When the human brain doesn’t fully comprehend a scene or event, studies show it will fill in the blanks based on its own experience or individual perceptions.* A staged robbery on the streets of New York City revealed that eye witness accounts of the incident resulted in vastly differing reports from each individual viewing the “crime.”
To illustrate this point in a personal way, several years ago, in a previous relationship, my then partner and I invited another young couple to dinner. Although our living room apartment had plenty of seating, this couple, who’d been together several years longer than we had been, sat right next to each other on the couch. Wow. My relationship was worse than I thought. I mean, here was a big couch, three other empty chairs and they chose to sit cuddled up, arms wrapped around each other. During the evening the subject turned to bowling and how the wife bowled 3 to 4 times a week with her friends. It appeared she had a great relationship, lots of friends and an active lifestyle. I compared my relationship and life to hers and my perception was that they were doing something so right, and I/we were doing something so very wrong. They divorced sometime during that year. Her idea of bowling and the rest of the world’s were pretty different.
There are many ways in which we create our own portable prisons. Allowing our perception to dominate how we feel about ourselves and others keeps us locked in a mindset with, quite often, no basis in reality. Another prison of our own making is expectations. We so often get caught up in, and so vested in the outcome of a situation or interaction that we suffer disappointment time and time again. Here’s an idea. Instead of expecting (fill in the blank – spouse, employee, neighbor) to be a buffoon or worse when you next encounter them, try leaving space for them to be brilliant, congenial, competent – you get the idea. Simply allow the possibility or space for someone to live in a place outside of your assignment for them. The shift in your perspective can be surprisingly freeing and liberating, regardless of how the other person manifests.
Understand that when you look at a situation you are seeing it with your lens only, and that the focus you have may be very narrow, or even skewed. By opening up that lens and giving it widened space for the unexpected, the periphery becomes visible and you create for yourself a kind of freedom that brings with it fresh perspectives. See others in an innovative, expansive condition. Allow yourself the freedom to see others from a new perspective, and you’ll experience a new way of being. On a soul level you will excavate a freedom and healing that was previously unimaginable. So much, if not all, in life is of our own creation. It is possible to step back, examine our perspectives, unlock the bars that keep us off balance, and gain inspired perspectives.
*See Brain Games on YouTube.
Margaret Snow is a Life Coach in Ithaca, New York, and is happy to work with you to help you find peace, clear purpose, freedom and balance. Contact her about her Deeper Look Program, a series that provides you with keys to unlock your path to outer vibrancy and inner well being.