We think other people have the power to make us happy or sad. In fact, we all have examples of times we’ve either been the victim of someone else’s cruelty or moments where we’ve perpetrated unkindness toward another.
While we aren’t responsible for what others say or do, we choose how we feel about it. That is a very challenging concept to accept: our feelings are not caused by what is happening around us, rather our feelings are chosen (mostly unconsciously) by us.
Consider this provocative line from A Course in Miracles: “Everyone convinces you of what you want to perceive.” The way it works is this: we first make a choice in our mind for either the ego or the mind of spirit. Then, in whatever situation we find ourselves, we will experience exactly what we’ve chosen in our mind.
If we’ve selected the ego, then we’ll experience some manifestation of fear, guilt, anxiety, unhappiness, or lack. That’s all the ego is, and as such, that’s all we can possibly experience.
On the other hand, if we choose the mind of spirit, then all our encounters will be filled with peace and extensions of love. It makes no difference what other people are saying or doing. What matters is the choice we’ve made in the mind.
That’s the secret to happiness. Recognizing that when we’re not happy it’s only because we’ve chosen the ego – there is no other cause – and then making a different choice for the mind of love. As the Course goes on to say, “the results [of choosing against the ego] will convince you that this is true.” And those “results” are peace and joy.