I was talking to my husband over the holiday weekend about our future. We were sitting eating brunch in Long Island City. It was a beautiful day. The weather was perfect. He’s been recently interviewing with a company that would take us in a different direction we’ve been planning.
He was explaining his overwhelm to me. It was completely understandable. He asked me what I thought so I offered him my perspective.
I was choosing to believe that no matter what happened, we would make it work. Instead of feeling overwhelmed, my belief made me feel calm, excited even, for what was about to come. I offered him my belief so he could choose to feel the same.
Instead, he heard, “She wants me to think like her. How I think isn’t good enough.” We got into an argument.
Has this ever happened to you?
Have you ever had a disagreement with someone, only to revisit the conversation later and realize they completely misinterpreted what you said? Were you baffled by how they interpreted the conversation?
What’s fascinating about human cognition is that perceived reality is completely subjective.
As we all know, perception is powerful. What you think about a situation or circumstance, is how you feel, and ultimately what you believe about it.
It’s easy to immediately blame the circumstance or actions of others for being the reason why you think or feel the way you do. But what’s actually happening in the brain, in a split second, is looking for patterns of primitive conditioning. An innate response to keep you alert and out of danger.
This means your unmanaged thoughts, reacting on biological programming, are inherently negative, restrictive, and keep you from taking risks. Even the good kind of “risks” like lifestyle transformations, uncomfortable conversations, commitment, and career changes.
When my husband heard my perception, his thought created feelings associated with “not good enough”. This had nothing to do with what I said. It was based on processing his own conditioned perception. This is why we can’t ever truly believe what our initial thoughts are telling us about ourselves and others.
Rewiring perception for our benefit takes effort and self-awareness. Journaling is the easiest way to start this.
Start by writing down your thoughts in a stream of consciousness daily. Without stopping or judging yourself, “dump” all that crap ruminating inside your head that you may or may not be conscious of. When you go back and read it, you may be surprised at what kind of things are rummaging around in there. Awareness allows you to consciously choose to stuff it back or kick it to the curb.
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