Perception and Experience
When your loved ones are seeing through a lens of frustration and negativity, do you help them see another way by sharing your perspective of optimism and light?
How does that go for you? For myself, I have noticed that as a species we seem to have an underwhelming appreciation for being offered a way out of wallowing when we didn’t request it. (Myself included. How about you?) In the past I’ve used some helpful approaches to keep me sane in this situation, but the other day I learned one that blew my mind, leveled me up, and elevated not only myself but my relationship.
Let’s say your carbon monoxide detector alarm catapults both of you out of bed at 4 a.m. As you open windows and let the fresh, 8-degree air inside, you realize you are fully awake and up for the day as you problem-solve the situation of why this alarm is suddenly going off when there are no new factors involved. Crisp air, coffee, breakfast, Internet research, and a trip into town for a new CO detector later, you successfully prove your developed theory: Your ancient device (they don’t even make them like this one anymore!) has bit the dust; you do not have a carbon monoxide problem in your house. Yay! You clean the wood stove and chimney anyway, grateful for the message.
Later that afternoon, a specialty light bulb goes out in your kitchen, right over the most-used counter space area. You have no spares laying around, and you’ve already been to town. Oh, well, you think to yourself. You’ll just pick up a bulb when you run errands next week.
Suddenly your spouse sighs loudly, throws up their arms, and says, “Great! What is going to go wrong next today? Because you know there’s gonna be something.”
Aannnnd that’s when you realize that each of you has been seeing the same day very, very differently.
In past situations like these, I had some Ancient Patterns for helping:
Fix it. (You can guess how well this one works.)
From there, I have moved into some Old Patterns for staying sane:
There is nothing that needs fixing. There is no need to offer another way of looking at it. I do not need to impact another’s perception. (Even if there is a better way.)
But now, I have recently learned a New Pattern that is elevating:
I will not attempt to control another’s experience.
Someone else can choose to have a poopy day. I do not need to change that diaper.
It can be enlightening to realize that sometimes Helping = Fixing = Controlling. And those words trigger emotional responses in ourselves:
- “Of course if I can help, I will!”
- “Okay, not everything needs fixing.”
- “Are you kidding, I don’t want to control! (I just want to help (empower?!?)…you...to fix yourself… Oops.)”
Now, I know that the New Pattern could be simply another way of stating the Old Patterns, but it feels different to me. It is exactly what I need to hear at this time.
I’m grateful for the message.
Excuse me while I go take care of my own mental diaper.