During these last few months, it’s become crystal clear just how much perspective and interpretation create a situation. The more I detach from feeling hurt/angry/offended, the more I see how much me feeling hurt fucks things up. Because the moment I feel hurt, I make it about the other person or situation. And when I do that, I throw away all my power, and I only take actions that fuck things up.
Today served as a great example….
Last night, a situation came up between my husband and I. It wasn’t anything big, but a few months ago it would have sent me into a whirlwind of emotions and insecurity. I felt myself being triggered, but I got myself to shake it off and play it cool. So, instead of being distant (my previous go-to behavior), I opted to be playful and doting. He wasn’t as receptive to it as I would have liked, but I kept up with it anyways.
In the morning, he had to take off for work. I was half-asleep when he left, so I didn’t have much of a chance to feel him out and get an idea of where he was at. I struggle with “putting myself out there” for fear or rejection, but I told my whiny fearful self to shut the fuck up before I screwed up a perfectly fine day. So, I went out to run errands and then I decided to do something nice for him by bringing him lunch on my way home.
I showed up to the job site and sat in the car while I waited for him to come down to the office to clock out. At first I had considered just leaving his lunch with his boss (I can’t stand awkwardness, plus, I thought maybe he’d rather not hang out just yet). I thought about it though, and I realized my thinking was pretty far off. Showing up at work with food is an incredibly thoughtful gesture. A partner is supposed to be considerate and supportive, so I’d be a damn idiot to not make the most of the moment.
There was a moment of nervousness when I could see him peering from the 4th floor to look down at the car. As he gazed in my direction, I was flooded with anxiety. Maybe he was still upset. Maybe he didn’t want to see me. Maybe I should just take off NOW?
But I didn’t.
I made sure up to show up as the pleasant and thoughtful partner I wanted to be. I was still worried about whether or not he wanted to spend time together, so the moment he came up to the car I grabbed his lunch and said, “Just bringing you some food,” and I held the food out to me. I was ready for him to take it and then walk off to eat with his coworkers, but he didn’t. Instead he walked over to the passenger door and got inside. And we ended up having a great lunch. It wasn’t anything extraordinary, but it was a nice family moment. Real nice. I was glad I showed up (literally and figuratively).
When I got home, I turned on the laptop and saw I had a message from him. During all of my running around, I had missed it.
His message? One of those cute emoti’s of a kissy couple with hearts filling the background. I saw it and breathed out, “Holy shit.”
That whole time I had been worried about what my husband was thinking and feeling. Anxiety gnawed at me. Nervousness jumbled me. My thoughts ran a marathon in my mind. And everything I was thinking and feeling. Everything I thought my husband was thinking and feeling. It was all wrong. Every single bit of it.
As I write this, I’m watching a documentary about Paramahansa Yogananda. A story is shared about Yogananda and how a dream led to his fascination with separating dreams from reality — or rather, the real from the unreal. Listening to that, I see how much this applied to my situation today (not to mention each and every waking moment). There’s so much more going in than we can see. Getting emotional and defensive sparks a selfishness that blinds us to the complexity of a situation. Even though there are numerous people involved, we only see ourselves. We only see our pain and consider our thoughts, and that becomes the lens through which we see “reality.” But there are so many lenses. And that means there are so many different realities (mine, yours, and theirs).
So, what’s real and what isn’t?
More importantly, what do you want and what are you going to do to get it?