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Believing Like I'm a Rapist

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Believing I need to change external circumstances to change how I feel is a similar strategy to having women dress differently to avoid being raped.

Whoah! How can that be so?

The fundamental reason someone commits the atrocious act of rape, or indeed any other hideous crime such as acts of terror, is simply this: They believe they must act on a thought.

This is the same fundamental truth that has any of us behave in ways such as opening the fridge door at 11pm, or checking our phones by the bed or in a restaurant.

Just like having women dress differently to avoid being raped, we can put locks on our fridge doors or charge our phones in our kitchens. These all fit into the ‘avoid the temptation’ strategy by making it more difficult to act on the thought “I must eat now,” or “I must attack and have sex now.”

And of course, there are circumstances when such strategies may seem the most sensible option, but each are a distraction from the true cause of these behaviours, and therefore a missed opportunity to create real change in our world.

Once we see that we do not have to believe our thoughts and do not have to take action on them, we no longer need the lock on the fridge door or to move our phones away from us when we are with a group of friends.

I doubt many of us think we should change the circumstances in which people live to stop potential rapists believing thoughts that they think mean they must commit such appalling acts.

Yet we’ll happily proliferate a misunderstanding that we must change our circumstances to feel and behave differently in other ways. It’s not true for women in short skirts and rapists, and it’s not true for moving your phone to the kitchen.

Just as I don’t believe I really should ram my car into the guy who just cut me off in traffic, I can also choose not to believe my thought that says I should check my phone now.

Once we see that we do not have to believe any of our thoughts that attempt to tell us how to behave, we are free of the constant quest to change our circumstances to fit our thinking.

We’re no longer a prisoner of our thinking and our circumstances. We become free of both.

That is the liberation I want to teach our children.