My experience arises from how I perceive what is going on around me. In my life I am pursing a practice to look for really cool and fun things happening regularly! I want to see myself as wise, confident, competent, sure and beautiful so I am practicing that perception. All these blog essays represent entries observed on that journey.
This week a friend Lucille discovered that a man she has been dating posted a profile on a popular dating site. She told me, “Well, I’m glad to have the information.” As I listened, use of that word “information” bugged me. After a couple of days when she felt calmer and more balanced, I had a chance to explain my awareness: the word information sounds like it means something objective and detached. She was telling herself she reacted neutrally. It was clear to me, though, she was quite upset, she did not feel good and had lost her balance. She assumed that when a man posts himself on a dating site this clearly means that he wants another woman, and he has rejected her. “Information” makes it sound like she was cool in her reaction. Instead I could see she had filtered what she had learned, and inside her she felt anxious and hurt without her realizing what happened.
Another example: Janice recounted a incident unfolding this week with her family. Her father defended her sister to the sister’s husband. The sister had not felt loved and respected by the father but after this incident she realized she had been misperceiving for years. Janice said, “We feel an emotion and then we made up a story that becomes our “go-to” perception about the matter.” That incident had a profound impact on the sister and on her relationship with her husband. She changed how she saw things and felt enormously better.
I advocate becoming more aware and more curious about how we put what we see into pictures in our minds. What have we loaded into these observations? We will perceive– that is a feature of our humanity- like the characteristic of the sun radiating heat. How can we know what is loaded into our perception? Our emotions are the indicator. If we notice discomfort in what we experienced, that is the flag to tell us to review what we just “saw”. What do we tell ourselves about this?
Back to Lucille: When I spoke with Lucille, I hypothesized what could be going on for her date: he doesn’t have time to date because he has an intense job, a creative life, grown children, household chores and more. He is confused about what he wants. He feels impatient with getting to know another– just wants to get to the closeness and skip all this other stuff :). He feels afraid and wants to avoid facing parts of himself. He is full of his own emotion and did not intend to reject her.
This account soothed her, this view was so much less personal with less sting. As the interaction between Lucille and her male friend is unfolding, she now see that her assumption, “the information”, e.g. “I am rejected”, was untrue. Telling it this way she felt better.
What story do we tell ourselves? I proceed with alertness in my day to how I feel as events unfold. Can I see more Good in the story I am seeing? In the case of Lucille, with my help she opened herself to perceive an action from a busy, confused and good man . It felt worlds better :).
Take away for readers: I can pay more attention to my emotions. If I feel “off” or worse, I can ask myself what did I just perceive and what story did I create about it? Can I shift what I saw, even a little. Is there an opportunity to give the benefit of the doubt or to look for something to appreciate? Can I refocus my lens on some bit to enjoy?
Do you have some stories of how you changed your view of events and then felt better? Please share them at email@example.com. With every reframe you are progressing for yourself and contributing to All That Is!