Upsets Are Not Caused By What Happens

By Bill Ferguson      

When you are full of fear and upset, you lose your effectiveness.

To have your dreams come true and to create a life that works, you need to take action. The challenge is to discover what action you need to take.

When you are in a state of fear and upset, you destroy your ability to see what needs to be done. You close down and get tunnel vision. All you can do is to fight, resist, hang on, or withdraw. Almost any action you take in this state makes your situation worse.

When we get upset, it looks like the upset is caused by what happened, but this is an illusion. Upsets are not caused by what happens. Upsets are caused by fighting and resisting what happens.

To see this in your life, select a recent upset. Now notice what would happen to the upset if, somehow, you were at peace with what happened. There would be no upset. There would be no upset, because the upset wasn't caused by what happened. The upset was caused by fighting and resisting what happened.

The moment you take away the fighting and resisting, the upset disappears. You restore both your peace of mind and your effectiveness.

Now notice what would happen if someone spilled a glass of water on you. You would be wet, and you would be wet whether you liked it or not.

Your being wet is like any other circumstance. It's something that happens outside of you, and your feelings about it are totally irrelevant. Upsets, on the other hand, are located on the inside.

Since an upset is something that we experience on the inside, there has to be something on the inside that creates it. We create our upsets by fighting and resisting what happens.

Let's go back to the water. If you were at peace with being wet, there would be no upset. If you fought being wet, you would be upset, and the more you fought it, the more upset you would be.

The same is true with all the circumstances of your life. Nothing has the power to create an upset in you. Only you can do that.

So why do we fight and resist what happens?

We fight what happens, because our circumstances trigger a suppressed hurt from the past. To say this another way, our circumstances strike a nerve.

This is why different people get upset at different things. Different people have different sets of nerves that get triggered. This is also why the same type of upsets and the same self-sabotaging behavior keep showing up in your life. The same suppressed hurt keeps getting triggered.

It's the automatic, subconscious avoidance of this hurt that sabotages our lives. Finding and healing this hurt is one of the most important things you can ever do.


Bill Ferguson has been featured on Oprah and is the author of the best selling book, How To Heal A Painful Relationship. He leads workshops in Houston and does individual telephone consulting. To learn more about Bill and his work, call (713) 520-5370 or visit and



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