If you believe that you choose how you feel about a person, event, or circumstance, consider this.

Last week my son, who is a freshman starting guard for his high school basketball team, was playing in his first home game against a nationally ranked team.

I decided to grab dinner on my way to the game, but as I left my office, I felt the familiar nauseous feeling I desperately tried to avoid my whole life.

I wanted to cry.


Historically, I blamed external events for my internal feeling state and sought relief by trying to control every area of my life. My remedy seemed normal and natural; however, despite my best efforts, mental terror followed me into my marriage, parenting, boardroom—everywhere.

Do you think I choose to feel that way?


Now, I see the truth.

My overthinking in the moment, and not my son’s game later in the evening caused my psychological angst.

This time I immediately felt better because I saw through the illusion that external events cause internal feeling states. I looked inward (to my thinking in the moment) and resisted blaming my son’s game for my all too familiar nauseous feeling. By looking in this direction, I gave room for my psychological immune system to take over, whereby old thought patterns moved out and new thinking naturally flowed in.

All people create their experience and perception of life via their mind-set in the moment (regardless of your understanding of this truth).

When you are in a low mind-set and your head is cluttered and filled with excess thought, you are easily duped into believing anything on the outside causes a reaction on the inside. My son’s game has no power over my feeling state. None. It never has and it never will.

We don’t choose how we feel.

All feeling states are a by-product of the ebb and flow of our thinking—our clutter or our clarity and NOT the result of your external environment.

May the scales fall off of your eyes and may you find greater mental freedom by understanding how the mind works.

Grace and peace.