Studying to complete a program and showing up everyday to tackle your work goals have always carried great weight and actually had people commit to. These are things that are expected of people, either by their family, peers or themselves, and things that can be talked about freely and with pride. Hence why a lot of effort goes into achieving a degree, the creation of a new passion project, or a promotion at work, but nowadays, I’m finding little effort is put into acheiving relationships. That effort seems to have decreased over the past few years. This, from my experience, only applies to new relationships and not already established ones. Meeting someone new is exciting and a part of life, but taking it farther to develop into an actual friendship or partnership, has proven to be difficult. A lot of vague chitter chatter leads to never seeing, or even hearing from, that person again.
“I can learn a lot about someone by what they choose to see in me”
~Mark Groves, Create The Love
Consistency is a strange concept to me and one that hasn’t been easy to achieve. If I’m nervous or feeling less confident, I’ll act outside of my human makeup. My speech, body language and overall presence can drastically change and I don’t recognize myself. Since June 2016 I’ve been battling my identity and my self-confidence took a real hit. I hit the reset button on my life and in a year and a half, I moved to a new city (from another country and province), got rid of 75% of my belongings, started a business, got a new job and was accepted into a dance training program.
The reset button has taught me who I want to be around. Those that know my identity regardless of my temporary and intermittent ill-fitted reactions. My sarcastic, bubbly and fun-loving self that doesn’t take things too seriously but has a constant need to learn and grow.
Slowly, I’m getting back to myself and in this process I’ve discovered who I want to spend my time with and those I don’t. I’ll admit, there have been some that I wished I had more time with but I’ve come to realize that anything forced or that requires an overload of work, is not meant to be.
I’d rather have a handful of solid companions than a sea of mediocre acquaintances.
And there ain’t no time to convince people of your colours.
We have so many perceptual biases and mental inefficiencies going on, it’s a wonder we can handle heavy machinery. And because of these perceptual inaccuracies, I’ve written about how we must be careful in judging others, and not accept beliefs without some degree of skepticism.
The past 381 days have tested my perceptions. I figured the person closest to my rhythmic heart was who they positioned themself to be and that I was unable to read them. For 381 days I beat myself up for not discovering the truth about this person and see them in the light they had seen themself in. Clearly, I was missing something and it bothered me so much that a storm so powerful hit and no amount of preparation, skill or equipment could handle it. Unbeknownst to me, I was about to set sail solo on a sinking ship, and I had only myself to blame.
Why? Because I allowed the most cherished person in my life to convince me I didn’t understand them. That I had fallen short on effort and expectations, and that their perceptual biases were all that mattered. I failed to listen. I failed to learn. I failed to prove myself and our connection.
The irony is that I spent more time focused on what this person perceived, than on myself. My thoughts and beliefs were pushed to the wayside because I was overrun by a stronger presence and the theatrical presentation they gave, finally communicating their perceptions, was ingrained in me. And I was helpless.
These thoughts consumed me and I believed them. Until now.
381 days later and I’ve learned so much.
I’ve learned to question perceptual biases, and see how the other reacts. Those who position themselves clearly and are aware of not only their actions, wants and expectations, but yours too, are those I am intrigued by. I’ve come to learn to spend time and energy with those who want to be with the person I really am. Those that see beyond their own sights. Those that recognize a connection when it organically happens and won’t let anything stop them from pursuing it, and definitely wouldn’t squander it away.
Those, are the strongest people in my eyes. Confident, selfless, and self-aware. And I have shifted my eyes to lay sight on only those who meet me halfway and want to rise strong, together.
Question your perceptions.
Despite there being many emotions, a few stand out that have made the “popular” list: Sad, mad, happy, and hate. Hatred is a devastating, intense word that should come with a warning. To feel hatred is to feel intense or passionate dislike for (someone). Fierce.
Can’t say I truly hate someone and I hope not many people hate others, either. We need to learn how to reckon with our emotions and understand what we truly feel and why. What responsibility do you have toward your emotions? Take accountability for your actions, words and thoughts and ask questions. Your thoughts are merely stories that involve other people and ideas, so ask questions. And definitely don’t make any assumptions. Figure out if you are in fact feeling sad, mad, happy or hate, or something else. Then do something about it.
The closest I’ve come to feeling “hate” is when I feel cheated or misunderstood. If someone takes advantage of me or believes their assumptions about me (or them), then I can get sour. Emotional. It’s taken a while for me to realize just how emotional I am, and actually, how every human is. It can be devastating for me to see people react quickly to their emotions instead of investigating first. I see it everyday and I believe the more we work together, the less it’ll happen…
Chasing the theory of the “grass is greener on the other side” is usually sparked by a momentary luxury situation that is not day-to-day reality with a thirst for “I want more”. Spending a week at a beautiful casa along the beach in Mexico while sipping margaritas and sunbathing may prompt you to say “I want to move here!” but after the sun fades and the tequila bottles empty, the real cost appears. Bugs, severe tropical storms, lack of personal safety, language and cultural barriers, food borne illnesses and the cost of working and owning property in another country are all factors to consider for your new found “greener” grass.
The same applies to relationships.
Somehow, the soul of an unhappy human can take charge and fling that person into an impractical realm. When all along, they weren’t even aware of the vibrancy of the green below their feet…
Just like a Mexican casa, people can also be compared. Before you reach for your greener casa, communicate. Ask questions. Seek answers from the source, not from your thoughts. Assumptions and perceptions are game changers and usually lead you down a rabbit hole of constantly finding the “greener” grass.
Your choice. Keep searching or seek answers.
Holding your thoughts hostage and isolating yourself leads to assumptions. Assumptions are stories that have no proof whether they are true or false. So, why would one lead themselves astray into a dark destination that has no solid foundation? May as well be in never-never land…
I’ve noticed that when someone experiences vivid emotions, they either break down or burst. They either take down themselves, quietly, or loudly involve others. Neither is desirable and both can be prevented. The cure then is curiosity and questioning.
Once you’ve realized how you’re behaving and what emotions you’re experiencing (there are more than sad, mad and upset!), next, get curious. Seek the truth in a joint effort, not isolation. Ask questions about yourself and the situation: What is it I believe that is making me feel this way? Do my emotions involve other people?
The more questions you ask, the more information you’ll receive, and the closer the truth will be. Truth puts your mind at ease because there is no room for assumptions. No room for bullshit, stories or myths.
Brené Brown, research professor of vulnerability, courage, authenticity, and shame, says it best:
Those that pause and ask questions, are those that rise strong. They reckon with emotion. The first step is to recognize you’ve been snagged with emotion and get curious about it.
But how many of you were raised to get curious about your emotions and talk about and explore them? How many of you were told to suck it up and push through? What are you feeling and what do you need to know more about?
Instead of reckoning with emotion, must of us offload it. We push it down. We numb it. We rage. We are much better at inflicting pain than feeling pain.
We are better at causing hurt, than handling hurt.
Instead of trembling, stressing, drafting assumptions, relying on perceptions and making rash decisions, get curious. Slow down, catch your breath, and ask questions.
You aren’t alone. Don’t treat yourself like you are. Seek the truth from those involved, not just from your head.
Call upon curiosity.
Only love can heal the wounds of the past. However, the intensity of our woundedness often leads to a closing of the heart, making it impossible for us to give or receive the love that is given to us.