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Black and White and 50 Shades

Zen tangle

As human beings, we spend most of our lives looking at people, places, and things through our own lenses of perception or understanding. We see everything through this lens and then we deem it to be right or wrong. For the first part of my life, I did not see or recognize this. For the first 36 years, I lived from the perception that things are always black and white, right or wrong. And for the most part, I liked to find myself on the “right” side of the issue. Then I realized that everyone lives in this manner. We all see things based on the perception that we are right, our story is right, our perception is the only one to be seen as valid. Which might be fine if we lived in a bubble- but enter the relationship. And we all know from experience, this is where the shit hits the fan.

For example, let’s take a situation with someone where I have deemed that person to be the bad guy, and I am the good guy……. most likely, they see it in exactly the opposite manner. To them – I am the bad guy and they are the good and just parties. And guess what??? We may both be correct in some manner. There are probably aspects of both of our stances which are right or ok. The issue in human relationships is created when we only see our point of view to the complete denial or rejection of the other. In a situation where I have been deeply hurt this can be a ridiculous pill to swallow. You know the kind- like one of those honking horse pills.

When we find ourselves in stressful or painful situations, we resort back to basic survival instincts and act out in one of four manners: fight, flight, freeze or fix. Since we no longer have woolly mammoths chasing us, one such painful situation in this day and age many of us find ourselves in is heartbreak. In my life it should have come as no surprise, that overachiever that I am – I was a fixer. I thought if I just fixed everything, sacrificed my own feelings and wants, that everything would be perfect.

There is one ginormous flaw with this rationale, who’s standard will I “fix” something to? Maybe the other party doesn’t want the same thing I do, maybe (and this one was really hard for me to get) it’s just not meant to be. This mode of thinking and living got me into a hot mess of my life. I had all these warning signs that I just chose to ignore time and time again. Warning signs that I was not happy with my current state of affairs, warnings that I was being treated in a manner that I didn’t like. But because I loved these people, and I thought I knew what was best, I chose to push on anyway. On some level, I really felt like things would be “fixed” and everything would be hunky dory.

Since I am super stubborn 😊 this lesson took me quite a while to sink in. Dare I say, this may be one of my life-long lessons. Learning to trust that God or the Universe is in control has been a difficult but utterly fulfilling lesson for me. If I stop struggling against my life and the situations that are presented to me (ultimately for my highest good), I begin to find the joy and happiness in every moment. I get to embrace and know the life of acceptance. Acceptance is the antitheses of the 4 f’s mentioned above and the method we are all meant to live in. So maybe even just once a day, start by thanking that difficult person or situation. Start by remembering that ALL things are brought into your life for you. If this sounds especially difficult for you, you don't even have to really like it or feel it in the beginning, just fake it til you make it. I promise - it really does work wonders!

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