Reality check - Am I in my head or in reality?
My partner and I were laying in bed on a Saturday lie-in, snuggling, when he put his hands on my waist and said to me, ‘I love the curve of your hips.’
The thought that instantly came into my mind was, ‘If you think that about my hips then what are you thinking about other girls' hips?’
Yes, absolutely crazy, overly-jealous type of talk.
At a moment when my partner was telling me he appreciated me and my body, my instant reaction was to feel insecure about how I compare to other girls, or that he must have a thing for other girls.
Not only was it instantaneous, it was a real thought that crossed my mind.
I caught myself and reminded myself of the ludicrousy of it, brushing the thought away...but the pain of it did linger and I’m certain that I wasn’t as loving towards him as I could have been after that moment.
It caused me to think about what had happened.
I had overlaid the reality of that special moment with a perception of something that was completely made up in my mind.
My partner wasn’t referencing other women, he was talking to me and yet, in my mind, when he complimented me, I brought up an insecurity I had and laid that over that moment. It was just an automatic reaction. Consequently, I couldn’t be present with him to accept his loving words.
So the question I ask myself is, how much am I perceiving things only in my mind and letting that affect my reality, over the truth of what actually is?
It’s something that I have been confronted with at work lately. I am surrounded by amazingly clever and funny people and instead of enjoying their great gifts to the world, I can sometimes wind up feeling inadequate.
There was one time, I found myself quite wrapped up by it. It caused me to shrink into my shell a little and feel that I wasn’t good enough to hang out with them. I literally withdrew into myself and quietly suffered in my mind.
It's human nature that when we feel there is someone better than us, our reaction is to feel threatened by that.
A friend of mine shared a lesson with me recently which very insightfully explains this. She shared, ‘When we observe that there is something great in someone, we think that it must take something away from us.’
I had been feeling that because my colleagues are better than me in some ways, that that must mean that there was something wrong with me and it then caused me to act like there was something wrong with me.
When I realised how I was reacting, though, I pulled myself up on it.
I reminded myself that it was OK that I was not hilariously funny like them and instead reminded myself to enjoy it and only then (days later) could I return to just appreciating my time with them and laughing with them.
I wasn’t allowing myself to enjoy my time with them, because I was too busy laying my insecurity over that moment, thinking that something was wrong with me because I wasn't funny like they are.
These are just two moments in my life recently, but it's guaranteed that they aren’t the only two moments where I haven’t been able to enjoy and appreciate my life due to the automatic negative chatter that can take over my mind and how that then causes me to act.
I could have lovingly heard and accepted my partners words and allow our love for each other to grow, but I didn’t.
I could have been enjoying myself with my friends and sharing my good energy from the beginning, but I didn’t.
I reverted to listening to my self-talk and letting that warp my reality into something that it was not.
In reflecting these moments, I am reminded of the affect and power that the mind and my thoughts have over how I experience my life.
Our automatic default can be quite negative and unless we learn to be aware of it, we might let it drive our actions which continue to take us away from the truth and reality of what is actually happening before us. More often than not, it is un-founded and completely made up in our heads.
We have to learn to cultivate thoughts that support us and our growth into becoming happier and more wholesome people, and let the thoughts that tell us differently to fall away. This can only be achieved by a level of self-awareness.
Our perception can absolutely change our reality. Choose the perceptions that support you and celebrate you.