How are You Perceiving Things?
I've been thinking a lot this week about perception.
If you know me by now, you know that, naturally, I went to the dictionary. Perception is defined as:
"A way of regarding, understanding, or interpreting something; a mental impression." (My perception of the tastes of the American public)
It is also defined as:
"The state of being or process of becoming aware of something through the senses." (The perception of the plan)
This month has been filled with changes. From losing our dog to the world "opening up" again to job changes and businesses being built, I have a lot happening in my world. Underlying all of this is my perceived notion of how things are going or not going. My interpretation (story) of how the world opening up is changing the dynamics. My interpretation of the vaccine or no vaccine debate. My interpretation of my family dynamics.
It's all open to interpretation.
Everything I've experienced this last month could be seen through multiple lenses. I've been through many of them. This month, I've been a horrible dog mom. I've been an awesome dog mom. I've been a mom who killed her lab and should have done more. I've also been a great yoga teacher. A terrible yoga teacher. An okay yoga teacher. A great listener. A not so great listener. Other people have been assholes, jerks, wonderful, terrible, dumb, idiots, loving, kind. You name it, I've felt it about someone or myself at some point. Typing these words, I see how so much of what we do in the world and how we perceive what we do it open to interpretation. A situation happens, and we try to make sense of it, understand it, and therefore, create a mental impression in our brains. This is how scenario X was.
The question I've been asking myself this week though, is this:
Was that REALLY how it was?
Is that driver in front of me really an asshole? Or did he just not see me? Is that person who isn't getting vaccinated selfish? Or are they doing what they think is right considering the tools they have? Could I have done more help Duke survive? Or was it is his time? Is that person really incapable of change? Or do I just think they are? I could go on and on. I've been questioning how I'm seeing things. Questioning whether my lens is distorted or not. I'm not coming up with clear answers. Sorry to burst your bubble. And though, what I am getting clear on is this:
Life is a heck of a lot more freeing when I'm coming from a place of questioning, or as I like to think of it, curiosity or discovery.
Questioning keeps me out of " I know," and opens me up to seeing new possibilities. Questioning also allows me to see when I've created a story about something. When my lenses might be fogged up. When I might not be seeing something as clearly as I think I am, because I'm triggered and in a space of judgement or lack, or low self-worth, whatever it is. Brene Brown has this great line she uses all the time in her relationships. She says, "the story I'm telling myself is..." As soon as I utter those words, I can see the situation differently. We humans love to make up stories. It's no fault of our own. Our brains are wired to try and make sense of things and create patterns. They are trying to work as efficiently as possible to save energy. The problem is, then we go on auto pilot, and because we're in a pattern, every person who cuts us off in traffic is an asshole. Every person who comes from out of town to Chelan for the weekend just wants to party and trash the town. Sometimes, efficiency causes hiccups. My question for you this week, and the one I've been asking myself is:
What story (ies) have you been telling yourself? What could be possible if you looked for a different version?
If your story is you have to go to every social event because of all you missed out on these last 15 months, consider another possibility is that you have a choice. And you can choose to ease into social-ness again (I know I for sure am doing that!) If your story is that everybody is dishonest, consider that perhaps everyone is doing the best they can with the tools they have. If your story is, "this is just the way it is," question that. We have an opportunity, in this unique time in the world, to create what we want coming out of this pandemic. Things don't have to go back to the way they were. I'd argue that they shouldn't. Where do you need to see through a new lens so you can move into this next phase of life with some peace and ease, taking what you learned with you? Consider one place to start is looking at whether or not the stories you tell are serving you.