With all of this terrible violence going on across the world recently, I needed a pick-me-up that taught me how and why you should ALWAYS be happy. Per usual, I stumbled upon a great book called You Can Be Happy No Matter What that taught me everything I needed to know about conflict, differences and your own thoughts. I put conflict in quotes for reasons I will explain later on... The Principle of Thoughts: As a human, I naturally always believed that I thought certain things for a reason. That my thoughts were valid for the most part and that they all derived from reality. Well, I was wrong. Every experience and perception in life is based on thought. So naturally, when you think negatively you will feel negatively. Duh... right? Think about this for a second... You are in a healthy relationship. You flip on the TV and see a reality TV show about rocky relationships or failed marriages. You start to think: "Will my boyfriend ever marry me? I wonder if it will even be worth it. So many relationships go wrong now-a-days. Am I even a priority to him?" Your thoughts just started running! Just like that. It went on autopilot. You now think that because you started to put a lot of thought into this, it's worthy of your attention and you have to take it seriously and do something about it. You don't realize that your thoughts are created by you, not by reality. You don't realize that your thoughts are just thoughts. For the rest of the night, you sit there and panic and worry over your relationship just because you let your thoughts, NOT REALITY, take over your night. Now let's think of the opposite situation. You flip on the TV, see the same shows and start to think all of those negative things. Then you realize your thoughts are just thoughts. Your thoughts aren't reality. Your thoughts are your own perception of the situation and they're not expressing what is real because what is real is that you already are in a healthy relationship. So now you're able to continue watching your shows and having a relaxing night to yourself and feeling secure again. These thoughts derived from your individual thought system. Your thought system is completely unique because it comes from all of your experiences and perceptions of situations that occurred in your life. So for each person, their perception on a situation will be different. Which leads us to our next principle... The Principle of Separate Realities: As I stated above we all have different thought systems, which means we all have "separate realities". This principle means that differences in thoughts and actions in ever individual are different. It's a lot like cultural differences. We know people with different cultures than us won't do things or think as we would. We don't have expectations of people from different cultures to think and act like us because we know their cultural systems are different than ours. Understanding this difference among individuals and not just cultures can prevent a lot of conflict. When we expect to see things differently and expect different reactions to the same situation than ones we would give, we have more compassion and acceptance towards others. This is true on a small scale such as friendships and a large scale such as relationships between nations. When we understand this concept that our ideas of life come from our thought system and not necessarily reality, we will become less defensive and have more of an open heart because we understand that we all think differently! This will help grow all of your relationships in life because you won't talk people from a judgmental stand point but rather an open mind and interest in learning about their way of thinking and doing things. This is also how conflict can be resolved. Even if you don't understand why people feel a certain way, you will understand and accept that people are different. How This Relates To Confidence: Sometimes we get defensive because other people feel that we are wrong in the way we think or that we aren't intelligent. Sometimes, that can knock your confidence. Especially in cases of entering a new environment, whether it be a new job, a new culture, or a new friendship. When people judge because you are different from them, you can lose your sense of self. You can either try to change to fit in or you can keep to yourself because you don't feel worthy or secure. But once you understand these two major principles and apply them, you will keep your confidence up and stay true to who you are. By understanding that our thoughts are simply just thoughts and may run wild at times, we won't lose our center or confidence in ourselves. By understanding that people have separate realities because we have different thought systems we will be secure in who we are and we will know that sometimes people just won't agree with you. But that's completely fine because nobodies thought system is exactly like another's. Hopefully if this can be understood by more people we can avoid conflict, frustration and insecurity. "You are only one thought away from a good feeling."