LinkedIn and is a contributing writer for P.S. I Love You.

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You’ve hit the nail on the head there Jill 🙂 I had a situation recently at a work’s party where I began to feel ‘invisible’ – sitting on a table with a lots of clicky friends who I didn’t really know that well, finding it hard to join in on the conversation. Eventually, I gave up and started to feel angry towards them – and the next day I punished myself further by checking the photos of the night on social media, where I was in the photos, but never mentioned in any comments – further blackening my mood. I guess that they actually didn’t realise what they were doing, and I could have perhaps done more to join in – or perhaps should have found others to speak to instead. And, I really shouldn’t have let it affect my mood at work the next day either, as they wouldn’t have known what was wrong. What would you have done in this situation? Would you have said anything to those people about how you were feeling?

Hi Jo,

I can’t say what I’d do in the situation as everyone can only do what comes to them at the time. But here’s the thing. Each person at that table had their OWN experience of what was happening that night based on whatever thoughts they were having at the time. That’s the ONLY way any of us experience anything. We all live in our own little thought bubbles and think it’s REALITY. Yet it’s only OUR reality, not everyone else’s. So while you may have thought people were leaving you out, the person next to you may have been wondering why you were being so quiet. And another person may have thought, “This is the best night ever!” and so on and so forth. So sure, you could have done things differently if you wanted to, but it didn’t occur to you at the time to do so. But if you’re in a situation such as that again, it might be somewhat comforting to know that whatever it is you’re feeling about what’s going on, is only coming from your thoughts. Doesn’t mean you should try to (or need to) change them. However, things often start to look differently when you know your experience is thought generated, not “other people at the table” generated. Whether or not you should have said anything to them, is impossible to say. But again, if you knew with certainty that the way you were feeling was coming 100% from YOU, there probably wouldn’t have been anything to say to the others about it the situation, because there wasn’t really a situation that needed any doing.

Not sure if this makes sense, but please get in touch if you’d like to discuss further. I’m sure I could explain it better via Skype!

The timing of this article coming to my attention could not have been better. After a serious of unfortunate events (involving car trouble and expensive repairs, which were not done right) I felt that the world was against me. Swaying back and forth between anger and frustration, I just did not like the way I was feeling. Thanks for this little nudge in the right direction!

Glad you found it helpful Kathleen. Thanks so much for commenting here!

Hi Jill,

First of all, I want to give you a compliment for your website. I just love that I can choose to read or to listen to your blogs.

Secondly, I want to ask you if you know The Work of Byron Katie? She has a simple (but very effective!) way of doing inquiry in these kind of bad situations. There is also a kind of dialogue with your awareness, through 4 questions and turn arounds of the original thought. Once you have truly investigated a stressful thought, it will not show up again, because you cannot attach to it. This method has worked miracles for me. And I always end up feeling more close to the people that it is about. I am looking forward to reading your response!

Hi Carmen! I am a bit familiar with Byron Katie. It seems like too much work to me, however. For me, just understanding that I only have 2 choices, fear or love makes it pretty simple!

Thank you for your reply Jill. The funny thing is, that this arguing seemed so tiring to me, that I wanted to inform you about the much simpler and more effective method of The Work (in my opinion). Hahaha, I love how there are so many ways to get to peace. And I am happy you found yours! Love from Carmen

Yes, exactly!