• Zach Spafford

Circumstances are Switzerland – it’s your thoughts that matter

The other day I was in Las Vegas Nevada in a Trader Joe’s parking lot and parked in a nice spot near the front, thinking, “this is great, I’ll get right in and right out.”


As I was getting out and checking something in the bed of my truck, while I waited for my wife, a woman I had never seen before came up to me and said that we had taken her spot, but, she said, “I’m sure you didn’t mean to”.


Contrast that with the time, about 4 years prior, I had my parking space taken from me in a Sam’s club parking lot in Murrieta, California.


I did what any Christian man would do, I laid on the horn for about 20 seconds to voice my displeasure. After I was satisfied, I drove about 3 more spots on and parked.


I was a little surprised when the guy who had taken my spot followed me to mine and confronted me. He said, “you know what they say about the guys with the biggest trucks?”


To which I promptly replied, “Do you really want to get into a fight in a Sam’s Club parking lot.”


Thankfully, nothing came of it.


Both of these stories illustrate the immense power of our thoughts on circumstances that many people would say were inherently negative.


The first story, was actually a very pleasant, affirming experience, even though I had taken a spot that the woman was waiting on.


She could have been frustrated, angry, confrontational or shouted any number of things at me as I stood by.


She could also have said nothing and fumed or not fumed about it.


I suspect that her goal in speaking with me was much more about making herself feel better than it was to talk to me.


What was there to gain other than good feelings.


I wasn’t going to change parking spaces.


Yet her words, “I’m sure you didn’t mean to” made a circumstance that could have included me saying, “do you really want to get into a fight in a Trader Joe’s parking lot” end in me writing a story in which I feel good about the exchange.


Conversely, my thoughts of how long I had been waiting, how I deserved that spot, how that guy was cheating me out of my short walk to the front door of the store caused me react in a way that I am not proud of.


I’m sure his thoughts of how unfair I was being and why would I have honked my horn over a parking spot he likely had no idea I was waiting for brought him further from the store to call me, for the first time in my life, a ginger. (I was sporting my beard for the first time which is redder than my scalp hair)


Both of these instances were over the exact same thing, one person waiting for a parking spot, another gets it.


Circumstances are Switzerland, they are neutral.



What we think and how we feel about them changes our perception of them from their state of neutrality into a state of positive or negative.


Circumstances are just the boring old facts. They don’t have anything to do with our thoughts, in fact, a good way to know if you are seeing a circumstance rather than a thought is to imagine if someone else has had something similar happen to them that they saw in the opposite way you did.


Grandma dying, a car getting stolen or losing a job. All neutral.


Once we can see circumstances for what they are, we get to begin to see our thoughts differently, we can begin to tell ourselves a different story.


When it comes to pornography, there are people who see pornography differently than you do.


Don’t get me wrong, I’m not making excuses for pornography or pornography users. I am simply setting aside the moral argument that “pornography is x” and saying just “pornography is.” Full stop.


That means that what we think and how we feel is more crucial than the fact that pornography is.


This allows a person and their partner, their social network and support people to see more clearly how to work to remove pornography from the user’s life.


From there, thoughts can begin to change from all the shame and hurt trapping good men and women into a place that they don’t want to be.


When you can change your thoughts, the world opens to you. If you need help doing that, would like to get some insight into your own mind, set up a free mini session with me. I would love to be part of your starting point.


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