Posted by Jill Whalen | Posted in Business, Relationships, Spirituality, Thought | Posted on 09-03-2014
Tags: 3 Principles, Transformation
[Jill’s Note: If you prefer to listen rather than read, please scroll to the bottom of this post for the audio version.]
Have you ever thought someone was mad at you only to find out they were just worried about something completely unrelated to you?
I remember an experience like that one day many moons ago when I was in college. The hypochondriac in me was worried about some non-existent health issue, and therefore I was being more quiet and introspective than usual. That night as I lay in bed before going to sleep, all of a sudden my roommate burst out, “I’m sorry!” Confused, I asked her what she was sorry for. She answered, “I don’t know, but whatever it is that you’re mad at me for!”
Most people can probably relate to this scenario. When we think that someone is mad at us, we come up with all sorts of things we must have done to piss them off. After all, why would they be so mad if we didn’t do anything wrong. During those times, it all feels so real. My roommate absolutely knew for certain in her head that I was mad at her, and it didn’t feel good. She went through all the feelings she would normally go through if I was in fact mad at her.
In other words, we create entire stories in our heads.
When we think someone is mad at us, very often the other person doesn’t even know we’re thinking that. They’re likely too caught up in their own feelings of worry or distraction or whatever was making them appear to be mad in the first place.
Yet to us, their madness is so very real. We may feel bad, sad, scared, worried, or even mad right back at them.
And for what?
An illusion we created in our own minds.
If it’s true in this situation, then it’s surely true in others as well.
After all, we never really know exactly what’s going on in other people’s minds. So how can we know for sure what the intent behind their words or actions are?
It’s our own perceptions that cause us to think someone is mean, bad, good, a stalker, or whatever. You could ask 10 different people what they think about someone and you’d likely receive 10 different answers depending on past experiences and conditioning.
So who’s right?
Obviously whatever WE think about someone is 100% correct! Right?
As much as we like to believe we have all the answers and our opinions and thoughts are the true ways of the world, they are far from it. And more than that, they can change at any time. For instance, new facts about someone or something can come to light that can completely change our perception about a situation. Suddenly, everything we thought we knew can fly out the window as quickly as it came in.
There are huge implications in the knowing and understanding of this, especially as it relates to interpersonal relationships.
In wanting to change how I relate to people on a day-to-day basis, I’ve found that asking myself a few questions such as the following can help:
- Rather than being tied to my opinions and thoughts which can and will change at the drop of a hat, what if I simply let them go?
- What if I started to assume the best in people rather than the worst?
- What if instead of fretting about something I believe someone else is thinking, I simply ask them about it? (I’m still bad at this one!)
- How would doing these simple things on a regular basis change the way I relate to the world and the people I deal with every day?
I can personally attest to this working. Once I understood that my own thoughts are just one perception of any given situation, and that there are infinite other possibilities I could be thinking, I saw my relationships in a new light. Rather than thinking everything is always about ME, I try to remember that others are going through their own drama. Sure, there are plenty of times when I fall back into my old conditioned ways of thinking, but I don’t dwell there as often.
What about you? Do you agree that changing your perceptions can change your relationships? Have you seen this in action? Or does it all just sound like New Age hooey? Either way, please leave your thoughts or questions below!
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