Many years ago (more like a couple of decades), I read a book written by “Dr. Phil”. I am not a big fan of his to be honest but this book was about what he called “Life Laws”. One of the “Life Laws” was “There is no reality, only perception” . I must admit that when I read the book, I just could not comprehend what this meant. Another “Life Law” was “You either get it or you don’t. Be one of those who gets it”. Well… I didn’t get it.
OF COURSE there is reality. Trees have brown trunks, the sky is blue, clouds are white but turn grey if there will be a storm. When someone does something bad, they are a bad person. When someone does something good, they are a good person. What I find hard, surely everyone else does too. When I feel offended, surely others would be offended as well. The list goes on. I saw the world as quite a black and white place. Things easily fit in two columns. Good or bad. Right or wrong.
Now here I am many years and a lot of life experience later and I finally get what Dr. Phil was trying to say.
“There is no reality, only perception.”
It is true. I get it now.
One person can look at a sweater and think it is beautiful. Someone else looks at the same sweater and hates it. Their reality is the same but their perception is different. It is the same sweater yet they perceive it very differently.
One person can feel that a day is freezing cold and need to dress like a polar bear to stay warm (my husband) while someone else wanders around in a t-shirt (me). Our reality is the same but our perception is different.
Two people can go for a drive. One person feels that going 60 in a 50 zone is PLENTY fast enough (my husband again) while someone else rarely goes below 80 and spends a lot of time cursing the slow poke going 60. (I admit it. That’s me too. *laugh*)
Those are fairly simple examples.
The more difficult examples are where we all get stuck in our lives because our perception colours a situation in a certain way.
Yesterday I held a Christmas party for all of my sister-in-laws and a few cousins. During the evening we played several games and very typical of our group, things got very loud and boisterous. For some of the group, that doesn’t even phase them. For others? It’s just too much to handle and they shut down. I literally watched the switch turn off and they mentally pulled away from it all. I am more of a “go run and hide” person if a full-blown dissociation does not whisk me away first. I hid out in my kitchen for about a half hour just to get away from it all.
So how will people “review” my party? Many will say it was a great bit of fun while others will fear doing it again next year. No worries ladies, I’ll never say who you are. 😉
The same can be said for so many situations in our lives. I know that when two people debate an issue (even something so simple as the proper rules for a game), they can see it as just working out the rules while I see it as danger. I want to bolt out of that room and get safe before things turn really ugly. They never do turn ugly but my perception says they will.
The way people word things can affect you very differently too. I know one woman who thinks that someone calling her a “b*tch is the very worst putdown in the world and she gets VERY offended yet to me, I laugh it off and find it amusing. I actually take it as a bit of a compliment because I stand up for what I believe in so say what you want. 🙂
Basically anything in this life that happens to you or around you is absolutely and completely covered by your perception. The best news is that we have the ability to change our perception. I will tell you a short story to show you what I mean. Let’s call my main character Alice. 🙂
Alice is running around her house like a chicken with her head cut off because she is already running late for a dinner with friends. She finally gets out of the house, gets in the car and realizes she forgot her keys. Now she’s feeling even more rushed and when she goes to get her keys, she realizes that the gift she was going to take with her is still sitting there too. This just peeves her off even more for being so unorganized and stupid. This reminds her that she was going to pick up a card so Alice dashes in to the local store in a bad mood to grab a card and as she approaches the cash register, she recognizes the cashier as an old friend. Of course the old friend wants to chat and Alice is now late, rushed, annoyed AND stuck talking to this old friend who eats up even more time.
She gets back to her car, races off to her planned dinner and gets stuck behind some slow poke which only peeves her off even further. She finally reaches her destination, goes in to meet her friends then dumps the whole story on to them before even attempting to calm down a bit.
Alice reviews her day later at home and quite frankly? It sucked.
Alice is rushing around the house because she is late for dinner with friends. She picks up the phone and calls one of her friends to let them know that she is running a wee bit late. She gets to her car, realizes she forgot her keys so she runs back in to the house for them and sees the gift she was supposed to take sitting there. “THANK GOODNESS I forgot my keys or I would have forgotten the gift too” she says to herself then laughs at her forgetfulness. While placing the gift in the car, she remembers that she needs a card as well so she stops in at a local store to grab one. As she approaches the cash register, she realizes that the cashier is an old friend. What luck! They haven’t seen each other in years. They chat a bit then Alice explains that she is already running late for a dinner with some other friends so how about they meet up for a coffee tomorrow when the cashier gets off work? With plans for a nice coffee with an old friend made, she goes off to her dinner.
Of course there has to be a slow poke driving in front of her which can be really annoying but she notices that the driver is wearing this certain style of hat that her mother used to wear. This brings back a bunch of good memories and before she knows it, she’s where she needed to be.
She goes in to meet her friends, recounts her lucky breaks and apologizes for being a bit late. They all enjoy a great meal and Alice goes home feeling like this was an absolutely wonderful day.
Alice can choose to see the day either way and so can we. Quite often how we choose to see the day colours everything in that same colour. Thankfully we really can change how we see things and this gives us an incredible amount of power in our lives. The power to literally make our life whatever we choose to make it.
Thanks Dr. Phil. I get it now. “There is no reality. Only perception.”
I hope I helped you to get it too.
Best wishes to you to colour your weekend beautiful!