Circumstances: The Model-Brooke Castillo
This tool was developed by my teacher Brooke Castillo. It completely changed my life, it is the foundation of my coaching practice I use with my clients, and I know it will change your life too.
The Model basically takes the universe and breaks everything down into 5 categories.
It's basically the formula for how everything works in life. I believe it is the most important tool to have in this life. When I learned this concept back in 2019, I felt like Harry when he sees Diagon Alley for the first time. It's like I finally understood how the world worked and how simple it made everything that once seemed so confusing.
What is a Circumstance?
Circumstances are the neutral facts of life. They are neither good or bad, right or wrong. They just exist. They include other people, the weather, our age, our weight, the color of your shoes, your place of employment, the past etc.
You could compare circumstances to a blank canvas that an artist would paint on-totally subject to whatever picture will be painted on it.
Some examples of circumstances are:
It is snowing outside.
I work at a law firm.
I did not meet my goal of losing the weight I wanted to, by the deadline I set.
My children asked me "what's for dinner" five times within one hour yesterday.
These examples in and of themselves are neutral. This is because "it's snowing outside" could mean for one person, "Yay! Time to build a snowman!" and for another, "How on EARTH am I going to be able to shovel the driveway and get to work on time?!". They are two different interpretations of the same fact.
Some examples of things that are NOT circumstances:
It's cold outside.
I work at the worst soul-sucking job ever.
I am ugly.
My children are little terrors.
We often believe that our thoughts are facts and have ALL this evidence to show for it, but they are thoughts. I'll talk about thoughts in the next video/post.
One common question that comes up about circumstances being neutral is...well what about abuse, war, poverty, natural disasters etc? Those are neutral too. See, even circumstances that most people share the same thought or feeling about, are still neutral.
Let's take an example of homicide. Most people would agree that murder is bad and that if we hear of someone getting murdered, we should feel grief or anger. According to a quick Google search, someone is murdered every 31 minutes. Why then, isn't everyone feeling grief or anger about it every 31 minutes? Because there wasn't a thought about the murder that caused us to feel grief. When some people hear about homicide in the news, they feel indifferent because they have a thought like "it wasn't someone I knew". Many killers don't feel grief about their murder or even feel satisfied from it. Another example is the death penalty- some people feel satisfied when criminals are murdered via death penalty because they feel they deserved it in exchange for the crime they were found guilty of.
Now, remember...this doesn't mean that neutral means good. Neutral also doesn't mean bad. Neutral does not mean downplaying, disregarding, or condoning either. That's the point. I want to stress that. Neutral just means that it's a blank canvas that is subject to different thoughts and feelings. The Model, nor the fact that circumstances are neutral, are not reasons to invalidate other's thoughts or feelings or be used some type of a tool to hurt others. The Model just helps us recognize that our thoughts and feelings are not at the mercy of our circumstances and that we hold the power of assigning meaning in our lives.
Why It Matters:
Why is this important to know what the circumstances are in our lives? Well, it's because we often blame circumstances for the way we feel. Some examples are...
I loath myself because of my weight.
I am mad because my spouse forgot our anniversary.
I am happy because I just got promoted at work.
My job makes me so stressed.
So then, as a result, we try to change the world around us so we can feel happier. But that never works. And if we are happier, it isn't because we changed the world, it's because our thoughts changed.
Another reason it is important to know what circumstances are is because when we realize that circumstances just exist, we also take our own power back. When something happened in our past, we can choose how we want to think about it and how to move forward. When we don't like our job, we know that the job isn't happening to us and making us feel bad, and that we have the power to change. You with me?
It's a beautiful and powerful thing. No matter what is happening outside of us, we can choose to think and feel however we want to about our circumstances. Just like the canvas. There are limitless opportunities of colors, shapes, and designs we can paint on the canvas. We are the artist.
But that's not all...
This is where things start to get even more interesting. I'll see you in the next video/post where I explain thoughts.
Want to take this work further?
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