Inspiration

Perception VS Reality

I’ve been told recently by a very credible therapist that perception is one’s truth. That for everyone on this planet truth is merely their perception. I’ve spent a great deal of my adult life trying to understand why my truth or my perception is different than others. Take into consideration that I grew up much different than the considerably “normal” household and that might explain how rough around the edges and quick I am to sound a tad negative to those around me who have not lived my experiences nor will ever be able to comprehend the difficulty in overcoming the trying circumstances. Although, from time to time people brand me “negative” or “absolute” and when they move on down the road after throwing that insult at me, they smile all the while feeling as though they’ve given me a revelation. They’ve imparted great wisdom because obviously I need to be told that I am offending their senses in such a way that they must speak their mind about it.

Often after much reflection and question I find that these people who are hell bent on giving someone a reality check according to their perception are also hell bent on reflecting any and all negative comments about their own actions or words. Their lack of appreciation for my point of view doesn’t bother me, because I would never presume to think that the way in which I speak or behave is the way that everyone else should. I don’t own the luxury of being that finite in my thinking.

I find the whole cultivating relationships ironic and of course, something to blog about so here goes from my eyes. This is my perception…

Recently, my birthday rolled around. Now, on my week or days preceding or following my birthday some of the most influential people in my life died. And of course, on my birthday I received their cards. What this did for many years was ensure that I reflected on their lives because to celebrate my own, I have to remember theirs. To not give warrant to the people who meant everything to me at one time would be cruel and heartless; in my opinion.

This made for a difficult time near the arrival of my birthday. So much so, that in some years, I just reflected on the loss and not a happy or joyous occasion of celebrating my existence. You see, for many years I didn’t really like myself. I’ve spent a majority of my adulthood trying desperately to forgive myself for mistakes I could not erase nor could I evict them from playing over and over in my mind. I had to get to forgiveness but that road was harsh and filled with regrets.

When I turned 38 all that changed with the help of an intense therapy program based on Dr. Phil McGraw’s pathways seminar. I was a new person. The only problem that remained is how to use my words to appropriately express how I feel or what I think as time goes on. You see, some of that old baggage seeps in from time to time and I find that several times I have to get my perceptions back into check. I have to wrap my mind around the blessings in life rather than concentrate on the things that I find unjust. Because those unjust things when brought to other’s attention do little to give them pause for action and more to incite riot behavior from them. That’s been my experience. People don’t really like it when you make them dig a little deeper and feel things that hold them accountable for being a true friend, or taking action against a wrong or whatever. People in my opinion based on reactions that I get are fraught with the generalness of life. Pursuant to the status quo and rocking that will only bring feverish emotions of positive or negative but I promise you it will never be boring. To extract this kind of reaction takes great insight and great courage.

Many women or men like me that are capable of extracting this kind of emotion are often labeled dramatic or weird. But the truth in all the commonness of it, is that these people share one common denominator that the rest of the world sees but just cannot seem to own. These people have the ability to feel openly, to display it, to announce it and to enjoy it. I continuously say that I have the ability to be negative; sure. But I also have the ability to be positive, and to see joy, and to be happy and to love, and to laugh, and to cry. You see, I am human and although in a moment I feel one way I am not doomed for eternity to feel only one emotion. I am human and I feel all emotions just not all at the same time.

My perception about the people who meant everything to me and have passed is far different than just a remembrance. When I say now that my birthday is fraught with recollections of people I lost you might see that as me concentrating on negative things. To you, death is sad and your conclusion might be that I am sad. That couldn’t be further from the truth or my perception. My perception is that remembrance of these people is an honor.

When I say that I like to be alone and reflect on my past it’s not a negative thing. I have an incredibly creative mind. So much that I am able to replay memories in my mind of times past much like a made for TV movie. I can watch as the youthful me has conversation after discussion about nothing that matters with people from long ago. I replay over and over the silly times we laughed and the general comfortableness that those memories give me. The warmth of my memories makes me appreciate them as monumental blessings in my life and I miss them terribly. I don’t concentrate on the loss as much as I celebrate their existence. The only way any of us know that these people we loved so incredibly much existed is if we take a moment to remember the great times that we shared with them. So I ask you how can that be negative?!

Perception is how you look at life. If my words are associated in the right order that makes you as a reader appreciate the joy I have then shame on me. That’s my responsibility and as I progress in my craft it will only get better. But the next time that you want to tell someone that they’re negative, pause for a moment because maybe in their world, what you see as negative might just be their right to hold on to whatever it is that they need to process through.

Life is not easy and there are no quick fixes. Pain is real and it can last a lifetime. Each of us has our own learned coping skills. Each of us is equipped to make conclusions on our own experiences, but none of us are always positive or always negative. Every one of us has a process to peace and for some of us that road may be longer or may have to be revisited often.

When you see a post that you find alarming or you hear a catch phrase that makes you pause remember that the emotion you feel is yours. You own it. No one made you feel it without your permission. If it triggered something inside you that’s your baggage not someone else’s. If you have a problem with whatever was said and feel your entitled to give that person a reality check you might want to rethink who’s reality you’re trying to change? Their perception or yours? I’m just saying….

Inspiration

Righteous Anger vs. Immature Emotions

Often people will say things that sting the other person when they were only trying to release these pent-up feelings or anger. They say things that are really a reflection of their own internal unresolved issues rather than anger directed at the other person. Generally, most men are afraid of women’s anger and will do whatever necessary to protect themselves from it. We as women know this, however, when we’re in the thick of whatever it is that has pushed our injustice button; we are hesitant to remain mature or calm about how we feel. This is unfortunate because angry women are not always angry at the man – but at some internal frustration. The same holds true for men.

Men are more likely to vent, and to let it out. Women are more likely to stuff, and keep it in, but both of these approaches to solving the anger issue are bad. If you always vent, you’re venting and exploding, lots of times, when what you should be doing is chilling out, because there’s nothing you can do about the traffic jam. If you’re always stuffing it, you’re stuffing it a fair amount of the time when there’s something you should be doing to get that jerk to quit calling you stupid for wanting to go see the latest Julia Roberts movie this weekend. Sometimes you need to speak and sometimes you need to be quiet, but learning which and when; now that is key.

Before you do anything, just say “Stop!” Ask yourself if this is one of those times when you need to do something about this or chill out? If you don’t do anything but that, you’ll stop before you explode or stuff it and you’ll be better off.

To understand righteous anger vs. anger that is immature let’s dive into the reasons for the emotion.  There are only two basic emotions – fear and love. All other emotions are degrees of these two. From what I know Anger is an emotion that has its root in fear.

Anger is an emotion that people express when they are: upset, frustrated, uncertain, anxious, hurt by another person or life in general, or confused. Many men and women when expressing anger are really covering the deeper emotion of fear. Unexpressed anger can be the result of a variety of personal emotional traits: the need for approval, the need for love, insecurity, a fear of rejection, guilt, resentment – to mention just a few. There is a flip side to this issue, however, and that is the impact of angry words spoken while in this fear state.

I’ve learned through some pretty horrible knock-down-drag-out come to Jesus meetings is that anyone who is angry needs to speak the truth in a loving manner. Anger can be communicated without name calling, yelling, screaming or threatening. Feelings of anger do not have to replace feelings of love. It is important to realize that being angry with someone does not mean you no longer love them, despite what men think about women getting angry.

No should or shouldn’t are allowed in your talk to each other, because your spouse using them is being a parent instead of a spouse. You don’t tell a spouse what they should or shouldn’t do. You tell a spouse what you would like them to do and then give them the opportunity to choose whether or not it is something they want to do.

I use “I feel” messages. Remember along with emotions come facts. Both should be argued and in a way that does not put the other spouse on the defensive.  An “I feel” message allows you to express how you felt about something they did or said. It gives you the opportunity to express your feelings but doesn’t necessarily mean you will get your way.

Consider this though, “I feel” messages will be met with more openness than saying, “You always do,” or “You hurt me.” You want to talk about how you feel, not point fingers at what your spouse did or didn’t do.

Don’t jump to conclusions about what your spouse is thinking or feeling. If you want to know, ask him! I really hate absolute comments or inference in an argument.  Just because you share your feelings doesn’t mean your spouse “heard” what you were saying.

When communicating we need to express and listen to be understood. A lot of us are guilty of hearing something other than what is actually being said. Make sure that you express your needs and that your spouse understands those needs. Asking him to repeat back to you what you’ve said will help. You can’t resolve a misunderstanding if you are being misunderstood!

I’ve been taught that in a healthy marriage both spouses should feel free to express their emotions, needs and desires. It is inevitable that expressing emotions can, at times mean expressing healthy anger nd engaging in conflict. Anger is a healthy part of a relationship if the anger is properly expressed. If done correctly arguing, conflict and friction in a marriage will sharpen and strengthen the marriage. This maturity is only something that through love and care can mature a marriage or relationship to the level of ultimate understanding and fewer conflicts.

You get to know and understand each other better. You feel safer within the relationship if you know it is safe to express your feelings of anger. You learn that marriage is not a competition, a game where one spouse has more control than the other. Nothing promotes love and intimacy more than working together without fear of reprisal with a commitment to doing what is best for everyone.