Ever wonder why when an accident occurs and you have multiple witnesses why everyone has an individual thought about what happened? How can 2 people that see the same event have totally different responses- as to who caused it as well as the thoughts and feelings behind what may have occurred? This boils down to a difference in perception versus reality- and it’s something all of us in the family have had to come to terms with at one point or another in our lives.
Perception usually takes on a life of its own. An event happens and can shape your life to the point that doubt captures your mind- almost paralyzing your ability to grow and sustain personal development to overcome any obstacles placed in front of you. Maybe you had a dream where you were falling from the sky- so now you don’t like going in a plane or standing at the top of a building. In my case, rejection shaped my childhood reality. I wanted so much to be liked that often I thought about changing my beliefs and my interests to gain friendships. The reality was those people were only hanging on to me because of what I could provide in terms of financial benefit or as long as the focus was 100% on their interests.
My daughters perceive their past neglect, abuse and trauma almost as if they are traits that may be carried for the rest of their lives. The reality is, they can change that frame of reference in an instant. The choice to do it though remains within their hands. My wife and I become detectives to know that when they are acting out with rage towards us, usually birth family memories or past trauma is coming to the forefront of their minds. Convincing them that we are not going to hurt them, that we live in a safe and secure home, and that we are not going to put them in dangerous situations becomes a day in and day out trust issue.
Look back in your life and focus on an event that possibly changed your life forever. It could be a particular divorce, it could be a time you were in danger, it could be a fight that you had, it could be a time when someone put you down, it could be a time you heard laughter while you were giving a speech, and so on. Think about whether that event and its perceived response were appropriate- or if now years down the line you’ve been living your life as a victim held down by a distortion of your perception versus reality.
A lot of times as children grow up they think they have more power to stop adults from certain events that happen in their lives that they really have little control over. My youngest daughter thought that she could keep herself and her younger sister safe at 5 when birth family members couldn’t. As such years down the road when placed in nervous or frightful situations, she feels like she once again has to back away from the family and take on this powerful adult role that no one asked her to assume. Teaching her to place trust in adults when they’ve disappointed her time and again remains the biggest challenge to her understanding what a real family is all about.
Take the chance to explore your inner world, face those fears and you may be surprised at the breakthroughs you make. We only have one life to live, so let’s make it the best and most fruitful it can be. Engage the mind, look at the issues from another side and do not be afraid to share with some of your close friends something that you feel may be holding you back from accomplishing more.
Thank you again for reading this- as I thank my wife and children for their love and understanding.