Julie grew up thinking her mother was a hypochondriac and judgmental. She experienced a revelation at the age of 20 when her mother’s childhood friend came to visit. Julie saw that the friend viewed her mother as perky, fun and just a great person.
Julie thought, “How much of her pre-conceived thoughts about her mother are really how she viewed them thought her own lens? What if her mother really wasn’t that way she viewed her?”
In other words, Julie was getting caught in bias and fixed ideas about her mother that may have not necessarily been the way her mother actually was.
On the flip side, notice if we are constantly making excuses for a person who is inherently cruel or bitter with us. For example, Jane lived with her boyfriend Todd who lost his mother at an early age and whose father was emotionally vacant. Todd would often snap at Jane saying that she wasn’t supportive of him and didn’t spend enough time with him. Jane had a full time job, but spent almost every night with him and barely socialized with her friends. Each time he would snap, she would say to herself, “I understand Todd is so impatient because he had such an unloving childhood.” So, she stayed with him, feeling entrapped and unhappy.
Throughout the day we get so bogged down in thoughts that tend to cloud our perception. Our mind is like an empty room that becomes so packed with thoughts that we can’t see clearly.
The solution is to practice uncovering opening; that is, take a friendly openness towards our thoughts and emotions. We accomplish this through training to see that person freshly and letting those thoughts go.
An effective mechanism to practice uncovering is meditation; in which we learn how not to escalate; instead, we stay with the emotions as they are. We don’t repress the emotion; we stay with whatever emotion arises and know that it’s all OK.
I have a friend who says he always happy. He says he avoids conflict and sticks to the “good emotions.” One day I asked him, “Why are you so afraid to face the ‘bad’ emotions? Emotions are fleeting if you don’t spin drama around them.”
The fact is that each emotion only lasts approximately 90 seconds; it’s the drama we spin around the emotion that makes it last.
I encourage you to sit quietly and observe your emotions; uncover openness and notice when we weigh ourselves down with biased and fixed thinking. When we start thinking of a person in terms of, “they’re like this,” well perhaps they’re not. In other words, look at people as if you’ve never seen them before.
Time to break free of our fixed thoughts and learn to quiet our minds. Contact me at Lauri@embracingmyself.com